Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer talked to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said the team is still involved in contract negotiations with Ryan Howard's agent Casey Close.
This is Howard's second arbitration year; he's requested $18MM while the Phils countered at $14MM. A panel of three people will decide whether Howard earns $18MM or $14MM in 2009, unless the two sides reach an agreement prior to the hearing. Salisbury believes the hearing is scheduled in the February 9-13 range.
ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote last week that the previous request record for a second-year arb player was Derek Jeter's $10.5MM in 2000. Howard is in uncharted waters once again.