Heading into arbitration, Ryan Howard seeks $18 million from the Phillies, who want to pay him $4 million less for the 2009 season.
Howard, whose request is the third-richest in arbitration history after Roger Clemens ($22 million) in 2005 and Derek Jeter ($18.5 million) in '01, obviously comes out wealthier no matter which way his hearing goes.
Both parties should, however, avoid the actual arbitration hearing, where the team's attorney says all kinds of nasty things about the player in order to deflate his value, causing a star's ego to absorb hurtful and unnecessary shots.
Players fight back, of course, and Howard probably would as well. Below are 10 possible reasons the World Series champs don't have much real leverage with the onetime NL Rookie of the Year and MVP, and should just cut him a check now:
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Ten reasons the Phillies should just pay Ryan Howard $18 million
10. It's not like money has been a problem ever since GM Ruben Amaro correctly guessed the pin number of team chairman Bill Giles.
9. Phils management must avoid a sure-to-be-ugly trial of public opinion, where Howard's agent Casey Close will surely make good on his threat to publish compromising photos of Charlie Manuel and the Phanatic.
8. John Kruk's promise to un-retire and challenge Howard for his job in spring training seems far-fetched.
7. Yeah, $18 million would be nearly twice what Eagles QB Donovan McNabb is slated to make this year, but at least Howard knows there will be extra innings if the score is tied after nine.
6. If everyone just pretends Adam Eaton got sucked out of the team plane, it's like Howard only costs $9.5 million.
5. The Phillies offer seems generous but in today's weak economy, $14 million just doesn't go as far as it used to.
4. The organization's top prospect at first base is little Jordan Michaels of Palm Beach County, Fla. He plays for the Okeeheelee Youth Baseball T-ball champions and won't be major-league ready until at least 2024.
3. For heaven's sake, just do it for Jamie Moyer while there's still time.
2. Howard's Subway commercial endorsement deal is lucrative enough — free footlongs are nice — but being legally bound to chauffeur Jared to the movies three times a week really cuts into BP time.
1. Because he's a world [bleeping] champion, that's why.*
*Submitted by Chase Utley