Deadline looms for D-backs, Jackson
Negotiations ongoing with arbitration hearing set for Wednesday
TUCSON, Ariz. -- There has been little, if any, movement in contract negotiations between the D-backs and outfielder Conor Jackson with a salary-arbitration hearing just a few days away.Jackson's hearing before a three-member arbitration panel is scheduled for Wednesday in the Phoenix area.
"I have no new news," Jackson said on Sunday as he reported to camp. "I think it's kind of a waiting game. It's hard to comment on right now, it's an ongoing negotiation."Jackson filed an arbitration figure of $3.65 million, while the club countered with $2.45 million. The 49 percent difference between the two was the sixth-highest among players who filed for arbitration. Last year, Jackson made $419,500. One of the factors that complicates a deal is that Jackson is part of a class of players that includes Andre Either, Jeff Francouer, Mike Jacobs and Josh Willingham among others. Should one or more of the players settle, it could have an impact on the others. Ethier's hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, but the ruling will not be revealed until after the hearings of the other players in the class so as not to influence the decision-making process. "It's kind of a funky this year with all the guys in one class," Jackson said. "I think everyone's pretty much in a holding pattern." Jackson is the lone D-backs' player eligible for salary arbitration who is not signed. The D-backs have never had a player go to an arbitration hearing since Josh Byrnes took over as general manager following the 2005 season. The only time Byrnes has gone to arbitration during his front-office career was when he was the Rockies' assistant GM, and the club lost its case with Dennys Reyes. One of the possible fallouts from a hearing is that even if the player wins, he winds up being unhappy because of what the team says about his performance in front of the arbitrator. The knock on Jackson has been that he lacks power and is not a strong defender. Over the past three seasons he has hit 42 homers and driven in 214 runs. What is said during the hearing and its result, Jackson vowed, would not negatively impact him going forward. "Business is business," he said. "When it's all said and done, I'm still going to get a nice raise from last year. I'll be happy with whatever amount. Once it's over, it's back to baseball." Jackson hit .300 with 12 homers and 75 RBIs last year. In each of the past two seasons, his OPS+ (a weighted measure of on-base plus slugging percentage) was 110, which translates to being 10 percent better than average. "I think he can handle it," Byrnes said of what might be said during a hearing. "It's an unusual process. If the club is in there, we have to make our case."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.