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01/29/10 5:30 PM EST

Edwin Jackson's case tied to peer's

D-backs, righty monitoring Astros' talks with Rodriguez

PHOENIX -- As the D-backs' Feb. 17 salary-arbitration hearing with Edwin Jackson draws closer, you can bet the club will be keeping a close eye on what happens between Wandy Rodriguez and the Astros.

The fellow pitchers are in the same arbitration class based on service time and other factors, and because of that, what Rodriguez ends up making will have an effect on what Jackson makes.

For example, last year the D-backs were set to go to a hearing with outfielder Conor Jackson. Arizona filed a contract figure of $2.45 million, while Jackson countered with $3.65 million -- the arbitration panel must pick one figure or the other.

Andre Ethier was a member of Conor Jackson's arbitration class and when the Dodgers signed Ethier to a $3.1 million deal Feb. 17 just before his hearing that prompted the D-backs to agree to pay Conor Jackson $3.05 million. Conor Jackson's hearing had been set for the next day and he was in the car driving from Tucson to Phoenix when the settlement was reached.

One difference this year is that the Astros have a policy of not negotiating a settlement with a player past a certain date. That deadline came and went Monday, so it looks like Rodriguez's case will go to a hearing, also set for Feb. 17.

Rodriguez is seeking $7 million, and the club is offering $5 million. Should the sides not reach an agreement before the hearing, Rodriguez's salary will not impact Edwin Jackson because the decisions of the arbitration panel are released at the same time for members of the same class.

While the D-backs have, in the past, given players take-it-or-we're-going-to-a-hearing offers, they do not have a strict policy on the issue.

"It's a case-by-case basis," D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said.

Whether there will be a settlement with Edwin Jackson before the hearing remains to be seen.

"Obviously the goal is to reach an agreement without a hearing," Byrnes said. "Each case is unique. We'll see what happens. At this point, I'd say that most of our time is focused on getting ready for the hearing."

Edwin Jackson is the lone arbitration-eligible player the D-backs have yet to sign.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.