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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Comments

Morty, Good point from the last thread.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Phillies were carrying water for Selig and the other owners by setting their number so low.

Great picture!

Whoa

Did not see that coming. I love the big guy but i guess he's on borrowed time as a Phil now. I would guess the new salary proposal number is what? 7 years 150M?

I'm happy for him, but at the same time, he better cut down on k's, hit lefties better, and turn a 3-6-3 or at least get the force out at 2nd. I wouldn't mind see balls flying to left more off his bat too. Guess this means "the budget" is probably done.

If he doesn't finish in red pinstripes, then oh well. The opportunity for this team to win IS the next 3-4 years anyway.

I like Howard a lot, but I am a bit disappointed about where this leaves the Phils money-wise. This is a team that won't put in a few extra bucks to bring in Lohse as another arm. The question is how will this affect the financial picture of the Phils going forward?

As for Howard, here is to hoping we see the guy from 2006 again. $10 million is well worth it for that guy, who you felt that incredible things would happen every time he stepped into the batters box. I don't feel quite as good giving $10 million to the guy from last year, who K'ed as much as he came through. Maybe he won't mope through parts of the season like he seemed to last year, with $10 million (as opposed to $900,000) in his pockets.

Overall, I am happy for Howard, but concerned about how the team will react to this.

Good day to be Ryan Howard. I agree with Jason that the biggest money route for Howard is a series of one year deals, and then then the big kahuna contract after 2011. As far as "going for it" this year is as good as any, and what do we get, Kris Benson, Jekins, Feliz?

Ach...

We've got a great team, fun to watch, can play with anybody and I can't wait for the season, but ownership will never "go for it."

So much for noticing body language and parsing his public comments...

FWIW, the Inqy says the owners record at arbitration is 7-1.

Thanks. They must have won a couple more cases.

"Howard's win becomes the first by a player this year in arbitration, and the record now stands at 7-1 in favor of the owners."

The Phillies are now 7-1 in arbitration hearings (according to Philly.com). In 2007, the owners are 5-1 (according to the AP).

Doubt that they will sign him long-term now. #1. They're probably bitter about losing the case. #2. His asking price is probably so high they won't even talk to him about it. He's gone as soon as he hits FA.

Also forget about Loshe now too. And extending Burrell as well. IMO.

Ok. We'll go with 5-1, since Rosenthal and AP outnumbers Philly.com.

So I guess he's happy now, and will produce better and then give us a hometown discount on a long-term deal, right Phil Sheridan? Right guys?

well, for another most-likely-wrong prediction, I'm going to say that this makes a long-term deal for Howard nearly impossible. I just can't see the Phillies going as high as what Howard would demand for 6-7 years.

I could see a remaining arb or remaining arb plus one deal, just to avoid this nonsense in future years, but I'll go on record predicting that he's the first man of the current core out of Philadelphia.

how about this for a long-shot prediction: Howard gets traded the coming offseason and Burrell resigns and moves to first. I could see that (although I wouldn't endorse it).

Playing devil's advocate, but what happens when he strikes out 250 times this season and his numbers drop all around.
Is he going to start crying when the Phils offer $7M next year?
That's when the ill feelings will be harbored.

Good for Ryan Howard, he is getting paid closer to what he would be paid in the open market.

Phillies ownership shouldn't pout over their first arbitration loss. They low-balled Howard and they deserved to lose. If he were a free agent, he would have easily been offered $15-18 million per.

I hope this forces this ownership group SELL the team now to a new ownership that will be able to afford a payroll of a baseball team in a big market city in the 21st century. They have to see the writing on the wall. A payroll of $100M isn't going to be competitive anymore.

Don't make us loyal fans suck it up in a few years by trading away our best players when they get to their free agent years(Howard, Hamels, Rollins) for your own self imposed payroll cap. CBP should draw over 3 million fans this season. We will be there. Give us something back!

Sell the team now, please!

I made this prediction on radio last week. And last year, I predicted 89 wins on radio. And a 5-3 Braves win on opening day. Next radio appearance I'm predicting I'll win the lottery.

It should be interesting to see how he responds on the field, does he feel relaxed because he won or does it add extra pressure to live up to the contract especially when he enters a slump or has to come back from a injury,(Hopefully not!)but it's good to see him going into spring training in good physical,mental and monetary shape. Hopefully it produces a great year!

The Yankees are holding Joe Torre's old number (6) until it's either retired or, um, well, I don't want to think about it.

Red Means Go!
Goosebumps!
Break the Bank!

Good for Ryan Howard, he is getting paid closer to what he would be paid in the open market.

Phillies ownership shouldn't pout over their first arbitration loss. They low-balled Howard and they deserved to lose. If he were a free agent, he would have easily been offered $15-18 million per.

UDHens, that's just stupid. he's NOT a free agent. if you don't take advantage of cheap labor when you have access to it, you're a terrible franchise. the Yankees do it (look at them arguing with Wang this offseason). the Red Sox do it (Youkilis is making $3M this year). the Mets do it (witness their arbitration hearing with Perez). every successful franchise in baseball is going to wring as much value as they can out of arbitration-eligible players because you have to in the 2008 MLB.

"...Howard, who will fit into their self-imposed salary cap like a whale in a fish tank."

That line was worth the price of admission by itself!

UD Hens: The point of having young players is to NOT pay them what they would get on the open market. The system works that way. If you are a fan of the Phillies you should be seriously glad that they don't have to pay him what he would get in the open market. Do you understand how the system works?

To all the people who complain that ownership is cheap and is not willing to give Howard a long-term deal, all I can say is that while we don't know what's going on, we have seen what they've done before. Which is to give deals to Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Brett Myers, all of whom agreed to deals while in their Arb years. Howard so far has not. You can say Scott Rolen, but there is just as much, if not more, evidence that the Phillies have been willing to give money to their young players. Howard seems to be an exception.

I assume UDHens thinks that the Phillies should void their contract with Rollins and renegotiate it, since he could clearly get more than $7M on the open market for 2008.

ae, thanks for pointing out that he was not a free agent. That is probably a news flash to everyone on this blog. And I think it is great that you can simply dismiss anyone's argument that does not agree with you.

My point is that Ryan Howard's "market value" is certainly greater than $10M and absolutely greater than $7M. In a fair and free market his value based on the revenue he generates for the team would be compensated accordingly. Of course, baseball operates under a very advantageous anti-trust exemption so salaries can be controlled below market value to some extent.

My second point is that as Howard and others become free agents in the fututre, these owners will be force to pay their fair market value or let them go. The future of this team under this ownership is bleak. See Pittsburgh and Kansas City as a model.

Can someone give a quick explanation on what will happen each year until he becomes a FA. Does he have to accept binding arbitration each year until 2011 or does he have any other rights (comparable to a restricted FA in the NBA)?
Thanks

UD Hens: Not to pile up (but I will anyway), I agree with Jack and ae. This is a negotiated collective bargaining agreement. The players have a ton of leverage when they become free agents or on the doorstep of free agency (see Johan Santana). Howard is not a free agent. He is a guy with three years of service time. The Phils were just dealt a major blow with this ruling, and I am not excited to see the consequences.

"I assume UDHens thinks that the Phillies should void their contract with Rollins and renegotiate it, since he could clearly get more than $7M on the open market for 2008."

ae, that's a stupid assumption.


Zeke: He doesn't really have any other rights. He and the team can either agree to a long-term deal, a series of 1-year deals each offseason based on a compromise between offers, or they can do the arb hearing every year. Based on what's happened this year, expect the latter. Howard has shown no intention of compromising at all.

UD Hens, thanks for pointing out my facetious assumption. I'm sure that's a news flash to everyone on this blog.

UD Hens: I can definitely agree with you that if the ownership sells this team, I will be thrilled. It is just a shame that Comcast controls all sports in the Philadelphia region, so that the Phils can't set up a cable network like YES, NESN, or SNY. That is where the real money is made for the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets.

JBrod (and UD), agreed. Despite Claire Betz's contributions, I agree the best thing for the phans would be a sale of the team.

My point is that Ryan Howard's "market value" is certainly greater than $10M and absolutely greater than $7M. In a fair and free market his value based on the revenue he generates for the team would be compensated accordingly. Of course, baseball operates under a very advantageous anti-trust exemption so salaries can be controlled below market value to some extent.

your first point is, as you accurately point out yourself, completely irrelevant.

My second point is that as Howard and others become free agents in the fututre, these owners will be force to pay their fair market value or let them go. The future of this team under this ownership is bleak. See Pittsburgh and Kansas City as a model.

your second point is a complete non sequitur. the current Phillies, as pointed out by Jack and others, have a well-established history of signing their home-grown talents to long-term contracts (to repeat: Burrell, Utley, Rollins, Myers). I fail to see how this year's arbitration process represents the first step on any kind of slippery slope.

i don't know what goes on in an arbitration meeting, but one of the reported admissable points of argument is salary comparables. i have to say that i am worried, not just for the Phillies and their payroll situation, but for the dangerous precedent that this ruling sets.
baseball is organized so that the balance of power in contracts favors the team before free agency and the player after. (and rightly so, if a player can stick around and be productive that long he deserves a big payday.) but i think Howard's win cedes power to the player before free agency. and if that happens, well, goodbye parity.
hello big market. hello boston, hello new york.

not just speaking as a Phils fan, but as a baseball fan, this ruling is extremely distressing.

the guy deserves it.

the guy deserves a pay raise... and $7 million this year would have been a $6.1 million dollar raise.

First off, business is business, so the Phillies shouldn't get all bent out of shape because they lost this arbitarion hearing. I don't think they will be holding any kind of grudge. Frankly, I think they knew they would lose all along but put up a brave fight for the sake of keeping the faith with other owners.
Still, Howard will be gone by 2010. Why?
NOT because the franchise is cheap. Because he will not be worth the money he will be demanding by 2011.
He will be worth more in trade than he will be for the team by 2010. He has shown over the past several years that he is in it for the $$. Nothing wrong with that, it is a business after all. But switching agents several times, "demanding" a trade while in the minors, etc., shows where his head is at (or at least the heads of the people advising him).
Giving him more money just to keep him happy is pure BS. The Phillies will get NO benefit from giving him more than they need to. His expectations are way beyond whatever the franchise could offer that would make him grateful to the Phillies.

Next, the real window for the current crop (Rollins, Utley, Howard, Myers, etc.) is 3-4 years, which years in the case of Howard the Phillies control. After that, let him walk if his demands are out of line. (Obviously they should be trading him and hopefully getting close to equal value in return).

As a player I love Howard. What's not to love, really? He's exciting, he charismatic, he's intimidating at the plate. (Forget the K's. He's a prototype power hitter and you forget the K's when those 40-50 HRs come around).

But if I'm the Phillies I do this: I make a bona fide effort to sign him this year to a realistic longterm deal, realistic in terms of the market, his value as a player and as a draw, and realistic in terms of what his signing does to flexibilty for the franchise overall.
If that doesn't happen than I look to deal him next year, while he still has a couple of years of arbitration. This makes him immensely more attractive on the trade market. Believe it or not (and Howard might not believe it) but he is eminently replacable in the overall scheme of things. If the Phillies handle it right, he could be the key to the next group of players to help build around.
Don't screw around with false hopes. He signs longterm by next season or he's gone.

To be clear, I hope the Phillies and Howard can work something out. I really do. But if the Phillies trade him, or let him go as a FA, it will be Ryan Howard's doing, not the Phillies' management.

Ryan Howard is one injury away from finding out how major league baseball REALLY works. I hope it never comes to that.

so the question is, what will it take for Howard to sign long-term minus the hometown discount, which Ron Howard, I mean Ryan Howard will not agree to? How about a 6 year for $105 mil?

Jack do the Phils spend money on top tier free agents? Do the phils invest money in their farm system? Locking up talent in their arb years is just one area. If you feel your getting your money's worth as a fan and you are satisfied with the Phils as a franchise then you are a cheap date. I expect the Phils to act like the fourth biggest market in the country. I expect them to act like a franchise on the verge of big things.

Paul and UD Hens: If teams had to pay every young player what they would get on the open market every year, then small market teams would have all of the Abe Nunezs of the world and none of the Ryan Howards. If you're a Phillies fan, it's not about what the guy "deserves", it's about what's best for the team. And I have yet to see someone convincingly argue this is best for the Phillies and their fans.

George S-

true story.

Howard did exactly what the rest of us would do -- seek the pay he thought he was worth. Turns out he was right. It is not his fault that he is rapidly pricing himself out of our "budget." It's not his fault we have bush league ownership in a major market.

Don: Here, from the last thread, I explain what I wish Phillies management and ownership would do:

What I would like is a full-on progressive organization that allocates maximum resources to scouting department and minor league development as well as uses the most advandced statistical analysis. Also, I'd like to have a team that does serious research and uses the most advanced technology to deal with health issues, not just relying on outdated medical reports by their training staff. I'd like to see the team invest more into the draft; it makes sense to spend more there on cheap players than to spend on really expensive free agents. I'd like to see a team built for the long-term while also maximizing financial resources to best win in the short term, including wisely signing veteran free agents, although not blindly overpaying for big names.

That is what I would like to see. Being a great organization does not mean just wildly spending money. It means having a clear long-term and short-term vision and wisely allocating resources to accomplish it. The Phillies have failed on most of those fronts.

What happened to the love?

Anyway, what is really frustrating now is that, between this deal and Howard's newfound workout regiment, it's looking like not signing him to a longterm deal *last year* was a big mistake.

Of course, he may have been asking for more than $10M in a longterm package, so it's hard to tell.

Based on the reports about Howards demand, combined with this decision, and I think it's close to a lock we won't be seeing the big fella in 2011.

This isn't really a disaster from an economic standpoint (Howard likely won't be worth 17-20M in his age 32, 33, 34 seasons) but as a pure fan, it sucks.

George: A perfect analysis.

I'm surprised everyone is piling on UD Hens. I didn't think he said anything that was terribly provocative. True, the Phillies have no obligation to pay Howard what he could command on the FA market; in fact, they would be foolish to do so. However, even taking into consideration Howard's limited service time, the Phillies still came in with an offer that was totally unreasonable in today's market; hence, they richly deserved to lose. That's what I understood UD to be saying, and that's a correct observation.

If any one of you hit 130 homers in your fist 2 1/2 years you would be doing the exact same thing. Screw the Phillies front office. Pay the guy.

BAP: 7 million was the highest offer ever for a player with his service time. Why is that totally unreasonable?

"Howard did exactly what the rest of us would do -- seek the pay he thought he was worth."

Really a side issue, but I take exception to the fact that it is just assumed "we" would all take the money over things like security, stability for your family, etc.

I know plenty of people who forgo jobs in the business world in favor of working in no-for-profits or academia precisely because they consider things other than money in negotiating work contracts.

Tony D: Good point. We all would do the same thing. Unfortunately, we are all Phillies fans and not Ryan Howard or his agent, so this is bad for us. People's hatred of this ownership is blinding them to the reality of how this helps the team we all root for win. Namely, it doesn't.

kdon: That's a good point. Plenty of people, myself included, work in sectors where we make less money than we probably otherwise could because we like where we are and what we are doing.

In terms of baseball, everyone's favorite comparable Albert Pujols took a 7 year 100 mill deal to stay in St. Louis when he undoubtedly could have made much more going through Arb and hitting free agency.

BAP:

Yep, nothing controversial there. 7 mil based based upon a four year old deal, is not very relevant today, as the arbitrators decided. Didn't Cabrera get 7.4 mil just last year? And Howard's worth more than Cabrera, right?

Besides, anyway you look at it, the Phils are still getting a below market price for Howard's services.

It's ironic that, because of their cheapness, the Phillies actually wind up paying a couple million more than they needed to pay. If the Phillies had offered another $1M, they would almost certainly have won. Instead, they tried to peg Howard's case to a case that happened 4 years ago, when salaries were about 25% lower. That's just idiocy. So much for Ruben Amaro's Stanford business degree and Monty's Ivy League MBA.

In it for the money? Come on now. I'm sure some of you guys work for free? Or, give "hometown discounts" to your employers! In my next review I'm only going to ask for a 5% raise, because after all I have only been working for 5 years, and, my corporation needs the extra money to invest in the company. Give me a break.

You really think the Phils would have spent the 3 million they would have saved on another pitcher? We just signed Kris Benson!!!!

i'm going to go out on a limb here and i suspect many of you will feel free to disagree with me, but here's my point...

as baseball has gotten progressively more profitable, there has been an increasing dearth of free agent talent. why? because teams recognize that the only cost-effective means of competition (even the Yankees are getting this point now) is to lock up your own talent with contracts. free agency has gotten so ridiculously expensive, both in dollars and guaranteed years, that execs are nipping it in the bud.
just look at Santana (who for all intents and purposes can be considered a free agent because in order to trade for him, you had to negotiate a new contract). i'll bet the house that his 6 year contract hangs like an albatross around the neck of the Mets before it's over. hopefully, it'll start to get heavy this year. but i digress.

i would have been furious with the FO had the Phils signed Santana to the same contract. to their credit, the Phillies have approached free agency reasonably. the draft is another story. but they're on the right track with regards to free agency.

Adding, ignore the Cabrera comp because I forgot about service time. But even so the Phils' comp was four years out of date, and thus not a real comp.

Cube:

I, for one, would not mind the Santana contract. It's not my money, and Santana will certainly be worth it for at least 4 years of that deal. Afterwards consider it a tax write-off.

Jack: They offered the same money that Pujols got when he had the same service time. The Pujols deal was 4 years ago. Salaries have gone up 5% per year since then. What would you say if you went to sell your house & the real estate agent based the price on 4-year old comps?

kdon - surely you jest. None of those scenarios you describe involves a young athlete who is facing the possibility of a career-ending injury each day. Had the Phillies offered him the "security" of a long term deal, he might have been interested in something other than getting paid this year. What possible incentive did he have to do otherwise?

I'll have to admit, Phillies management has done an excellent job convincing many fans that they are a "small market" team and that we should be happy that they are fielding a competitive team under their unfortunate budget constraint. They also did a great job at making all of us forget that as taxpayers we picked up one-third of the price of CBP. I am a Phillies fan and I want what is best for the team and the fans - and I think what is best for the team is to field the absolute best talent available through home grown talent and via free agency. It's not about how big of a profit these owners make from our loyalty. It's about Winning! Let's get owners in Philadelphia that value winning above revenue.

Pujols is also better than Howard. maybe not by a lot, but the difference is not a trivial one.

BAP: Where's the evidence that salaries have gone up 5% a year? I'm sure they have gone up somewhat because of normal inflation, but I'm interested in where you got that number and if it is in fact correct.

The Phillies lost in arbitration. Big deal. Tomorrow, this will be yesterday's history. Don't worry, the future will take care of itself. Howard will play himself in or out of big future paydays.

We have posters here that think this was a make or break battle for the club and that the future of Ryan Howard as a Phillie is history. I say, leave the crystal ball to Nostradamus and just enjoy the games.

As much as we may want them to, the owners don't seem to be interested in selling the team or removing their budget constraints. So, as far as I am concerned, although I am not happy about it, I accept the Phillies for what they are. I want them to buck up and bring in Lohse for what is likely a reasonable deal, but they aren't going to do it. So, from my vantage point, as a Phillies fan, this is bad news, so I am disappointed about it (though happy for Howard).

Looks like a deadline trade for a boatload of prospects.

LF - I tend to agree that the hearing became a little overhyped (like w/Zolecki's breathless updates yesterday - hearing just started! hearing just ended! Howard made a noncommittal statement!). it was significant, but like you say it's probably not a make or break result.

"kdon - surely you jest. None of those scenarios you describe involves a young athlete who is facing the possibility of a career-ending injury each day."

Curt, the injury scenario actually speaks to my point. At any time in the last year, Howard likely could have signed a deal that would guarantee him and his family 80-100M.

Howard has had the option to assure himself and his family of being in one place for 6-7 years, with more money than he could possibly spend, and has decided to risk that for an extra 50-100M.

I'm in no way saying this makes him a bad person; only that "all of us" might not make that same choice.

UD Hens: Good luck finding someone who wants to invest hundreds of millions in a business and not care about revenue and making profit.

The Yankees and Mets are able to afford their huge payrolls because they own their own cable networks, something the Phils won't be able to do because of Comcast (who should buy the team, but that's a different story...). The Red Sox have a huge geographic advantage by dominating a regional market. The White Sox, Cubs, Angels and Dodgers all play in larger markets than us.

While I agree that this ownership is not committed to a winning team the way it should be, we still did have a payroll in the top half of the league. Also last year 3 of the 8 playoff teams came from bottom 10 payrolls, and then, of course, we also made the playoffs (around here you can forget that happened). All I'm saying is that you can win without a huge payroll, and while it certainly helps, its much more important that money be spent wisely than money simply be spent.

Jack: USA Today's Sports section breaks down all the teams payrolls over the last 10 years or so (though the data for 2008 isn't out yet). In a moment of boredom last year, I actually used that data to crunch the overall numbers on baseball salaries. According to my calculations, there was a 5.5% overall increase in payroll between 2004 & 2005 & a 5.79% increase between 2005 & 2006. That's a nearly 12% increase right there. I think at that point I got tired of my project and stopped computing -- so I guess I was just extrapolating when I said there has been a 25% increase over the last 4 years. Maybe this weekend I'll go back & finish the project through 2007.

But I think we all know salaries have continued to go up over the last 2 years. It's just a matter of how much.

jack: you're lying, you wish you had more money too.

UD Hens - I think you are being a little dramatic, the payroll is over $100 Million and you point to the Royals and Pirates? C'mon, even you know better.

If I owned the Phillies, I would make damn sure that we operated at a profit as well. If you (or a reasonable person) owned the team, it would be the same situation.

Would I like the Phils to increase the payroll? Not just for the sake of doing it, but for the right player(s), yes you bet.

But for those old enough to remember what happened to the Eagles with Norman Bramen as owner, careful what you wish for. New ownership doesn't guarantee anything.

If they were that interested in sucking it up and 'going for it' through 2011, would be adding Kris Benson to the roster?

"I'm in no way saying this makes him a bad person; only that "all of us" might not make that same choice."

kdon, please don't be offended by this, but.........who cares what choice you or anyone else not name Ryan Howard would make? You're not Ryan Howard, and therefor, in the context of this discussion, what you would do is completely irrelevant.

ae: No argument that Pujols is better, & there's a slight discount for that difference. Still, his numbers over his first 3 years weren't THAT much better than Howard's & there's even a plausible argument that they were worse.

In a way, the Howard case is a metaphor for the way ownership conducts businesss. If they'd offered another million, there's no question that they would have won. But owernship is so obsessed with squeezing every dollar of profit out of the business that, rather than make an offer which would have virtually assured victory, they decided to make a low ball-offer & risk losing. The same can be said of their approach to free agency.

Alright, I went a little overboard defending ownership there. They still suck.

Sneeeeeed, I wish I had mad money, it's true. I get the feeling though that you are some sort of investment banker who just does his work for the amount of money he can make. Or maybe you're a wook who tours with the Disco Biscuits. Care to comment on what you'd like ownership to do?

Bap, do you still have your figures from 2004. Last year total salaries added up to $2,711,274,581.

According to Comcast Sportsnet last night, Howard was looking for $20 million a year and a contract in the $200 million range. After this season, those numbers will go up. If the Phillies could work something out now, the cheap label and the unwilling to do what it takes to win label could be removed. If not, we had better get ready to see Howard in a Yankees, Red Sox, and even worse Mets uniform. I really hope the Phillies step up and sign him long term NOW but am not confident they will!

http://philliesphorum.mlblogs.com

I'm in no way an apologist for management, but they would be insane to pay 10/200 for Howard.

If that really is the demand, then I think he might be traded sooner rather than later.

Remember Dave Montgomery's cryptic statement: "The Phillies ownership aren't looking to sell for the next two years"...
This is precisely the approach they'd take if they were planning to sell the team in a couple years. Suspend your philly fan cynicism for a moment and view this matter from a financial perspective. Payroll is the Phillies' greatest expense, and guarenteed long-term contracts are essentially long-term debt, in its most basic sense.

If the Phillies owners planned to sell the team in 2-3 years, wouldn't they be reluctant
to offer lucrative, long-term contracts to players under their control? They'd retain their assets at the lowest price, while avoiding risky, high-priced, long-term investments and above all else: avoid paying big signing bonuses for long term investments from which they wouldn't benefit.

Howard is one of their greatest assets, but any huge, long-term contract could potentially hold up a sale, or factor into the price of the team. So intead, they go year to year, and leave the final decision to the prospective buyers.

Sure the ownerships making a profit, but they'd take home a lot more in a sale. We don't know a lot about the 5 out of the 6 partners, but we do know they've significanly minimized expenses in all aspects of the organization. Perhaps this imposed spending limit really is tied to a lack of available funds. Isn't that how private businesses tend to operate in the real world? I know we all prefer to call the ownership cheap and greedy, but perhaps the team itself is the greatest asset of most of the partners. Their relatively tight-fisted approach could suggest a desire to cash out.

The Phillies are a young, relatively inexpensive team on the rise, with a beautiful new stadium in one of the biggest markets. If you were in their position, wouldn't you wait a couple years? Is it purely coincidental that almost all their current contracts expire within 2-3 years?
I realize this perspective sounds Oliver Stonish, but I doubt anyone here is naive enough to assume this billion dollar private company is operating without a long-term plan.

Good for Howard.

Very bad for Phils. Not bad this season, but bad for the future because Howard is going to cost way more than most originally thought.

If the Phillies owners planned to sell the team in 2-3 years, wouldn't they be reluctant to offer lucrative, long-term contracts to players under their control?

this is just not held up by facts. how do you explain the lucrative, long-term contract through 2013 that Utley signed last year?

I think the rumors (and I tend to believe them, based on management's history with current players) make it clear that the Phillies would love to secure Howard to a long-term deal, but that they want to do so at a favorable rate - and obviously, the problem is how favorable that rate is.

but that strategy is entirely, 100% reasonable, because it's what every single franchise, from Boston to NY to Chicago to Oakland, does with arbitration-eligible players. you just don't play free agent rates to non-free agent players.

George S. ~

I agree whole-heartedly. It appears that Howard is in no way going to compromise at all. As I said yesterday, with his father involved, this is Eric Lindros all over again. I have read that the Phils are try to sign Howard long-term, but I have also read that he wants more money than Utley or Pujols.

So what happens now? A L-T deal has to be now now to but out the arb years. We now know what will happen through 2011 if Howard continues to put up numbers and continues to go to arb. If the stats are there and he stays healthy, the Phils will lose evey time. And obviously based on ownership's self-imposed salary cap, they won't pay him what he wants. So the only thing left to do is trade him. If no L-T deal is reached during '08, keep him through '09 and then kiss him goodbye. To me, it doesn't seem that they have any other choice beings that Howard doesn't want a situation where both sides will be happy. He only wants a wein-win siutation for him.

So Jack you are ok with one division title in 15 years. You also have a job where you settle for a little bit of money. I was right you are a cheap date. The Phillies need fans like you.

Jack: Yeah it's a shame. The money saved would've gone toward another bullpen arm and improving the team, right Jack?

Don: Where did I say I was happy with 1 division title? Seriously, find it. The Phillies definitely need more fans like you, though, who just whine and moan about them not spending tons of money without any intelligent solutions about how to actually run a baseball team. Please see above where I outlined what I would like to see ownership and management do. You have proposed nothing and really brought nothing to this discussion.

My job is irrelevant, I only brought it up to support Kdon's assertion that plenty of people aren't solely out there to make as much money as possible. Somehow I get the feeling you wish you made way more money than you actually do.

This means the $3M they would have saved to invest in Lohse is gone. Shouldn't he be getting desperate by now?

Clout: So I guess you're glad then that the Phillies are forced to spend more money on a player already under control and whose services they have no competition for. Yeah, you really get baseball. Go back to pimping for Kuroda, who I presume is your favorite for the NL Cy Young this year?

Jack, I think your argument would be applicable a few years ago after they signed Thome, but the past three years, they have made no increase to salaries, despite the fact that league revenues are soaring and the ballpark is packed.

Of course, Gillick hasn't helped by spending the available money in very unwise fashions.

This team is still living off the players from Ed Wade (amazing but true!), and it will be on the owners and Gillick if the can't at least reach a World Series with this team.

Clout~

I think you mean the $$ saved would have gone into the owners' pockets. It didn't and doesn't appear that they would have upgraded the 'pen or re-sign Lohse anyway. They certainly won't do either now. Forget Burrell as well. I believe the Phils are very bitter about losing the case. I don't blame them though. I think they tried to sign the kid, but he and his father no dobut are being and have been very unreasonable here. He went form making 355k to 900k, then 10 million. I'd LOVE to get those kind of % increases in my salary. So when is enough enough? He may be a great, well-liked kid and have great talent, but he won't be here after 2011. Howard only cares about Howard. My opinion will change of course if he sihns long-term of course, but given the stae of things I doubt he will.

Jack I took this quote to mean you were satisfied with the teams progress. "Also last year 3 of the 8 playoff teams came from bottom 10 payrolls, and then, of course, we also made the playoffs (around here you can forget that happened)". Your job probably is irrelevant(literally)but you brought it up. And your damn right I wish I made more money, I am human. I also wish my baseball team would win more games. Like I said your a cheap date.

You're banking on a lot of "ifs" there, Patrone. So I will give you one more. What if Howard produces stats similar to Cecil Fielder? Damn right you kiss him goodbye. That kind of production might work as a DH... in the 1990s. Now, if he trends toward Willie Stargell numbers, damn right you pay him 10 years 200 cheesesteaks. You're locking up potential MVP seasons and a potential HOFer.

In 1968, Stargell had a down year, batting .238, 67 RBI, OPS+ of 128, which was way below his potential. He followed up with seven consistent years of excellent production (usually at the Phillies expense at the Vet, too.)

Howard is going to have 2008 and 2009 to prove his value. You don't need to use the word "if" to determine his value if he's on pace for another 185 K season.

Jack: Oh my goodness, another sensitive soul. Sorry I offended you. Unlike you, I don't root for an ownership that doesn't have my interests at heart.

Like the poster above said, this ownership needs fans like you to make excuses for why there's only one playoff appearance every 14 years.

Here's the bottom line on this decision: It is the way baseball works. The owners save money on players when they're young and then have to spend when they reach arb eligibility. If the player doesn't like the offer, he can take it to arb. It's a gamble. In this case, the player beat the odds and won.

I have no problem with the Phillies offer. I have no problem with Howard rejecting it. That's the system.

If this organization trades Howard in 2 years to the Yankees for C.J. Henry (which will be hailed on this board as a great trade by most posters just as the Abreu deal was) then that's on the Phillies, not Ryan Howard.

Clout, I think you mean "when."

kdon:

Total major league payroll in 2004 was $2,071,265,943. Total payroll in 2005 was $2,191,886,898. In 2006, $2,326,706,685.

Using your figure of $2,711,274,581, total payroll has gone up by nearly 31% since 2004. So, if Pujols got $7M in 2004, he would be worth $9.17M today. That makes Howard worth maybe $8.75M. Even so, I still think an $8M offer would have prevailed, given Howard's overly-optimistic demand.

kdon: No truer statement has ever been posted:
"This team is still living off the players from Ed Wade (amazing but true!), and it will be on the owners and Gillick if the can't at least reach a World Series with this team."

Please Clout, you couldn't possibly offend me. This is an internet message board.

And that's a joke if you think I root for an ownership group that doesn't care about me. I root for the Philadelphia Phillies, and I root for whatever it is that is best for the team to establish a winning franchise. Losing arbitration hearings like this does not do that. No one has made a claim otherwise. It's as simple as that. Sometimes I think people on here enjoy us losing because it justifies their hatred of ownership and management. I'm also on record as saying this ownership has generally been bad for the franchise, and I laid out before what I would like to see done. Neither Clout nor Don has proposed anything like that.

Clout: We agree that this is just how the business works. Unfortunately it seems clear taht the two sides will not be able to come to a long-term agreement. Some people will fully put the blame on management and ownership for it, while I would prefer to recognize that both sides are probably being unreasonable and have failed to come to an accord that works out best. It's just how business works sometimes.

The Utley deal is a bargain. They'd sign Howard to a similar deal without hesitation. Bargain long-term contracts add value to the franchise, while long-term rip-offs are an albatross and liabity. This isn't not rocket science.

Its not that some owners are magnanamous and others are greedy; some are independently wealthy and others are trying to reach that point. Some owners are billionaires with a lot of time on their hands, who are looking for something fun to do. Those owners don't have the short-term cash flow problems that plague the Phillies, and are therefore willing to sacrifice short term profits for their team's success.

Since 5/6 of the Phillies owners aren't billionaires, the money Ryan Howard deserves sounds like a lot to them. In fact, the long term contract he'll eventually sign will probably make him richer than most of the Phillies owners. Think about that for a moment...

Mike H.~

Even if he K's 185 times, he still should hit .260/45/120. What worth does he have to prove? Phils haven't had such a feared power hitter since Richie Allen (no slight to Schmitty or the Bull). I just believe that the Phils will try all they can, but to no avail. If he really wanted to stay, why not agree to a deal prior to the hearing as an act of good faith in negotiating a long-term deal. He still would have made a helluva lot of cash. And amid amicable terms between he and the club. Unless this win for him provides the basis of a starting point for a LT deal, I just don't think it'll happen.

I think the following two statements are true, and not neccesarily contradictory:

1) The Phillies have sufficient revenue to expand the payroll significantly, but chose not to do so.

2) If the demands that Howard is making (20 per, 200M) are accurate, the Phillies are absolutely correct not to pay them.

What the Phillies should be getting ripped for is being so shortsighted as to not offer 8.5M.

Why won't this ownership run this team to break even with the revenues they bring in and just build the value of the team much as a house builds equity? (They make the profit when they sell the team)

They receive $70 Million from MLB just for the TV and Merchandise alone, this is before they even sell a ticket.

My larger point is why would you purchase a baseball team for the sake of making a few million profit a year? This is from owners who sell their cigar manufacturing companies for 3 Billion.

If you owned this team and had that kind of money, wouldn't you run the team for the love or passion or competitiveness of winning a championship not for a steady revenue source out of a middling team?

I'm not asking them to run into financial ruin, I'm just asking them to run it more like a non-profit, like Cuban in Dallas.

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