Arbitration MLB Players MLB Teams

2008 MLB Arbitration Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies now boast a 7-1 lifetime record.

Until two days ago, the Philadelphia Phillies were invincible. They were undefeated. Fans loved them and swore to never boo them again. Okay, scratch the last sentence…a Philadelphia fan without an arsenal of “boos” is no true Philadelphian. Anyway, the Phillies are no longer flawless when it comes to the skill of winning an arbitration hearing. Ryan Howard put the team in its place when he and his sgent, Casey Close of CAA, not only squashed the Phillies streak, but also set the record for winning the largest 1-year arbitration accrued contract for an MLB player.

Team owners were 5-0 in 2008 arbitration hearings until Howard won his case against Philadelphia.

Brian Fuentes, Jose Valverde, Chien-Ming Wang, Felipe Lopez, and Mark Loretta all suffered losses when pitted up against their individual teams.

Team owners ended 6-2 overall.

The only other player to win a case that went to hearing this year was Oliver Perez.  He will receive $6.5 million instead of the $4.725 million that the Mets wanted to pay him.  Fransisco Rodriguez ended up losing his case, but still guaranteed himself a contract for the same value that Howard got for winning.  Instead of getting the $12.5 million he requested, K-Rod will earn $10 million next year from the Angels.


Overall, the teams dominated cases that went to arbitration yet again.  This trend is why many agents decide to settle prior to hearing, even if the number is sometimes a little lower than the midpoint (the midpoint between a $10 million and $12 million negotiation would be $11 million).  The player often benefits by settling at or a little below the midpoint as opposed to going to hearing and most likely losing, being forced to accept the team’s lower offer.  In addition, there are several other negatives of pursuing an actual hearing, including finding out about many flaws that the team sees in a player that may make such player think twice about his performance and affect him psychologically.

The big winner this year was definitely Ryan Howard.  Congrats to him and his team of agents.

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.