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Saturday, February 07, 2009


The first domino in the admission of Pete Rose into the HOF.

If Rodriguez eclipses 700 HRs, which he might, it will be hard to deny him admission. If he goes in, then it's Clemens, then Bonds and a slippery slope. Eventually maybe even Eddie Ciccote will get in.

I actually felt very sad when first hearing this information this know that the MLB still isn't even close to shedding their dark image is almost horrifying.....

A very sad day for baseball indeed

I just feel cheated. I am not a particular fan of A-Rod, but the steroid scandal is so widespread that it sours the entire era of baseball that I grew up with.

The sad truth is, we don't even know the half of it when it comes to baseball and steroids/PEDs. Reports said more than 5% tested positive for steroids in the random testing that caught ARod in 2003 (which is why MLB finally decided to instant the penalties and mandatory testing). And HGH can't even really be detected in current tests...
So sad, really.

What about the part of the story that SI reports that mentions Gene Orza, then general counsel for the players' union, was in the habit of tipping off players in 2004 as the the whens and wheres of testing...?

That would seem to have a far greater impact on baseball as a whole and how much credence can be given to the player's union in light of this information (if found to be true).

This was pretty obvious before this announcement.

Everyone can keep saying that this was obvious, but no one can doubt that this is one of the most shocking/disappointing days in baseball history.....

The 71-91, last-place 2003 Rangers will have an asterisk next to it forever.

I'm not disappointed at all.

From previous thread:

MG: What's wrong with doing lines of blow off two hookers' stomachs?

Three, sure, it's over the top.

Andy: If you saw or read "Eight Men Out" you'd know Eddie was a decent guy. And Shoeless Joe was so stupid he didn't understand what was going on. Chick Gandil was a different story.

(Admission: Kid Gleason and I were buds.)

klaus: Re: your comment on hypocrisy and Michael Phelps. Hypocrisy and materialism are core values. Did you watch "The Sopranos"?

"Gene Orza, then general counsel for the players' union, was in the habit of tipping off players in 2004 as the the whens and wheres of testing...?"

This seems hard to believe since how much time was given that there would be a test? I am sure it takes months to get rid of the drug from your system

clout - Decent guy and a great pitcher. My understanding is that Ciccote was substance abuser - not in his body though - all over the ball. One of those guys for whom the homeplate ump needed to keep a towel.

Andy: Good point. I saw Eddie pitch in 1912 and at age 28 he was clearly winding down. Lo and behold, the next season his ERA went from 3.50 to 1.58. Ring Lardner was suspicious but he never worte it.

Clout 1912? you would have to be over 100 now

To me, this is very predictable. Not A-Rod in particular, but that there are a whole bunch of players who dabbled in PEDs (and many did for an extended period of time).

Who are the other 103 players on that list? When the names start leaking out and names of players who may not be as talented as A-Rod (who is, really?) but more popular, this issue will near its end in the media.

This just confirms what everyone already knows. The mystery is over. MLB players (and many other athletes) use and have used PEDs.


Reality is that it is pretty clear that the massive inflation of baseball numbers in the mid-to-late 1990s/early 2000s were due in part to performance enhancing drugs.

What I wonder (and you won't be ever be able to prove) is that Selig and the owners had much more direct knowledge that their top stars were doping. I would have to think so but that they could have cared less as the offensive numbers (especially HRs) helped to revive baseball after the '94 strike.

Hell, the reason that Selig is making $18M this year as commissioner is because MLB revenues have soared over the past dozen years to a record $6.5B last year (likely higher too because of the way teams can wash around various sources or revenue).

What is going to be interesting is if the labor peace is going to remain as players slice of the pie has been supposedly stuck at 41% the past 2 years and this is slightly lower than a few years ago. If MLB revenue increases again this year while the players % of revenue falls slightly again (39% or 40%), then I bet you are going to have some serious labor rumblings again in the next 6 months and rightly so.

BTY, NFL players make a larger slice of the revenue pie then MLB players.

This from Stark's column yesterday:

The correct answer: It's the Phillies -- whose payroll has exploded from $98 million to something in the neighborhood of $130 million. And that $30-million hike could close in on $35 million if Ryan Howard wins his arbitration case.

"We're very, very fortunate we won the World Series," said GM Ruben Amaro Jr., "because we got to stay afloat. We got a reprieve -- for one year, at least."

I would be willing to bet that if this team doesn't make the playoffs again this year, the payroll is going to see a notable decline next offseason. I would be surprised if it drops to $110-$115M range. Phils won't have the additional multi-millions in playoff revenues nor will they be able increase most ticket prices by 15-20% again either.

Normally that would be difficult enough but with the Ibanez and Moyer signings the Phils are going to have $18M already (likely $20M if Moyer reaches incentives) locked up.

Granted Eaton, Jenkins, and Feliz are coming off the books (just about $21M) at a slightly greater amount but their option buyouts are still going to cost the Phils nearly $3M. Myers also comes off the books at $12M but it is very likely the Phils are going to have at least 2 (if not 3 spots) in the starting rotation to fill next offseason.

I guess the point I am trying to make it that it is pretty clear the Phils increased their payroll this season and retained their team because they think they legitimately have another shot to win this thing.

However, if this team doesn't make the playoffs again and misses out on the additional playoff revenues, things are going to come to a head as this team likely has to reduce payroll next year in a meaningful way.

It will mean two things - there are likely going to be several spots open on the 2010 for rookies and Value Village types and that things likely come to a head with Howard (especially if he wins his arbitration and his salary if $18M this season).

While the Phils may control Howard for 2010 and 2011, they may be forced to move him next offseason if he demands $20M+ again in an arbitration type deal.

So basically, if the Phils don't make the playoffs again this year I think you will be a vastly different team in 2010 with at least a couple of rookies and the real likelihood that Howard gets moved next offseason.

MG: Does that mean Joe Grahe will be back in the starting rotation?

If Meyers has a great season in wins and era - I believe they will resign him rather than losing him

Clout - Not likely. It does mean though that the Phils are likely going to need their farm system to produce 2 starters for the 2010 season.

Just another reason why it makes sense for the Phils to go with Happ in the rotation to start the season if he pitches adequately. Even if Happ only wins 8-9 games and gives the Phils an ERA around 4.50 or 4.60, he would likely demonstrate that he would be a capable back-end rotation guy for the following year (and more importantly deliver those results at true bargain value).

J. Weitzel: The 71-91, last-place 2003 Rangers will have an asterisk next to it forever.

That right there is what makes BL the blog among blogs for Phillies baseball. Simply awesome.

One thing the ESPN article noted is that its a 'shame' because for players like Arod and Barry Bonds, they were destined to be two of the best players of their generation, regardless of PEDs.

Completely agree. No, it doesnt look like they'd be breaking Hank Aaron's HR record, but their first years in the league, they had already shown the ability to become HoF'ers.

Its a shame for them and the fans. Hearing my dad and his friends speak of memories of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, i think that could be us in our older years, about Bonds' 73rd, ARod's monster seasons, McGwire and Sosa's HR Race, etc....but now not without mention of asteriks and excuses.

I wonder if Rodriguez is pointed his hands at god there or an advertisement for sports medicine

Some comments from today:
1. ARod tested positive. Well, color me stunned.
2. Is there now even a shred of doubt that Donald Fehr would qualify as Top Douche Bag in sports over the last generation? Seriously, break out the Summer's Eve. Blame for 1994, blame him for players being rightfully petrified about submitting to these anonymous tests in 2003, blame him for not standing up for guys like J.C. Romero (I don't condone any of the drug use, by the way.) All of this nonsense has happened under his watch. Clown, Douche Bag, PoS, All of the above, take your pick.
3. I heard Peter Gammons on one of the NYC talk radio stations on Friday. He was being asked about Bonds and whether he should go in the Hall. In typical Gammons fashion he waffled on it, saying he would have to wait and see how this whole steroid thing shook out with this generation of players. Even for somebody who strikes me as being a pro-player kind of guy, his comment really struck me as odd. Thirty six hours later, it does not. Has to make you wonder if he knew that this was coming in some form or fashion and that many around the game have known about this for some time and have been waiting for the smoking gun.

4. Now, what is going to be interesting is... who else is on that list? Um, Pujols, anyone?

5. Anybody else think I'm nuts and that Casey Close had better take a good hard look and split the difference with the Phillies or take a long term deal now? Or yesterday? No, I'm not insinuating that Howard is on roids (I seriously doubt he is) but anybody who doesn't think that a crappy economic climiate coupled with a huge drug scandal of the two top stars of the last generation isn't going to seriously hamper contracts for the rest of the players is crazy. Hell, if you can't trust Michael Phelps, who are corporations going to trust? The money's going to dry up at least a bit, people. The days of f-ed up $20M contracts are over. Or should be.

6. Finally, here's another question that really gets more preposterous by the day: When in the hell is the NFL going to get hit with this and how large is the conspiracy covering up steroid use in the NFL?

My guess is that almost every player in the NFL is on some sort of PED...despite their "vaunted" testing program.

I wonder if the other 103 players on that list get exposed.
I have 2 that I strongly suspect: Jeff Bagwell and L Gonzalez. Along with others that like Barry Zito, Eric Chavez, Richie Sexon and JD Drew, that I would'nt be a bit suprised.

I usually come here for information. I know I can rely on BLers to keep me posted on the Phils instead of searching all over the place. The many light-hearted posts of the last few days have not contained much news, but have been very entertaining. Thanks to all for the refreshing change of pace.

Bradley Cooper was just on the SNL 'come-back-from-last-commercial host picture' wearing a Phils cap


Zach: Cooper's from the area. Went to Germantown Academy and Villanova for a year. I did a play with him in college. So weird. Glad to see him repping Philly. (although there seem to be a lot more Philly fans these days)

My take on the photo, i-man, is that he's conducting a kids' chorus singing Pete Seeger folk songs about peace and justice - cause that's the kinda guy he [wants people to think he] is.

how large is the conspiracy covering up steroid use in the NFL?

Aw, c'mon. You're disillusioning me, man. I thought all those 280 lb. line-backers who run the 40 in 4.5 got that way from advanced training methods and hard work.

Ken Griffey Jr. is my homerun champ!

pblunts: Unlike Free Agents, Howard is in the driver's seat. The Phillies have no leverage other than the number they file. What are they going to do, non-tender Howard and get nothing in return? His growing salary demands act as a de facto limited no trade clause because only a few teams are going to be able to afford him over the length of his arbitration eligibility.

Andy - Most pro LBs are pretty impressive but there is no way a 280 LB is running a 4.5. Maybe a 4.9 or 5.0. You would have to have a LB who was more like 220 or 225 instead.

I expect football players to be on steroids. The nature of the game screams for performance enhancing drugs. And frankly i could care less. Football to me is about wins and losses, regardless how they are achieved. Fantasy football aside, the stats mean nothing to me beyond perhaps gauging whether a player is having a good season. Therefore whatever a guy uses to get an edge is irrelevant.

There of course is a separate story line each baseball season beyond the standings. It's namely the stats each player accumulates. We compound the season stats into career stats and then compare contemporary players against the all time greats. Thats a huge chunk of the fun of baseball.

The practice is tried in football but it just doesn't fly. The physical skill level and culture of football has evolved so far beyond what it use to be. Not to mention people don't grasp qb rating and tds scored like ERA and Homeruns. Therefore we care about the stats of baseball unlike football, and therefore steroid use isn't as significant in football.

I'm not the first person to post this conclusion, but just felt like throwing it up there.

This is the same public relations ploy Bud Selig does every year. Throw some meat out there to get the fans interst up right before Spring Training. Then say nothing and act dumb about it. Let natural events take over from there. Selig is a BUM!

MPN-First, I understand the process. Second, you missed my point. Our entire country is in economic turmoii and baseball has a drug scandal. It will have no bearing (or shouldn't) on this year's hearing for Howard. What I am saying is that these two conditions have to at some point contribute to salaries leveling off. The dollars flowing into the sport are not infinite. Look at the Yankees payroll now and what it was say, 15 years ago. If you start doing projections 15 years from now based on percentage increases, how far off can a $1 team Billion payroll be at this rate? Probably not that far. It simply can't continue this way, so what I'm saying is that if Howard thinks turning down a deal that averages say $20M for 6-7 years will still be there when he hits free agency, he might be sorely mistaken. Just ask some of the successful free agents still looking for work with a week to go before pitchers and catchers how things are working out for them this winter. Let's face it, steroids in part led to inflated stats and an inflated market. There's about to be a serious correction and it's already underway.

pblunts - Steroids aren't going to a reason why players salaries would level off. If anything this offseason, the elite players still got insane paydays and likely are to do so the next several years.

It is about the overall revenue pie ($6.5B last year) and the pct the players receive (about 41%). Now, it is possible that the annual rate of baseball revenue increases, along with the economy in general, aren't going to be nearly as strong the next few years which would likely put a damper on both the average MLB salary and the ability of high-revenue teams to offer $20M annual deals too.

Its my understanding that all mlb players knew they were going to be tested for steroids in 2003. So all the players who were doing it in 2002 had the winter to get themselves clean. Also, I wonder how all the players who had inflated stats in 2002 did in 2003.
The only Phillies player who had a significant drop in performance that year was Pat Burrell. He hada career year 146 ops+ in 2002 but only a 90 ops+ in 2003. Peaked awfully early in his career. Hmmmmm. i wonder...

You might or might not be right about steroids being a reason salaries level off. But you have to admit that there is potentially a correlation between roids inflated stats and escalating salaries the past 10 years. You can't say it's had nothing to do with it... keep in mind that McWire, Sosa, Bonds and many others were putting up unprecdented roid inflated numbers...are those not points agents brought up when negotiating salaries? It's related to your point about overall revenue... the PR from all of the homers and stats helped the money (corporate sponsors and ticket sales) flow in like we've never seen. Now it's possible just the opposite might happen and as you said, the revenue isn't going to be the same.

Unfortunately that Salisbury piece today on Manuel was something right out of a basic college journalism class. Get a few interesting personal anecdotes, gives some basic facts about his past and present, and sprinkle in some personal quotes throughout.

Pblunts - I get what you are generally saying. Steroids play a key part in the drive of some of the historical numbers/performances we saw over the past 10-15 years which helped to translate into more fan interest and ultimately increased revenues.

Still there are plenty of other reasons why revenues have radically increased in baseball the past 10 years including the creation of (a gold mine), proliferation of new stadiums, creation of cable networks owned by the teams, etc. Steroids may have paid a role but other factors likely played a much large role in the solid growth in baseball revenues.

Say what you want about Selig personally but in many ways he has been a very successful commissioner even if he has been unpopular with fans. Baseball revenues have soared under his tenure, baseball has had the longest run of labor peace since the advent of free agency, average MLB players salaries have radically increased, ballpark attendance has been at all-time the past 2 years, etc.

pblunts: Maybe Casey Close sees the decline and has determined that his client is better off making more money via arbitration now then signing a long-term deal now. Basically this would be the equivalent of front-loading a contract. If there is a market correction later than he's not as affected because he's going to arbitration against historical figures rather than against 2009 free agent figures. I understand what you are saying, I just happen to disagree with you.

Am I really the first?



Howard signs for 3 years, $54 million...that pretty much was the best case scenario ever for the Phillies...GOOD WORK RUBE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why did my post disappear?

Sources tell the Inqy that the Phillies signed Howard to 3-year deal for an average of 18 per.

Awesome deal for the Phillies and I'm stunned Howard took it. He must have thought he was gonna lose Arbitration.

Coincidentally, we're clearly done spending money this year as if you look at it money-wise, this is the same as if the Phillies had lost the arbitration. This may save money next year and the year after but short-term, it looks as if the payroll/budget is tapped.

Yes, that is a bit of a stunner. Great deal for the Phils.

Howard just signed a 3 year $54 million deal.

I'm assuming this means that we really only have $1 million left to spend on FAs.

Hell some D-lineman aren't even 280 these days.

NEPP: Depends on the terms of the deal, the average salary doesn't necessarily mean we are paying $18 million this year.

ESPN just broke the story as well. Close the book on the future arbitration hearing(s) for the big guy.

Good point...all we have right now is the AAV for the deal. I assume there's got to be some sort of signing bonus and it could be something more reasonable like $16 this year, $18 in 10, $20 in 11. That would be nice...$14, $18 and $22 would probably be better...though it would make his deal somewhat more of an albatross for that final year.

From Zolecki: "It is unclear how much Howard will make this season, or how the contract breaks down over the next three years. But when the Phillies and Howard's party exchanged numbers for a potential arbitration hearing, Howard had requested $18 million, while the Phillies had offered $14 million."
Click my name for the URL.

Honestly, can anyone doubt that Rube really is a great negotiator? He has been on fire with these arbitration signings. Other than the Ibanez and Moyer deals (made before the market was seen to crash), he's done a decent job moneywise.

Wow, I can't beleive Howard did that. I guess they thought they would of lost this year in arbitration. Average annual salary is 18 mil for this deal.

Good deal for Phillies, hopefully Howard relaxes now knowing the money is guarenteed for the next 3 years and he rakes the whole year to the tune of the 2006 season.

It will be an acceptable albatross in 2011 if he hits like the 2006 season again. I am hopeful(optimistic) that he is relaxed now that he got a 3 year contract and rakes this year. Charlie always said he just had to relax and wait for the ball to come to him to hit better. So hopefully this will relax him.

Oh, I completely agree. This deal is the best possible scenario for the Phillies. We get the rest of his peak years at a controlled cost and Ryno gets the dumptruck of money he's been whining for. Everyone wins. Of course, Ryno will start asking for an extension in 2011 but who cares as that's 2 years away...hopefully 2 years of top performance for Howard.

Awesome deal.

First impression: I am very pleased that they locked him up through his arbitration years. If you're going to pay him for the period anyway, give yourself some cost certainty and make him feel appreciated. Actually arbitrating with a player is usu. foolish; especially so when you're dealing with Howard, who I imagine has felt under-appreciated.

Color me stunned. I don't think any of us saw that coming.

Cost certainty.

I wonder if it's back loaded giving the more flexibility in 2009?

My bet is that Howard saw the handwriting on the wall and the current conditions in the marketplace. Some of the criteria that was posted in the Inquirer article did favor him but I bet he overextended himself this year in demanding $18M at the arbitration hearing. Howard (and his agent) probably realized that there was at least a 50/50 chance the Phils would win.

If Howard had lost his salary would have been $14M this year and he would have been lucky to get much more than $18M (maybe $18.5 or $19M) in another arbitration hearing this year.

So Howard basically took the guaranteed $4M this year and gave himself financial security for life with the deal. Smart move for him and the Phils.

Longer term even if the Phils reduce payroll next year in a meaningful way (which is incredibly likely if they don't make the playoffs again), I highly doubt that Howard gets moved now that he has a 3-year agreement with a certified cost. However, it is pretty much inevitable that Howard leaves the Phils too after the 3-year deal but then again that was probably a pretty likely scenario all along.

Better to lock up $54 million now than to look for a long-term contract in the middle of a depression. Here's what it was like last time ( from ):

Despite the immense popularity of baseball in the 1920s, the 16 teams that made up the major leagues then were not insulated from hard times. Attendance plummeted 40 percent from 1930 to 1933 and did not return to pre-Depression levels until after World War II, when millions of soldiers returned.

Players’ salaries fell by 25 percent on average, yet nearly every team, including the wealthy Yankees, lost money for at least a year or two in the decade.

“Economically, it was a very tough decade for baseball,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College.

I called the Howard deal 2 days ago. Bottom line, the FO got it done. Let's sign a rh bat and get this season going.

Wow, Rube surely put his mark on the team this offseason with these contracts.

If the best Aurilia can do is a minor league contract offer, I'm guessing the Phils would be able to sign him for next to nothing.

A fine deal for both parties. I'm glad the core of the WFC's is staying together for a few more years. I would love to hear that the deal is back-loaded so they could sign a few more parts to make another run at it this year.

WOW! Rube did it again! A. Jones to the Rangers. Now we've got to get the other 2 pieces no matter what. The Giants have a minor league offer out to Aurilia. We've got to top that by offering a Major-League deal and get Ohlman too.

Now back to Rube and the big fella. I'm shocked that this happened. I mean we've all read that they were talking, but little else. I will give Jr. credit. He learned from Gillick never to tip his hand. They say they're standing pat. I don't buy it. I'll eat some crow here and say great job!

When it's time to be critical everyone knows I am. But credit is due here. WOW!

I'm happy about this. Now we'll see if the big man's worth it.

Food for thought:

Howard has 177 HRs in a Phils uniform which places him just outside the Top 10. Now assuming that Howard hit an average of at least 40 HRs a year the next 3 years (probably a bit generous but reasaonble) that would put him at just around 300 HRs and behind only Mike Schmidt.

MG 40 hrs? - for the money hes making it better be in the 50 hrs per yr

Really, really good deal for both sides. I'm glad to have this arbitration issue done with for 3 years. Three years is really the perfect number, as by the time the contract ends he will be 32 and could be on the downside of his career. Reuben has proven himself to be a really talented negotiator.

LOL..."good" point fljerry.

He will average 40 a year easy unless he gets injured. Hopefully we get to see him go back to 50+ a year like 2006 now that he's relaxed. Be nice to have a non steroid freak 50+ home run hitter on our team nowadays!

timr - That is a very good counterpoint. Last 3 seasons have seen a decline across the board in Howard's offense stats. If they see a similar decline again this year, the Phils are going to be stuck with a sizable contract for the next 2 years especially if his AVG drops to the .230 range and his plate disclipline declines further with an OBP around .320. Phils will be left with a very expensive one-dimensional asset (power).

My bet though is that Howard gives the Phils somewhat better numbers (% BB, AVG, OBP) with a slight drop in the power numbers to 41 or 42 HRs.

One wonders what type of incriminating photos Rube has acquired in his tenure as Asst. GM.

He's been in Florida working on his defense, hopefully working on other things too, like hitting left handed pitching!

In baseball, 40 HRs is the new 50 HRs. Only 2 players in all of baseball (Dunn, Howard) managed to hit 40 or more HRs this year.

If Howard manages to average 40 HRs over the next 3 years and not have the further deterioration in his plate discipline that results in a further drop in % BB and thus OBP, the Phils will get their value out of this contract.

Wonder if any of the Aussie Phils will amount to anything. See that lefty starter Daniel Schmidt pitched a two hit shutout over 6.2 innings in the final game of the best of three national tournament to help Perth win the championships series tonight Aussie time. Looks like he might be a groundball pitcher who worked under Perth's pitching coach Graeme Lloyd, (13 GO, 5K's and 1 FO). Recall the Phils signed him a couple of years ago but never came over here. Looks like Aussies Harman will repeat AA and Naughton, Kennelly and Naylor all will be at Clearwater. Kennelly played all the games in right in the tourney for Perth, hit .275 in 80 at bats. The same average he hit with Lakewood in 200 at bats in 08. Might be a good utility guy who has player all the corner infield and outfield positons and caught for the Phils in the minors.

Haven't been here in a while since my job has gotten busier and the last place I want to be when I get home is in front of a computer. Nice to see that the same people are keeping rational discussions moving while the same clowns are trying to derail it at every turn. Anyway.

I said a few weeks ago that I think this was a B-B+ off-season for Rube, but with today's news I'd be willing to go solid A- on the year. I think you can deduct him some for the money he gave to Ibanez and Moyer but there were a lot of deals done before it became apparent the market was not going to repair itself. Maybe if he had waited a few weeks he could've gotten both for less. It's just as easy to say though he might've missed out on both leaving two glaring holes.

He avoided arbitration on almost everyone (I think there may be one left but don't recall off the top). Most importantly he kept the core of this team together for the next 3 years without financially crippling us in the process. Let's assume the arbitrator would've split the difference this year. If Howard has the same year this year figure another 5-6 million dollar upgrade. They probably saved a ton of money on the back end of this. In 2011 if we need a few pieces we have the money to get them because of the cash being saved in the last year of some of these deals.

Just a fantastic job by Rube this off-season in shoring up this team to have at least 2 -3 more tries at it as a group.

If Howard is working on improving his defense, you will likely see it right away this spring including:

1. His positioning on pickoff throws.
2. More importantly, his ability to pick balls up on a bounce or digout a low throw.

MG - I don't find that sort of decline likely.

My prediction 2009 for howard:

50 homers

(unless he gets injured)

i-man et al -
The LB weight and speed were just exaggeration on my part. The truth, however, is that those nearly 300 lb linemen manage to run faster than most MLB players. But it must all be diligent work and ultra-modern training, right?

I do not mind that the steroid police ignore the NFL, as long as the media do not present baseball as the cheif culprit in PEDs. Sorry, wrong poster child.

In re: Howard
Unless he's gotten a FNTC, there is always a remedy if he does not contribute over the next year (or two). There will always be some team willing to accept him in trade at the salary they have just set.

Of course, it would probably mean trying to find roster space for six Carl Henry clones.

The truth injection - the arbitrator could not split the difference in arbitration - its one or the other

In re: the roster (as per Patrone, above)
If they have the room to do it, Aurilia and Ohman would be good. It would necessitate a trade or two to open space, though. I forget if Aurilia has ever played an OF. Certainly he does not qualify as a "straight" outfielder.

Just off-the-cuff prediction which I reserve the right to change between not and opening day:

.270/.365/.572 - 48 HR

mikes77 - In re: the testing of 2003

Players knew they were going to be tested, but they also were told that it was just to evaluate how widely drugs were used. There was no punitive intention on the part of the league and it was supposed to be completely confidential. Only the investigation into manufacturers and sellers has opened the list to public perusal (and then not completely). I can see how someone like A-Rod might have assumed that he was "safe" to continue in his current practice for a year.

No one ever said he was brilliant.

Andy - Aurilia has never played OF. 1570 career games: SS (1095), 1B (185), 3B (184), 2B (106), DH (4). Played primarily 1B with the Giants.

ESPN story says 15, 19 20 for Howard.

ESPN story says 15, 19, 20 for Howard. Sorry for the possible double post.

I wonder what PECOTA predicts for Howard. Personally I think Sophist's guess is close to where he'll be at if he stays healthy.

If illuminati's prediction comes true, then Howard will likely have his 2nd MVP trophy after 09.

Sweet, we still have $3-4 million left to spend then, in theory.

That means a RH bat and/or bullpen piece are easily available.

Sign Juan Cruz for $3.5 and Aurilia for 500K guarenteed.

I'm not surprised they reached an agreement with Howard. Unlike last year, when the Phillies clearly low-balled Howard, this year both sides had very plausible cases for the arbitration hearing. When both sides face a genuine risk of losing, the cases almost always settle -- which is why very few cases actually go to arbitration.

I AM surprised they managed to reach a contract that went beyond this year. What we don't know is how the contract breaks down year to year. Is he making $18M in all 3 years (I doubt it), or is it back-loaded, as most contracts are? If it's back-loaded, it would presumably mean that the Phillies still have a few million bucks to sign a right-handed bat and/or a relief pitcher.

Amaro clearly knows what he's doing on the business side of running a team. It remains to be seen how he does in evaluating personnel.

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