Arbitration question

Posted By on January 20, 2009 3:14 pm

From loyal reader Nicholas:

I don’t know much about arbitration but I hear that Ryan Howard and the Phillies are having trouble coming to an agreement. If they can not agree on a contract does this mean Howard will become a free agent?

Sorry, Nicholas, it doesn’t. If a team and player can’t agree on a deal prior to arbitration, they go to a hearing and an arbitrator assigns the player either the salary he requested or the one the team offered. Nothing in between. The vast majority of arbitration-eligible players never get this far. There are only about six to 10 actual hearings a year. Teams and players try to avoid them because they can get ugly. How’d you like to be sitting there, as the Phillies, and make a big case about how Ryan Howard isn’t as good as he thinks he is?

Prince Fielder was not very happy with the Brewers after his arbitration case last year, which is one of the reasons that he was rumored to be on the trade block. Of course, it will take more than just hard feelings for a 40-homer guy to be traded.


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