Arbitration Updates: Blanton, Victorino, Ruiz

BY CHRIS DiFRANCESCO, Columnist

Shane Victorino in the 2008 NLCS. Photo: Reuters.

PHILADELPHIA– Each year, the Phillies are faced with arbitration eligible players. As it stands, the Phils have yet to come to terms with three players, but have offered all three contracts and will continue negotiations in hopes of avoiding arbitration, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the process, let’s review how arbitration works. The Phillies pick a number and then the player picks a number. If the two sides can’t agree on a salary, it will go to an arbitrator, who must pick either the player’s number or the team’s. There is no in between.

The goal of the process is to make sure that the player doesn’t overvalue himself and that the team doesn’t undervalue the player in hopes that a middle number would be more favorable to the respective party. The number you pick has to be realistic if you want any chance of getting your asking price.

In the past, the Phillies have gone to all measures possible to avoid salary arbitration, since it can be somewhat of a dirty process, where the player sits across the room from his team’s front office and listens to all the reasons why he isn’t worth paying the extra dime. They have gone to arbitration however, most notably with Ryan Howard just a few years back, where Howard won the arbitration.

This year, the three Phillies who are arbitration eligible are:

Starter Joe Blanton has been offered $7.5 million from the Phillies where he has asked for $10.25. Blanton, who made close to $5.5 million last season is asking for a pretty hefty raise considering he’s a fourth starter trying to make 10 million. It’s obvious the gap is large between the two parties. I’m sure the husky righty will lower the number after a little bit of negotiating and more common sense from the Blanton party.

Gold Glove centerfielder Shane Victorino was offered $4.75 million while the ‘Flyin Hawaiian’ asked for $5.8 . Fortunately for the Phillies, Victorino has common sense and didn’t demand almost 3 million more than was offered. Victorino should get what he asked for. If it was up to me, I’d give him the 10 million that Blanton asked for.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has become somewhat of a cult hero in this town for his clutch performances, was offered $1.7 million and Ruiz is asking for $2.5 million. Chooch, like Victorino, should be able to get that number. He earned it, as did the star centerfielder.

Hearings are set to begin Feb. 1st, if a contract cannot be agreed upon before that date.

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