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What Arbitration Is Like

From the Washington Post:

Those who call arbitration hearings just business typically haven't attended one. "Brutal," Bruney called his. "Uncomfortable," Burnett called his. "It does wear on you. You listen to guys belittle you, make you feel like you're invaluable. It's like, '[Damn], these guys really hate me.' But at the same time, too, when your guy is talking it's weird to hear all the praise. The whole situation is awkward."
But because the arbitration process also leaves scar tissue -- "a hatefest," said Jason Bergmann... -- very few teams and players end up in battle.

I like how the word they used to censor the worse word is still borderline offensive.

Anyway, nothing groundbreaking in there, but it's a good indication of why this is something teams generally try to avoid. You don't win friends with arbitration.

On the other hand:

"If anything, I think [the hearing] can better you," Bruney said. "Because I know the only bad things they can say about me are things I can fix."

I have no doubt that it's an ugly, hurtful process, but I wonder if there might be a kernel of truth to Bruney's statement. Few things motivate quite like hearing your employer say you're not as good at your job as you think you are.

It would be interesting if arbitration damaged the relationship between player and team while simultaneously making the player a little better.