MLB Arbitration & the Phillies’ Ryan Howard

Nathan, a regular reader here at Baseball Reflections, asked my opinion on the Ryan Howard arbitration situation.

Here’s what he said,

“What do you think about Ryan Howard’s arbitration awarding him $10 million??? Was it good for him (of course) but was it good for baseball (probably not) ??? It certainly changes the game financially for younger players. $10 million after 2 years??? That is just crazy!”

Here’s my reply: Normally I would agree with you, but if you look at his numbers, and that’s all the arbitrator does, it makes a pretty good case for the $10 million!

His average numbers given a projected 162 game season are: 101/168/51/139/.291/.397/.610/1.007 (R/H/HR/RBI/BA/OBP/SLG/OPS).

What player in the history of the game has ever put up numbers like these in his first 2 full seasons? As much as I’d hate to admit it, it looks like the arbitrator made the right call. It really shouldn’t reflect on other young players too much because this is, after all, an arbitration case. Now if you want to talk about the Troy Tulowitzki contract then you might have a point of concern. Howard, aside from seeming like a nice guy, is getting paid his current worth. As far as the Phillies are concerned, unless he keeps up these ungodly numbers (which is not likely), they should wait until his numbers level off before they talk long-term contract extension.

Update: Thanks to the comment by Maury Brown we have more in depth information about the arbitration process. Maury Brown who 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 HockeyHe is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Well, “looking at the numbers, and that’s all the arbitrator does” is telling the story… sort of. For one, it’s a panel of three arbitrators, and here’s what they can look at in terms of “evidence” in the hearing:

(1) the player’s contribution to his club in the previous season
(2) the length and consistency of his career contribution
(3) the player’s past compensation
(4) comparative baseball salaries
(5) the existence of any mental or physical defects on the part of the player
(6) the recent performance of the club

Thank you Maury! And check out his Network and the sites he has on it!

2 Comments

  1. Maury

    March 6, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Well, “looking at the numbers, and that’s all the arbitrator does” is telling the story… sort of. For one, it’s a panel of three arbitrators, and here’s what they can look at in terms of “evidence” in the hearing:
    (1) the player’s contribution to his club in the previous season
    (2) the length and consistency of his career contribution
    (3) the player’s past compensation
    (4) comparative baseball salaries
    (5) the existence of any mental or physical defects on the part of the player
    (6) the recent performance of the club

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