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Hill Wins Arbitration Case

Washington Nationals pitcher Shawn Hill won his arbitration case today, and will earn $775,000 in 2009. The Nationals -- who still have three other arbitration cases pending -- had proposed a salary of $500,000. Hill, 27, is coming off an injury-plagued 2008 season in which he went 1-5 with a 5.83 ERA in 12 starts. This spring, Hill will battle for a spot in the Nationals' rotation.

Hill had earned $402,000 in 2008.

"I was very happy, obviously," Hill said. "Somewhat surprised, just knowing that the owners do have the advantage historically and they've been 60 or 65 percent in the last couple years. We were kind of going up against it. I didn't expect it to go all the way to the hearing, but I'm pleased with the outcome.

"Everybody warned me how terrible [the process] is. Beforehand, there was a little bit of last-minute scramble trying to get a deal done, and unfortunately that didn't work out, but inside the room it was pretty straightforward. Very calm. Not a whole lot of yelling and screaming. They stayed clean with everything, didn't attack my character or anything. It was a pretty easygoing trial."

The Nationals are still trying to work out deals with their three additional arbitration-eligible players -- Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham. Olsen's hearing date is set for this upcoming Tuesday. Willingham's hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18. Not yet sure about Zimmerman's, but I'll post when I know.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 7, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wow, guess the going rate for 1 win, 5.83 era is higgher than I thought.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 7, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

wow, now there's a shocker.

who really thought he had a realistic chance of winning?

Posted by: MrMadison | February 7, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Shawn! Now go out there and pitch 180 innings this year like we know you can!

Maybe Uncle Teddy will be a little more willing to pony up that extra $50k to come to an agreement before going to arbitration next time...

Posted by: brewer1 | February 7, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Total shot in the dark, but I wonder if the Nats overhaul of their strength and conditioning department was part of Hill's case.

Posted by: LarryBraverman | February 7, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the down side to Hill winning his arb case is that it increases the chances that he'll be Pattersoned if he doesn't come strong out of the gate.

"@nunof1:

The amazing thing to me is that the Nationals' haven't signed ANY of them. Every other team in MLB has come to agreements with at least one of their players, and 16 of 30 have managed to sign all their Arb-eligibles."

How many other teams even have any players they've just traded for among their arb cases? Not many, I bet. You can throw those two out of the mix for any blame-laying. The only one that matters is Zimmerman. He has the same agent as Ryan Howard, which tells you right there that he's a hardass in negotiations. Most likely, he hasn't come down from Zimm's arb number at all yet and probably won't. He has to know that Zimm would win in arbitration - but so do the Nats. Hill winning his case will only serve to further ratify that. So look for Zimm to sign at his arb demand number before the hearing date. Probably right before. But there's absolutely no way that the Nats will take Zimmerman to an arbitration hearing when they know they'll lose it.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

It isn't whether Hill "deserves" the number or not, but whether the Nats offer or his was more realistic.

The Nats were barely offering much above the minimum for someone who has three seasons -- injury filled, of course -- under his belt.

Maybe the arbiter thought that Hill's number was too high, too, but that it was closer to reality than the Nats'.

What this does mean, though, is that unless he has a great season, he'll probably be non-tendered next year.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | February 7, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"He has the same agent as Ryan Howard, which tells you right there that he's a hardass in negotiations."

I see this thrown all over the place now, in reaction to Kasten's comments. While there might be some merit to it, especially with their willingness to negotiate to extend Zimmerman, should we just take Kasten's self-interested word that Zimmerman's agent is a complete pain in the butt?

I think his agent is Casey Close. Do other Close clients have similar attitudes towards extensions? I think we should check that out before we take Stanley's word on it.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | February 7, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I admit it: I was wrong. I didn't think Hill would win based on his injury history and lack of success. I don't read anything into this decision on the other arbitration eligible players. Every case is unique and either the team and agent can find common ground or they cannot.

The best news of the day is that A-Rod may very well have been A-Fraud after all. Not for his playoff meltdowns but because he had to inflate his numbers with a little help from a syringe. The Steroid Era just keeps giving us an endless stream of stories it seems. I'm not sure I believe any of the numbers from about 1994 - 2004.

Posted by: grforbes | February 7, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

This is my take on a long term Zim deal right now: Based on his production, he isn't worth what the other youngsters are signing for. Does his production dictate Youkilis numbers? No. So, it doesn't make good sense for the team to throw such a number at him. Zimmerman still has a few more years to put up silly numbers, and I think he's going to get there on the offensive side. We all know what he's worth with the glove. It doesn't make good sense for the team to put a big number on the table, and it doesn't make good sense for Zim to take something based on numbers he thinks he can improve. Therefore, probably no long term deal in the works.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I was dead wrong. Good for him. Now of course he just needs to take the mound every time Manny wants him too and the rest should take care of itself. He could be looking at a ton of money next if he can get one good year under his belt. And given his arm trouble, I would think he'd want to take a LT deal if he does well this year. But what do I know, I thought he'd lose.

Posted by: Avar | February 7, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm admittedly suprised by the arbitration panel's decision, but hope the Lerner's will gain some understanding of how to play the game & get everyone else under contract pre-hearing this year.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"I see this thrown all over the place now, in reaction to Kasten's comments. While there might be some merit to it, especially with their willingness to negotiate to extend Zimmerman, should we just take Kasten's self-interested word that Zimmerman's agent is a complete pain in the butt?"

Taking a hard line in negotiations is not the same thing as being a complete pain in the butt. Which, BTW, Kasten never said, and neither did I. It's not a pejorative thing to say an agent always takes a hard line in negotiations, is it?

"I think his agent is Casey Close."

The name I have always heard is Brodie Van Wagenen. Does Close work for him, or vice versa?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats had a better reputation around baseball for investing in their team, the arb guy probably would have given the Nats a win in the Hill case. It is mostly subjective.

Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess this shows just how much most of us don't know. Especially with the economy downturn we are all in. Just didn't see any way he would win this. Zimm, on the otherhand is a no brainer ( I think?) that he will get his number. The ex-Marlins...they'll likely win also. In other words, it should be clear to management by now to up the offers and settle.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 7, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I didn't predict, but I said I thought he should win. 500k is not an appropriate salary for any starting pitcher in year 4. I don't care what their injury history is.

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 7, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

RZimm's agent is indeed Brodie Van Wagenen. He has / does work with Casey Close, as both of them represent Justin Maxwell.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Casey Close also represents Ben Sheets, FWIW.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"If the Nats had a better reputation around baseball for investing in their team, the arb guy probably would have given the Nats a win in the Hill case. It is mostly subjective."

I doubt that the arbitrator is allowed to consider anything about the team or its finances/reputation in making a decision. It's all about the player and what he has done relative to other players at the same salary level. Or said conversely, it's all about the relative salaries given for similar performance levels and years of service.

The whole point of arbitration is to make it as little subjective as is humanly possible. This is true in general, not just in baseball.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

This surprised me too, but good on you, Shawn. Way to stick it to the man!!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Post of the day, for verity alone.

********************
I guess this shows just how much most of us don't know.
Posted by: cokedispatch | February 7, 2009 3:22 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least one person thought there were arguments for Hill and the Nats might have low balled. Which goes to show that with enough monkeys typing posts . . .

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

nunof1,

You are 100 percent right, in theory.

Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

But - is his arbitration award non-guaranteed? That might be the case with FA eligible guys who accept arbitration and not team controlled, but I may have that wrong. If it is not guaranteed, then I see this as make the team convincingly or get Pattersoned, and I never thought he would be let go like that before.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 7, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1:

Spot on. I believe the arbitration panel is allowed to review the past three-years statistical performance of the player (& time-equal "peers"), then hears arguments from both the player & team to address / justify the $$$value put forward by each side.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@jca:

I believe the Arbitration panel decision is binding, and guaranteed.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

waiting for someone to get on the Lerners for not having the stones to go negative...

**********
"[I]nside the room it was pretty straightforward. Very calm. Not a whole lot of yelling and screaming. They stayed clean with everything, didn't attack my character or anything. It was a pretty easygoing trial."

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 7, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"nunof1,

You are 100 percent right, in theory.

Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2009 3:53 PM"

Which means you were 100% wrong, in theory. My theory is you just don't want to admit it.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"the Nationals, as of now, are probably Dunn's 'second or third choice.'"

I know exactly how he feels.

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 7, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

What?
*************

nunof1,
You are 100 percent right, in theory.
Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2009 3:53 PM"
------------
Which means you were 100% wrong, in theory. My theory is you just don't want to admit it.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 4:07 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 7, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@CEJ:

I doubt the Lerner's were in the room; owners' don't usually attend Arb hearings; It was most likely Bowden / Rizzo.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

nunof1,

OK, I'll explain. I've served on judicial panels. Factors that one person considers are different from what another person considers. Values and judgment come into play all the time, no matter whether it is a baseball arb panel or the Supreme Court or many levels in between.

These judgments are not made by computer. And even when they are (like the BCS system), subjective inputs are made. Theoretically, a well-trained, informed arb panel will increase objectivity, and I'll grant you that!

Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Would any ballplayer in his right mind not consider LA / Anaheim as a preference over Washington? Standings aside, let's just look at the overview; The greater Los Angeles area has great year-round weather, beaches, outdoor recreation & the entertainment factor is "off the hook". The downside includes earthquakes, landslides, wildfires & a laisse-faire fanbase.
Meanwhile, D.C. is the hub to "policy wonks & Politicians", flips part of their fan base every two years, & can be bloody cold for 5 months out of the year. The downside includes everything mentioned above, as well as the occaisional Hurricane :>.

If I'm a FA, unless you throw SERIOUS money at me, I'm waiting to see what a West-Coast job offer might bring.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

EdDC, I think it's much more likely that the arbiter ruled as he did because he was afraid that those millions of Hill's Canadian countrymen living within two miles of the US border are poised to attack the US than because he intentionally or subconsciously wanted to stick it to the Nats, as you suggested.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic, but if the Nationls' had been serious about trying to sign Glavine, they would have offered to pay membership dues to both Landsdowne & the RTJ-Manassas courses as a kicker.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1:

Please, even in jest - when was the last time a French-speaking nation/state ever successfully invaded a bordering country/state?

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

What is frightening about this (as a 5th year seasons ticket holder) is that the Nats risk bad feelings with a guy who is supposed to be their #2 or 3 SP over $275K. If they had spent some money or acquired some ML players in the off season I could see this. Don't tell me about Willingham -- one third of his 2008 HRS were against the Nats. 2 of Olsen's 8 wins were against the Nats.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | February 7, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Do you dare to suggest that "le Quebecois" surreptitiously take over the states of New York, New Hampshire, Maine & Vermont?

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the weekend update, Chico.

I'm surprised at the win as well. But, as NatsNut said, stick it to the man. Would be great to see what a healthy Hill could do over a full season.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 7, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So perh

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 7, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

dang that postus interruptus...

So perhaps De Tocqueville was De Toqueville and we should all be wearing toques and eating poutine, BinM?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 7, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@grclark:

As Shawn himself made it sound, there were no bad feelings coming out of the hearing, so no major worries there. Your assumption that he is currently a #2-3SP, even on this staff, is a bit skewed imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Oui, mon ami. You should be consuming back bacon & crullers as well as poutine; But only if you live in the far north-eastern states that I've previously listed.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Good for Shawn Hill.

I just had a brilliant idea. You and I both know how hideous those parking garages look to the fan in the seats and the fan watching TV. I wish the team would take the classic facade of a block of traditional DC row houses and duplicate it to mask the plain hideousness of the garages. Instant classic. Cherry Blossoms and row houses. You are selling an experience. Think of it as Main Street USA - like Disney.

Posted by: 6thandD | February 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

mmm...crullers...

I like the row house idea, 6thandD.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 7, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Please, even in jest - when was the last time a French-speaking nation/state ever successfully invaded a bordering country/state?"

French-speaking Canada didn't even have to invade English-speaking Canada in order to get them to kowtow, now did they?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Don't tell me about Willingham -- one third of his 2008 HRS were against the Nats."

Then don't read what Boswell just wrote today over on Baseball Insider.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Why would the team need to "go negative" in this case? The delta was only $255K where most deltas are in the millions. This was probably the first arbitration case because it was one of the easier cases.

Posted by: ecmdfan | February 7, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I like the row house idea, with real row houses, on layered streets on and above ground, with street lights, front yards and balconies for sitting out and watching the games.

That would take imagination. But the hideous parking garages took no imagination. The garages are an eyesore.

Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

BinM, you forgot about DC's stifling, swampy humidity.

Dunn aint coming here.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 7, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

1a1:
De Tocqueville was a bit of an odd duck, imo. Put forward as a father of Sociology in his day, yet a strong proponent for racial segregation.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1:

Just because Parliment resides physically in Quebec' does not mean that the remainder of the Provinces "kowtow" to their wishes - nearly everyone outside Quebec stills speaks english, eh?

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

@NN:

Yeah, but I didn't want to go too overboard on the upside of D.C.

Besides, he should be used to that part of the weather, having played in CIN.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Great news for Hill, he now needs to get off to a good start in spring training as only one sixth of the money is guaranteed.

-------------

"If the player is cut within 16 days before the season begins, he is entitled only to 30 days’ termination pay. If the player is cut during spring training but after the 16th day before the season begins, he is entitled only to 45 days’ termination pay."

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 7, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

@PB69:

Wow, nice research. Was that from the Players' Agreement?

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

It came from the first website listed when I Googled "baseball arbitration rules". I'm confident it is correct because I campaigned for FLop to be cut before the deadlines last March.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 7, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@jca:

I stand corrected - thanks to an assist from PB69 and the Basic Agreement, the ruling of the Arbitrator panel is binding, but non-guaranteed.
"The panel, without opinion, awards the player a one-year, non-guaranteed contract at one salary or the other. If the player is cut within 16 days before the season begins, he is entitled only to 30 days’ termination pay. If the player is cut during spring training but after the 16th day before the season begins, he is entitled only to 45 days’ termination pay."

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I initially said Canada, not French Canada. Why are you trying to pin me down as a Frenchman, even in jest?

(BTW, you do know Hill is Canadian - although not Quebecois - don't you? That was the context for the joke I was making. I guess that went right over your head, huh?)

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"If the player is cut during spring training but after the 16th day before the season begins, he is entitled only to 45 days’ termination pay."

Which is precisely what happens when a player gets Pattersoned. Sadly, that term is probably going to be JP's most enduring legacy in Washington.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 7, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

doesn't matter - Hill won't be around if/when it matters because of some sort of injury or illness...jettison his spot and give it to somebody who will at least pitch and compete and learn...this team is going to lose another 100 games or so regardless due to a complete lack of success in getting help to a mediocre punchless lineup....they just aren't much fun to watch.

Posted by: outrbnksm | February 7, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Canadian parliament resides officially in Ottawa-Ontario. Quebec city is the capital of the province, not the country.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | February 7, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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