Each season, baseball fans and journalists alike identify which players are in the final years of their contracts because a lot rides on how the players produce in their “contract year.” Will a player boost his effort and performance in an effort to improve his value and bargaining power? Or will he crumble under the pressure? Or are players’ performances uncorrelated with where they stand in their contract cycles?
O'Neill, Heather M., "Do Hitters Boost Their Performance During Their Contract Years?" (2014). Business and Economics Faculty Publications. 7.