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.