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This came up because Mike Trout, arguably the best player in baseball, will be up for arbitration next year.

Salary arbitration has the effect of paying a first, second or third year "arb" player about 40 percent, 60 percent, or 80 percent of what he would be making as a free agent. This is after three years of "minimum wage" (about $500,000).

Trout's value has been estimated at $40-$50 million (for a free agent), and many believe that he could get $15 million (or more) in first year arbitration.

A qualifying offer is the average of the top 125 salaries. It is an objective way to determine who is a "Type A" free agent that cost the signing team a draft pick.

Does the qualifying offer (which could be about $15 million next season) in any way impact how much Trout could make in arbitration?

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From Wikipedia

Following the salary arbitration process, the player and the team both submit a salary offer for a new contract. The arbitrator chooses one number or the other, based on which offer is closest to the salaries of players with similar ability and service time.

Also from Baseball Prospectus

The current CBA contains this clause: "The arbitration panel shall, except for a Player with five or more years of Major League service, give particular attention, for comparative salary purposes, to the contracts of Players with Major League service not exceeding one annual service group above the Player's annual service group."

In short - No, the qualifying offer does not make a difference to Trout.

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Welcome to the site. An upvote for a good answer. – Tom Au Dec 29 '13 at 14:52

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