An arbitration hearing can be a nasty affair: players are forced to make the case that their employers are stingy tightwads, while teams need to go on the record downplaying a player's accomplishments and reinforcing his shortcomings.
Needless to say, it's a relief for all parties involved when they can avoid the whole mess, especially with players considered part of the long-term solution. The Phillies pulled it off with Cole Hamels a few days ago, and they did it once again today with Ryan Madson.
Like Hamels, Madson agreed to a three-year extension. Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it's not yet official -- Madson still needs to pass a physical exam -- but it's believed to be worth $12 million with incentives.
With the exception of a disastrous 2006 (half of which he spent in the rotation), Madson has been one of the better relievers in the game for most of his career, so locking him up through 2011 (when he'll be just 30 years old) is a smart move. With Brad Lidge signed through 2011 (with a team option for 2012), the Phillies should have a good deal of stability in the bullpen for years to come.
Even with Madson accounted for, the Phillies still have a handful of players currently slated for arbitration, including Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Chad Durbin and Joe Blanton. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Howard, who won his arbitration case last year by asking for $10 million, tying Alfonso Soriano for the most ever awarded to a player through arbitration. After finishing as the runner-up for the NL MVP, he'll set a new record this time around -- assuming, of course, he doesn't come to terms on a contract before then.
Ryan Madson Avoids Arbitration With 3-Year Extension originally appeared on MLB Main on Mon, 19 Jan 2009 18:25:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.