One of the players who often came up in discussions about Ryan Howard's arbitration case was Miguel Cabrera, the Marlin turned Tiger who has averaged 32 home runs and 115 RBI the last 4 seasons.
Cabrera was awarded $7.4 million 2007.
Howard was awarded $10 million in 2008.
Cabrera agreed to a one-year deal this offseason for $11.3 million this offseason avoiding arbitration.
We don't know what's next for Howard.
But here's a pretty good indicator of the contract he is likely to command whenever he does sign a long term deal: Cabrera and the Tigers have reportedly agreed to an 8-year, $153.3 million deal. Thus far, ESPN Deportes is the only one reporting it, but Detroit area papers have picked it up, so I'm sure it is legit.
If the ESPN report is accurate, Cabrera will earn his $11.3 million this season, then will get salaries averaging $19 million a year until the contract expires after the 2016 season.
True, Cabrera plays a premium defensive position at third base. Howard, meanwhile, is at first. Nevertheless, I think its safe to say that Howard will be a $20 million a year man once a long-term deal comes to pass.
He isn't a free agent until after the 2011 season, so the Phillies could conceivably keep playing the arbitration game. But at some point, they are going to have to decide whether they are going to be willing to make Howard one of the game's highest paid position players. If he hits 60 home runs and bats .300 this year, his value will only go up.