Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Best Defense for Arbitration

One of our recent posts detailed vital differences between baseball arbitration and free agency. Here’s another major one: an opposing party isn’t trying to discredit exhibits in your free agency packet. That is true in an arbitration hearing.

The Sports Resource strives to make agents arbitration briefs “rebuttal proof” by going on the offensive. One way to do this is make key points at least three different ways. This strengthens your arguments and defends them against the close scrutiny that always follows your presentation.

Even a powerful arbitration exhibit can get refuted when the club has its rebuttal time. Dismissing a point supported by multiple exhibits is much more difficult.

If one theme focuses on a position player’s clutch performance, we first demonstrate with core numbers. For example, we could show a strong slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) late in close ballgames. Another exhibit could detail all the player’s clutch achievements in the platform season: extra inning hits, game-winning RBI, etc.

Advanced metrics like win probability added – a great tool for this purpose – can drive home the point even further. Finally, we may include pertinent quotes from baseball insiders like teammates, coaches, or even front office members. This not only supports the numbers, but makes them come alive.

It’s never easy. The player may not have excelled in all these statistical categories, or he may have shined in some during the platform year but not his career timeframe. We find the right balance, avoiding anything that appears contrived, and build support for the main themes of the case.