Free agent centerfielder Aaron Rowand declined salary arbitration with the Phillies.
The decision was expected.

Rowand would have been considered a signed player with the Phillies for 2008 had he accepted.

But even though Rowand declined, the Phillies can continue to negotiate with him. Rowand is seeking at least a five-year contract, while the Phillies are more comfortable with a three-year deal. Both sides said this week at the winter meetings in Nashville that a deal between the Phillies and Rowand is a "long shot."

If Rowand signs with another team -- which seems likely -- the Phillies will receive two top draft picks as compensation.

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com. Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/zozone.