Odds And Ends: Jan. 20 – Phillies Nation

Odds And Ends: Jan. 20

Some odds and ends for this cold weekend:

  • The Phillies had four arbitration cases and quickly settled on two: Brad Lidge agreed to a $6.35MM season, and Ryan Madson inked a $1.4MM deal for the year.

The other two without contracts: Ryan Howard and Eric Bruntlett. Obviously the big story here is Bruntlett, who hasn’t yet agreed on the Phils’ offer of $550K while asking for $800K himself. I really think Bruntlett is worth about $600K, so I’m with the Phillies on this one.

Okay, seriously, Howard is asking for $10MM while the Phillies are offering $7MM. The largest arbitration deal ever was for Alfonso Soriano ($10M), so Howard is obviously looking for the best. Last year he matched the record for one-year deals for non-arbitration-eligible players (Pujols, $900K). This year he looks to match Soriano. Logically, if he matched his 2006 output (an MVP, 50+ HR, a .300+ AVG), he deserves to match the record. He didn’t. Close, but he didn’t. That said, Howard should get about $8MM in 2008, a little above the Phils’ conservative-as-usual deal, but much less than what the big man wants. Truth is — he needs another year to prove himself worthy of the bucks.

Kendrick said he is “not worried about” a sophomore jinx after a rookie season where he went 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA. The jinx may be due to hitters figuring out Kendrick and defenses collapsing on him. Kendrick relied heavily on his defense in 2007, which means it’s very possible the 23-year-old could go 2-5 with a 5.88 ERA before being called down to AAA Lehigh Valley. That said, Kendrick seems unflappable enough, and while he may not match the 3.87, he should stay above the Minors in 2008.

Chris Coste also took queries at the pre-Carnival stop. He said he’s glad control of his fate seems more in his grasp this year. Last year he was pushed back to the Minors after the Phils signed Rod Barajas. Coste should be Carlos Ruiz’s backup in 2008 while also grabbing some pinch hitting spots. But make no mistake, with Jason Jaramillo waiting in the wings , Coste is very much close to being the team’s 25th man.

Yes, John Kruk. The John Kruk. I’m hoping for some air time with brother-by-another-mother Carl. Kruk will fit right at home in the South Jersey-set cartoon farce.

  • Doug Glanville took pen to paper for the New York Times this week, writing an intriguing Op-Ed piece about the victim of illegal substances — purity.

He voiced how baseball needs to run into this new era full steam, scared straight, to recover the damage done. What Glanville said has been repeated numerous times by other reporters and columnists; that said, it was refreshing to see an actual player who was entrenched in the game during the Steroid Era discuss those things. And of all ballplayers, I’m glad it was Glanville — an articulate, Ivy-bred man with a strong sense of both place and history. Between this piece and his managing at the Sporting News ‘ fake 1986 league, I hope Glanville looks to be finding his way into a new career in baseball. He’d be a welcome addition to any front office or bench.

I’ll definitely be taking the voyage to D.C. over Labor Day, so join us there. I want to head to Clearwater for Spring Training, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards. Same with Denver. But don’t you be halted by my inability to party. Get on board — it’s going to be an awesome year for us.

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  1. Matt Kwasiborski

    January 21, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Howard definitely deserves the 10M. Last season, I was all in support of him getting the $900,000 instead of 1M as this was the same amount Puljos got in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Obviously Howard was the MVP in 2006 but there were (still are?) doubts of his long term durability at the time.

    Howard’s overall stats were down in 2007 but let’s remember that he was hurt the first six weeks of the season and was clearly struggling at the plate. Once he was healthy he became a dominant force again and was being walked intentionally towards the end of the season.

    It is silly to expect 58 HRs out of him every year and 47 HRs is nothing to be disappointed in. If he cuts down on his Ks and reports to camp in shape, he will be closer to the 58 HRs this season and may even surpass it. I mean, how can you allow Pat Burrell to earn more than 13M? I like Burrell and hopes he found his swing for good but he is no Ryan Howard and never came close, even in his breakout year.

    Howard deserves the 10M and also deserves to become the face of baseball in this post-steriod world.

  2. Brian Michael

    January 22, 2008 at 8:57 am

    I’m wary to make too big of a deal over the Howard numbers. An arbitration hearing is the ultimate negogiation, so I’m not surprised they two parties are “so far” apart. Like Matt said, Howard’s durability is an issue, as well as his age; but he certainly deserves more than the Phillies $7 million offer – the Phils know that. They also know he will will likely get around $9 million.

    I am more concerned about the talks for a long-term deal. I’m sure the two sides are wrangling over the length of the deal. I just hope the arbitration hearing doesn’t sour Howard on the Phils and jeopardize the club’s chance to lock him in for 6 or more years.

  3. Tim Malcolm

    January 22, 2008 at 9:40 am

    It’s the six years I’m not so sure about, though. I want to play it cautious with Howard, at least for this year. I may even think about dealing him if he has another great season.

    As much as I love the guy, and as much as he is a great player, his position and ability make him expendable. Any team would take him before age 30 as their standout player, and he could reel in a bunch of players with the right deal. Plus, power-hitting first basemen aren’t completely hard to come by. Locking up Utley (a bonafide stud at a rare position for studs) was a much more important move.

    Six years is too much for me. If they want to lock him in, do three to four years, past arbitration, and enough so he won’t be pissed. Also, just to clarify, I said Howard should get $8MM as in, that’s what I would’ve offered if I were the Phils. Obviously it’s $7MM or $10MM.

  4. OZ

    January 22, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Mr. Malcolm – are you certain Jason Jaramillo is a threat to Coste? My understanding is that he was a one-time prospect who now seems stuck in the minors. Ruiz and Coste are popular and affordable. Ruiz is young enough to allow Marson to develop at a reasonable pace. Something I’ve missed? Thank you.

  5. Tim Malcolm

    January 22, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    OZ: Jaramillo, though 25, is still considered one of the Phils better prospects. He participated in the Rookie Development Program with JA Happ and Joe Biesnius, a clue that the team is seriously considering him for a spot. As well, there’s talk they’ll heavily look at him in Clearwater to see if he’s ready for a 25-man spot. It’s Coste’s spot for now, but don’t be surprised if Jaramillo is up with the club sooner than Sept. 1. But you’re right about Marson – he’s the future as long as he performs well.

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