Saturday, January 17, 2009
Many believe Ryan Howard is going to ask for $15-17M in arbitration. The Phils likely won't oblige, and a bloody battle will ensue once again. I've given up all hope of signing him longterm, nor do I want to. We control him through 2011, after which he'll be 32 years old. With his body type, horrific defense, and consistently lowering OPS ('06- 1.084, '07- .976, '08- .882), he won't be worth the A-Rod contract he and his family are so desperately seeking. He's a tremendous talent and the best pure slugger in the game today, but his talent lies solely within his prodigious power.
Mr. Cool, aka Cole Hamels, is set for a hefty raise, probably in the neighborhood of $5M. He's become the ace of the staff, is only 24 years old, pitched like John Smoltz in the postseason, and is still likely to improve. Unlike Howard, I hold out hope that Hamels can be secured with a longterm deal, but even if not he's still under team control through 2012.
With the arbitration of Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard lurking, the Phils received a slight reprieve when Greg Dobbs avoided arbitration and signed a 2 year $2.5M contract. Dobbs will continue seeing time at 3rd base, outfield, pinch-hitter, and his most important job- team sideburn consultant.
Amaro attempted to bypass the gruesome arbitration process with setup man Ryan Madson as well, offering the lanky righty a 3 year $12M deal. Not surprisingly MadDog swatted that offer away like an annoying bee buzzing at your beer in the summertime. His agent, human leech Scot Boras, compares Madson to Mariano Rivera and wants closer's money for him once he hits free agency. Thanks for everything Ryan, have a great '09, but good-bye following the season.
The skirmish for the 5th spot in the rotation is setting up to be a good one. Ryan Madson's lefthanded body-double, JA Happ, is determined to prevail, "The goal is to be a starting pitcher. That's what I'm accustomed to, and that's 100 percent what I'm shooting for. This is what I do and what I love to do, and I'm going to give everything I can to win that spot. That fifth starter's spot is something I've been looking at since the last day of the season, so I'm looking forward to it." Meanwhile, recently signed ninja Chan Ho Park is forgoing pitching for Korea in the WBC, so he can concentrate his full effort on being the Phils final starting pitcher. "I'm very sorry to my fans and the people who wanted me to play in the [Classic]," said Park, who was speaking at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, and briefly left the podium after breaking into tears. "I won't be playing for the national team any more. "As I'm going to the Phillies, I will do my best there to achieve my goal of becoming a starter." Super phenom Carlos Carrasco and leftover Kyle Kendrick will be added to the mix in what should shape up to be the biggest story of spring training aside from Chase Utley's health and Jamie Moyer's new pitch- the softball lob.