Last year, in his final year prior to arbitration eligibility, Ryan Howard was renewed for $900K. This was about twice what the Phillies were required to pay Howard, but significantly less than the reigning MVP thought he deserved. Of course, this year that number has been used as a measuring stick by several young stars that have yet to reach arbitration and are subject to automatic renewals from their clubs. It seems that this year, more than years past, players are voicing their displeasure about the automatic renewals. Prince Fielder is displeased at being renewed for $670K, or about 50% more than what the Brewers were required to pay. Jonathan Papelbon has stated that he wants the same $900K that the Phillies gave Howard, and said he would not agree to anything less. Cole Hamels called the $500K that the Phillies gave him a "low blow" compared to the $750K he was asking for. At the other end of the spectrum is B.J. Upton, who was automatically renewed at $10K less than what he made in 2007, despite hitting .300-24-82 with 22 steals last year. Upton made it clear that it was a "non-issue" and it will not impact future negotiations. The stances made by these players has many fans up in arms on both sides of the issue. Lets take a look at what is being written in the blogospere.
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- Red Sox News understands why Papelbon is frustrated but notes there is no real incentive for the Red Sox to give him a long-term deal at this point noting that Papelbon is only one year removed from a season-ending shoulder ailment.
- Sox and Pinstripes urges the Red Sox to follow the lead of the Rockies and sign Papelbon to a long-term contract.
- Matt Watson of AOL Fanhouse notes that Papelbon may actually be costing himself money down the road if the Red Sox, one of the richest teams in baseball, decide not to give him a long-term deal and let him bolt when he becomes a free agent.
- Beer Leaguer is irked by the recent comments of Hamels, but is not surprised as this seems to be par for the course with the young pitcher. They wonder if being a member of the Phillies is important to Hamels.
- The 700 Level notes in the case of Hamels that it is easy for the fans to side with the players in these situations when it is not their money and they are worried about losing talent down the road, but feels this is the status quo in baseball.
- Bugs & Cranks feels the extra $250K for Hamels would have been a small price to pay just to keep this story out of the papers.
- Brewers Bar is worried that Fielder is just the latest puppet for Scott Boras but also thinks the Brewers could have avoided future headaches by giving Fielder the same deal ($900K) that Howard received last year.
- The Brewer Nation wonders if Fielder should really be upset over being renewed automoatically.
- Baseball Musings warns the Brewers that upsetting Fielder could end up the same way Barry Bonds did in Pittsburgh.
- Swing And A Miss feels that this increase in recent bitterness towards automatic renewals is less about money and more about players feeling they deserve "respect."