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Home Maury Brown Big Names, High Stakes Highlight Salary Arbitration Filings

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Big Names, High Stakes Highlight Salary Arbitration Filings PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 16 January 2009 00:46

Ryan Howard

Could Ryan Howard hit another HR in salary
arbitration? The Phillies 1B landed $10M last
year, in salary arbitration, a raise of 1,011%
from his 2007 salary after winning his case.

The MLBPA announced today that 111 players have filed for salary arbitration during the 10-day period that ended Thursday, up exactly one filing from last year when there were 110.

 (see the complete salary arbitration list, including last year)

Of the 111 players that filed, marquee players include Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, Mariners starting pitcher “King” Felix Hernandez, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro, Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, and Dodgers Catcher Russell Martin highlight the class.

But, it is the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies that find themselves with the largest burden to bear in this year’s salary arbitration class.

The Phillies start with Ryan Howard, who garnered the largest sum in salary arbitration last year. The case was a windfall for Howard and a substantial loss for the Phillies. Howard’s figure was $10 million compared to the Phillies’ offering figure of $7 million. Howard had made $900,000 in 2007, or a raise of 1,011 percent after winning his case.

The Phillies also have NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels to contend with. All told the Phillies see the largest number of players that filed in this year’s class (8 total):

Phillies Players in Arbitration
Joe Blanton 4.016 OF
Greg Dobbs 3.035 OF
Chad Durbin 4.102 RP
Cole Hamels 2.143 SP
Ryan Howard 3.145 1B
Ryan Madson 5.027 RP
Shane Victorino 3.092 OF
Jayson Werth 5.102 OF

The Brewers’ Prince Fielder, could be looking for a substantial raise. He posted .276/34/102 with a .507 SLG and a .372 OBP last season. As reported by Barry Bloom of, Fielder brings up his contract status while being with the Brewers.

"I'm not happy about it at all, the fact that they've renewed me two years in a row now," Fielder said last year at the time of the renewal. "There are a lot of guys with the same amount of time I have who have done a lot less than me and are getting paid a lot more. But my time is going to come and it's coming quick, too."

Salary arbitration arrives against the backdrop of the quarterly MLB owners meetings, where the bleak economy has dominated talks. That means this year, more than most, salary arbitration, or the deals that surround the filings, will be under a microscope.

Salary arbitration is truly an advantage almost exclusive to the players. Of those 110 players who filed last year, the average salary for them jumped from $1.38 million to $3.04 million. Of the 48 players that exchanged figures (see a detailed break down of last year’s filings), the increase in salary was 220 percent.

Here are some other key stats from this year’s salary arbitration filings:

  • Clubs with Most Filings: Phillies (8), Royals (7), Marlins, Mets, Pirates, Blue Jays (6)
  • Clubs with Least Filings: Cleveland (0 - have not gone to arbitration since 1991),  White Sox, Athletics, Padres, Giants (1) Cubs, Reds, D-Backs, Twins (2)
  • Players with most Major League Service Time: David Weathers, Reds (15.044), Darren Oliver, LA Angels (13.127).
  • Super Twos (16 total) are: Taylor Buchholz (2.14), Humberto Quintero (2.141), Ricky Nolasco (2.142), Cole Hamels (2.143), Chris Duncan (2.144), Angel Pagan (2.144), Luke Scott (2.144), Brandon League (2.145), Jack Taschner (2.146), Melky Cabrera (2.148), Russell Martin (2.150), Mike Napoli (2.151), Willy Aybar (2.153), Andre Ethier(2.153), Shawn Hill(2.153), and Brian Bannister(2.158)
  • Average Service Time for All 111: 3.637
  • The 111 (By Position): 1B (7), 2B (4), 3B (8), C (6), DH (1), OF (23), RP (40), SP (20), SS (2)

MLB players with at least 3 but less than 6 years of service time in MLB are eligible to file for salary arbitration. The exception is what is called a Super Two, or a player that has at least 2 years of service, but less than 3, has accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year, and ranked in the top 17% of all 2-year players in service time.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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