Alternate Arbitration Scheme

Honestly, I’ve never really liked the current arbitration system. I’d like a live system at the end of the season that bookends the draft at the beginning. So I propose a live arbitration snake-draft: Each team has $25. That means up to 25 rounds of allocations. Starting with the last place team, each team assigns $1 to $3 allocation dollars to any player on another team. A team can’t skip their turn. The result will be a more exciting system with tactical twists and turns.

Other than being live and following a snake-draft sequence, the arb rules would be the same. Each team must arb at least $1 to each other team. Once a team is arbed $33, they are off-limits.

Optimally, this could be an Ottoneu option for all leagues with the limits enforced programatically. I think it could be done off-line, assuming a league commissioner can apply the arb dollars.


I also wonder if a “no-limits” arbitration draft would add drama. In this case, there’s no $3 dollar limit. A team could arb $1 to 10 teams and $15 to the 11th.

However, the $33 max would hold. If after a bunch of allocations a team had received $19, the next allocator would have a max of $14 for that team. And so on.

With sequential allocation, early allocators can push more money at once for more drama, but in the end, no team could be excessively penalized.

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Really interesting idea @Henry.Woodbury

This is my first year going through Allocation Arbitration, so I don’t have much to add here except to note that I was very surprised to see that Arbitration amounts were live and viewable by all. I guess I would have thought it would be more akin to blind bidding. I’m sure there is rationale behind an open process, but it seems liable to herd mentality and retribution. I like this suggestion as it would mask the process more and force you to do the research instead of reacting to the increase on your team or others.

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This is a pretty neat idea. It would make the arbitration process more involved in a good way, I think.

It’s important to remember that arbitration does not exist for teams to be punitive to other teams. It is an opportunity to help individual players get paid closer to what they are worth. Since Ottoneu is market-based but there aren’t any agents or rules around how much players should be paid based on their performance, fair salaries can only come from all 12 teams collaborating in the various auctions and in the arbitration process.

In the case of in-season auctions, vickrey auctions are the best path to rational pricing.

In the case of arbitration, if it was blind, there would often be situations where individual players get too much money allocated towards them, resulting in them being cut. The goal of arbitration isn’t to get teams to cut their best players, so this would be a bad outcome. Since the goal is to allow players to be paid appropriately (not overpaid, not underpaid), full transparency is required.

As an aside, ‘full’ transparency isn’t exactly right - once a few teams have allocated, you do not know who allocated how much to any given player until after the whole process is done. This is to try and prevent retribution in allocations.

Keeping full transparency and adding a timing mechanism works towards this goal while making the whole process more engaging, so I’m interested to see if any leagues try this and how it works out. I’d be worried about teams missing their ‘turn’ or just not being consistently available for the duration of the arbitration process as outlined by @Henry.Woodbury, but in the right league it would be very fun.


Good discussion of the goals of the arbitration process. Thanks Niv.

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Glad to see the interest in my idea. Thanks!

When I first posted this, the commissioner in one of my leagues proposed doing a sequential arbitration via message board. Each manager would make a single arbitration move and inform the next manager in line. Unfortunately a number of owners had already arb’ed and there was the general sense of winter disbanding, so it didn’t move forward.

One small (?) coding change that could let leagues do this off-line is to give commissioners control over arb dollars / player salaries. That way a league could do an off-line arbitration “draft” that the commissioner could then enter in Ottoneu.

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Commissioners can already change player salaries, so nothing stopping a league from trying it out.

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Right, the way to do this now would be to just have all owners abstain from arb, and then the commish can manually change salaries for each player receiving arbitration after the offline arb “draft”.