Today is the day we get the full list of arbitration candidates. Jayson Stark has a good arbitration primer. The Phillies expect eight: Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ryan Madson, Joe Blanton, Greg Dobbs, Chad Durbin. Stark runs down the Howard and Hamels situations in depth, and says rival general managers think the Phils should try to lock Hamels up with a longterm deal. I’ve stated my case for that, as well.
Here is the money quote:
“That team,” one AL executive said, “is about to walk through a mine field.”
Well, yes, a mine field. But the Phillies know the payroll is about to balloon to somewhere near $125 million. If they know what’s best – and I wrote this before – they would sign Hamels to a big deal and at least ink Victorino or Werth to a multiyear deal. Stark notes the Phils haven’t offered a pitcher anything beyond three years. Now is the time to drop that philosophy. Hamels is a once-in-a-lifetime talent, the next Steve Carlton. Give him six years. Do it. Do it. Do it.