Management won 6 of 8 cases, but players still got healthy bump in pay

Updated: February 23, 2008, 3:03 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The 110 players in salary arbitration averaged a 120 percent increase in salary, according to a study by The Associated Press, with Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips and the New York Yankees' Robinson Cano receiving the largest percentage raises.

Phillips' salary went up 1,556 percent, from $407,500 to an average of $6.75 million under his $27 million, four-year contract.

Cano's rose 1,428 percent, from $490,800 to an average of $7.5 million in his $30 million, four-year deal.

Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard, who defeated the Phillies in a case that went to a hearing, was third at 1,011 percent. He was awarded an increase from $900,000 to $10 million.

Management won six of eight cases decided by arbitrators, the 12th consecutive winning year for teams. In all, teams hold a 279-205 advantage since arbitration began in 1974, but players generally receive large raises.

The average increase, from $1.38 million to $3.04 million, was up from 106 percent last year and the highest since a 123 percent rise in 2005. The average rose from $3.01 million last year but was below the record $3.26 million set in 2004.

Just two players in arbitration got lower salaries. Infielder Marco Scutaro earned $1,575,000 last year with Oakland and will average $1,325,000 under a two-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, who acquired him from the Athletics in a November trade.

Mark Loretta, a former All-Star infielder, lost his arbitration case against Houston and will make $2.75 million. He made $3.5 million last year with the Astros, including $1 million in bonuses based on plate appearances. After the season, he became a free agent, accepted Houston's offer of arbitration and asked for $4.9 million.

Also losing were Los Angeles Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez ($10 million); Colorado Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes ($5.05 million); Washington Nationals infielder Felipe Lopez ($4.9 million); Astros closer Jose Valverde ($4.7 million) and Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang ($4 million).

Other than Howard, the only player to win was New York Mets pitcher Oliver Perez ($6.5 million). Howard and Rodriguez tied Alfonso Soriano, who lost his case against Washington two years ago, for the highest salary awarded following a hearing.

Sixteen players received multiyear contracts, two more than last year and the most since 17 in 2002.

Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau received the most guaranteed money. The 2006 AL MVP agreed to an $80 million, six-year contract with the Twins, who traded Johan Santana to the Mets and lost free agent Torii Hunter to the Los Angeles Angels.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press