Defying the odds and historical precedent, Ryan Howard was awarded his arbitration claim $10 million this morning. The victory for Howard surpasses the previously held record (Andruw Jones, $8.2 million) for most money won through a player’s claim.
In a way, I have a feeling that this might just be a short-term victory for Howard. There is no denying that his recent numbers warrant $10 million per year. However, the one knock with Howard has always been the age at which he broke into the big leagues. That is to say, sure he is worth $10 million now; but from the Phillies perspective, this could provide an opportunity to front-load a contract or even knock off a year or two that they might otherwise could have afforded. Moreover, the Phils and Howard still could simply play the arbitration game for another couple of off-seasons, then let Howard become a free agent. So while the arbitrator’s decision today answers one major question, it also unveiled many more still pending.