Wlison, Eckstein on the defensive

The funky thing about arbitration hearings is that so much of the evidence is relative.

Updated: February 13, 2004, 9:13 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
When a player goes to arbitration, his team will go to great lengths to explain why he does not deserve the money he's asking. It can get ugly. Tears are shed. Personalities clash. Grudges are held. Christmas cards withheld. It's one of the reasons why teams and players both go to great lengths to avoid the process.

With a player like Jack Wilson of the Pirates, one of his major flaws is a lack of plate discipline. Although the Pirates lost their case to him, it was obvious they pointed this out as one of the many holes in his game. Robert Dvorchak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that right after winning his arbitration case, Wilson was in the batting cages working on his patience at the plate. "All the stuff they said bad about me in arbitration," Wilson joked. He has a sub-.300 career on base percentage and will be making $1.85 million in 2004, about $450,000 more than the Pirates offered.

Wilson has a positive reputation as a slick-fielding shortstop, something used to his betterment during the arbitration process. Is there a weakness there, too, that the Pirates could have exploited? Here are the ten National Leaguers who played at least 1,000 innings at shortstop last year:

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at