Ryan Howard wins record arbitration case

February 21, 2008 4:15:24 PM PST
Ryan Howard won his salary arbitration case against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday when he was award $10 million, the highest figure awarded a victorious player.

The 2006 NL MVP, who had been offered $7 million by the Phillies, became the first player to win in six arbitration cases this season.

Howard tied the record for the highest salary awarded in arbitration, received by Alfonso Soriano in his losing case against the Washington Nationals in 2006. Soriano had sought $12 million.

Howard batted .268 with 47 homers and 136 RBIs last season in what was considered a down year for him. In 2006 he had 58 homers, 149 RBIs and a .313 average, one of the best seasons by a second-year player.

The 28-year-old first baseman has less than three years service time in the majors, partly because his path was blocked by Jim Thome. An injury to Thome during the 2005 season paved the way for Howard, who had 22 homers and 63 RBIs in just 88 games to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.

The case was decided by arbitrators Stephen Goldberg, Robert Bailey and Jack Clarke. The panel listened for nearly five hours as each side presented its arguments Wednesday in St. Petersburg.

Owners previously defeated pitchers Brian Fuentes of Colorado, Jose Valverde of Houston and Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees, along with Washington infielder Felipe Lopez and Astros infielder Mark Loretta.

Two players remain in arbitration: Los Angeles Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez and New York Mets pitcher Oliver Perez.

Philadelphia hadn't gone to arbitration since defeating Travis Lee in 2001 and had been 7-0 in arbitration decisions.