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Monday, February 22, 2010
Why do players suffer arbitration hearings?


The Nationals won a couple of arbitration cases last week -- Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett -- but as usual, nobody really seemed to enjoy the process much. From The Washington Post's Chico Harlan:


When I worked for Bill James, he sometimes helped prepare arbitration cases for players, and to this day I recall being surprised when he told me that the players actually showed up occasionally for the hearings.

And I'm still surprised, as I believe it's now de rigueur for the players to attend the hearings.

To what end, exactly? I suppose so the arbitrators can place a face with the name, and presumably the agents think the players' presence will help them however slightly. For all I know, they've even got data suggesting such a thing.

I doubt it, though. Feel free to correct me, but I suspect the agents like having the players there mostly so the players can see the agents fighting for them; earning their 6 percent.

This seems like small recompense for the players' time and discomfort. I think the owners and the players should simply agree that mid-February for the players is for playing, and for the owners and the agents it's for arguing for a few hours. Ideally, never the twain shall meet.