Howard Hands Phils First Arbitration Loss

The verdict came back quickly in Ryan Howard's arbitration case and the news was good for Howard, who will make $10 in 2008. The win was the first this winter for the players, who had lost the first five arbitration cases.

Ryan Howard now holds another distinction; the highest arbitration award ever won by a player. There is an asterisk to that though, since Alfonso Soriano got $10 million from the Washington Nationals in 2006, but that was after he lost in arbitration. Soriano had asked for $12 million.

Howard declined to talk about the case before the Phillies morning practice and hasn't yet commented on the case.

The two sides negotiated right up to the time of the hearing and are reportedly drawing closer to a potential long-term deal, but still have some work to do until they have an outline for a deal. The Phillies had hoped to avoid arbitration, but wound up there for the first time since their 2001 case with Travis Lee. The arbitration loss was the first ever for the Phillies, who had a seven case winning streak going.

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