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Ryan Howard Aims To End Philadelphia’s Streak

Ryan HowardA little over a year ago, Ryan Howard dropped his agent Larry Reynolds of Reynolds Sports Management in favor of Casey Close, who works for CAA. Howard was coming off of an MVP year and was hoping for another stellar season so that he could go to arbitration with Close and get a monumental deal. Howard had a solid 2007 campaign, but his 2006 numbers dropped in almost every category. Even though he has seen a drop in performance, Howard still believes that he has a strong case going into arbitration against the Philadelphia Phillies.

As strong as Howard feels about the lofty numbers he has put up at such a young age, he and his agent should possibly be concerned with the Phillies track record in arbitration hearings. Since arbitration began as a way to solve disputed salary figures in 1994, the Phillies have a record of 7-0 in cases that actually get heard (in most instances, the player and team settle beforehand). This is important, because the MLB uses a Final Offer Arbitration system, which means that the arbitrator will have to choose the offer from the player or the team at the conclusion of a hearing (there is no middle ground).

Howard is looking for $10 million while the Phillies only wish to spend $7 million (which is what Pujols received in his first year of arbitration eligibility). If the case ends up going to an actual hearing, do you think that the Phillies will remain undefeated at 8-0 or will Howard end up breaking the team’s winning streak? The hearing is scheduled for February 20th. If the two parties do not settle before that date, it should be an interesting case for all sports agents to observe.

The only other team that remains without a loss in arbitration hearings? The Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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