Arbitration figures were exchanged today, and to no one’s real surprise, Ryan Howard (BlueClaws 2002) and the Phillies are far apart. Howard asked for $18 million, which would mark a raise of $8 million, while the Phillies offered their slugger $14 million. Next month an arbitrator will choose one of the two figures, presuming the sides can’t come to terms on an agreement beforehand. There is no middle ground for the arbitrator to choose from.
Last year, Howard asked for $10, the Phillies offered $7, and Howard won. This year, the ante has gone up.
What will happen now? If this goes to the arbitrator, and it seems it will, the Phillies will argue Howard isn’t worth as much as the guy he is frequently compared to: Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. The 2008 MVP, Pujols made slightly more than $14 million last year. This is one of the awkward parts about the salary arbitration process.
Only Derek Jeter ($18.5 million in 2001) and Roger Clemens ($22 million in 2005) have asked for more in arbitration.
In other Phillies news, Ryan Madson has agreed to a 3-year, $12 million deal. This is a relative bargain for one of the best relief pitchers in the league. Remember, the Yankees have given set-up men between $5-6 million in recent years, guys like Tom Gordon, Kyle Farnsworth, and Steve Karsay, and haven’t gotten the production Madson gave the Phillies last year. Also, the team agreed to a 1-year, $5.475 million deal with pitcher Joe Blanton.
Besides Howard, Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin are the only players that remain unsigned.