The Big Ry Money Grab pt. 1: $3 Million ways to say I love you…

It’s cold.

Plain and simple, simple and plain.

It’s about twenty right now and has been hovering around that all day here in still sunny Philadelphia. Dude, it’s going to be cold all week. It’s a wool sock week. A soup week. A whiskey week.

It’s winter apparently.

Which means that we are that much closer to baseball! Opening Day is in a shade under three months and then the Chase Utley MVP Campaign begins, the Cole Hamels Cy Young pursuit gets kicking, and Ryan Howard tries to break both 200 strikeouts and 60 homers, all while avoiding anymore Subway commercials with Jared.

But right now, the question down Broad Street doesn’t involve the cold at all. It involves Howard and how much Big Ry is going to make in 2008. Last year, one year after his MVP year, Big Ry made about $500,000. Now he’s asking for a bump. Just a little one.

$10 million.

Sure it’s a stretch. $10 million in an arbitration case is rare and hasn’t happened since Alfonso Soriano got $10 million from the Nats (the goddamn Nationals!) a few years back.

The Phillies countered with $7 million.

Now the story is the $3 million dollar gap that exists and whether or not it will be resolved before Big Ry heads to Arbitration next month. $7 million isn’t that bad and when you look at Big Ry’s numbers, they do seem to run pretty even between good and bad. Plus, he’s eventually going to price himself out of Phillies’ pinstrips anyway, so you’re really just throwing down some loot for a year or two rental. $7 million for that?

Sure.

But wait.

While $7 million, even in through the bloated, disillusionment that we watch and observe player’s salaries, seems pretty reasonable, consider the fact that Adam Eaton will be making about $7.5 million to start ten games at best, losing at least six of them and looking more and more like a sleazy church organist with every game.

The Force That is Chase makes a little under $5, JRooooooooooll a little over $6, and Pat Burrell just a smidge over…$13.

Million.

What???

Nevermind. That isn’t important.

What is important is that the Phillies obviously have no interest in keeping Big Ry around much longer that a year or two more, when they will most likely end up trading him for some prospects. If they did hope – and even plan to keep him around, they would have at least topped the $7.3 million they’re paying Geoff Jenkins, a decent enough corner outfielder who signed with the Phils a month ago. But by throwing only $7, they are saying quite simply, let’s be honest, this doesn’t have much of a future. But for appearances sake, let’s keep it together for a little while longer. It’s political theater, something to cater to the masses. The Phils are lighting the P.R. fires now, getting themselves ready to save face when the break-up finally comes.

Can’t you smell the smoke?

You can even hear the Eagles drunkenly laughing as they roast smores over the open flames being stoked feverishly by Pat Gillick and the Fanatic.

So we’ll see how The Big Ry Money Grab shakes down. Either way, he’ll be there Opening Day, looking like a brick-laying ninja poppin’ a squat in the forest. He’ll move his bat around like a samurai and play the field like a hot dog vendor.

Savor it.

It’s not going to last long. Not nearly as long as Adam Eaton.

Not even close, baby.

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