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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

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For so many years being a Phillies fan was much like an exercise in self mutilation. These past two seasons, despite missing the playoffs both times have actually been quite exciting.

Never the less, as a long time Philly sports fan I can’t help but wonder if the most obvious prediction is that the very worst will come to pass. The most recent examples of course are the deals involving Rolen, Schilling and Drew. Players that either threw up their hands and said I can’t stay hear if things are going to continue like this, or chose outright before ever stepping into the box that the Phillies were a B squad in an A league and not worth their time.

The point of this post is simple: If the Phillies have really turned a corner and are planning on becoming an elite contending team, they need to tie Chase up until he gets his AARP card. If they let him go, then we can assume what will happen when Howard’s payday comes along, and we can look forward to another decade of “also ran” results.

This will be very telling I believe.

I don't believe for a second Utley will be going anywhere else anytime in the next 5 years.

The rest I could see leaving or being traded sometime in the near future. Besides Myers, I can't imagine any of these losses impacting the phillies in the long-term.

it is amazing to think about the ed wade signings and the media/fan reaction and compare it to the one year at a time approach.

some people just want something to complain about.

I agree Jason that Howard should be locked up for a deal similar to Pujols. A lot of stat guys feel Howard will suffer a steep decline once he enters his 30s because of his body type, but I just don't see it happening - he has such a natural swing and he is very athletic for someone his size. I would go one more year with arb. and then sign him to a six year deal. This way you lock up three seasons of arb and two years beyond. At the end of this hypothetical deal, he would be 33 and you would have recieved all of his most productive seasons.

As for Utley, I just can't see him staying at this level because of his slight build and aggresive size...he seemed to wear down last year and I think he might suffer a pretty serious decline post-30. I'd sign him to a 5 year deal now, hoping he would still be productive by the end.

Unfortunately, I think Jason is right about Phils possibly moving someone due to their increased salary from arbitration.

As far as I can figure, if the Phils arbitration goes expected their team payroll will be about $85 million to start the season next year. Mabye even $90+ million if Myers, Utley, and/or Geary gets a significant raise.

I think that the $90 million payroll threshold is quite significant for this team. If the payroll goes above that figure, then someone will likely be traded.

Gillick obviously won't trade Utley. Doubt he trades Geary although I am wary of a significant injury due to his overuse last season. Since this team has an extra starter currently, I am willing to bet Lieber or Myers gets moved before opening day.

Maybe the Phils get some bullpen help or another outfield bat but I am willing to bet that it basically comes down to another salary dump. Moving Lieber or Myers will shave at least $7 million from the payroll.

From the tail end of the previous post: sorry, clout, I'm not criticizing the trade of Abreu, I'm only criticizing the lack of allocation of investment. My point was that since they did not sign a top-tier free agent, they ought to put some of the leftover cash towards contract extensions for Utley and/or Howard. I have no problem with the trade itself.

Agreed 1,000% with George that Myers should *not* be considered for a similar kind of extension. He has not shown that he is to be considered a top performer in the way Utley and Howard are already all-stars.

I'll again attempt to make clear why I think the Phillies are once again dropping the ball *big-time* here. Ruben Amaro crawled out of his hole to reveal in the DN this morning, that "We're not doing something on Ryan Howard. He's not our priority."

Why don't they just bring out Bill Giles to issue another full denial that Brett Myers hit his wife, while we're at it? I think that would be slightly less embarrassing for the organization.

*Not our priority.* Think about that one, folks. The National League MVP, the man who singlehandedly provided more good national press for the Phillies since maybe Tug friggin' McGraw, the man who could singlehandedly bridge the eternal, arching gap between African-American fans and Phillies baseball. Hey - if it's the Phillies' plan to hold off, to spend money prudently in the short-term and give Howard a bigger payout when and where it's more feasible - then tell the world. Tell Howard. Open the lines of communication. Tell us the deal. In the meantime, what are we to think? What is Howard to think? Did he just change agents because he was bored, or had post-Christmas letdown? How do you think he feels hearing that he's not a priority? Where will his loyalty be down the road to an organization that shows him this kind of disrespect - even if not with the delay, then with the *language*?

I mean, my jaw dropped when I saw that quote. How can they be that clueless? The Phillies royally screwed up with Rolen and Schilling, and lost Drew primarily because they were rejected as a second-rate, bumbling organization. Jim Thome seemed at the time like a kind of redemption, but he's long gone. Utley and Howard are opportunities for real redemption. They are franchise players, special players, popular players. You want to ensure that everything is done to foster a optimal relationship so that there won't be any sniping and discontent and inclination to test the free-agent market down the road. You don't say, oh, you did good kid, here's a million bucks, come talk to us some other year when it matters more to us - and then say *publicly* that your most valuable employee is not a priority. That would burn me alive if I was Ryan Howard. It's like the Phillies calculate their own sabotage.

Good organizations, besides being able to competently evaluate talent and shrewdly plan and budget, adhere to a code of *respect* and *class*. What I read in this situation is that the Phillies still plainly do not get it. A thousand Scott Palmers can't mitigate the bald, highly visible fact that the Philadelphia Phillies are a LOUSY ORGANIZATION.

One additional point: the notion of an organization only paying someone what they are worth when it *has* to can be charitably defined as hideously cheap, in all respects of the word. It's as if there's no connection between what happens now and what happens later. Last I looked, there was no salary cap in baseball. Your priorities are your best players - *period*.

I had the same reaction to that quote RSB. Especially in such a secretive organization, why would you go on record saying that, even if that's what the organization's thinking? It's like having a Phillie win MVP last year was too fortunate... let's balance that out by baiting our star player into a conflict with the ownership.

You can "honor" Howard with as many special occasions as you want, but I don't doubt this is what he'll remember when it comes time for negotiations.

It's official, baltimore got Huff for 3 years on a 20 million dollar deal after he passed his physical.

He doesn't get much love here, but I think that would have been a good signing for Philly.

Woah ... that is one, passionate response to the Amaro quote!

CNNSI scribe Jon Hayman says the Phillies will improve by 8 wins (93) next season, and says they've done the fourth-best job improving themselves. This is about the fifth time I've read a Hayman article about the Phils I found completely absurd. The article also mistakenly calls Gio Gonzalez a reliever.

Yeah, but I didn't even mention *this* quote from Ruben "Tomorrow" Amaro, in reference to extendeing Chase Utley:

"It's something we've thought about," Amaro said. "Whether it's something that happens, we don't have any idea."

Memo to Phillies: GET an idea.

Here's one scary thought:

Ruben Amaro: GM in waiting.

I was pretty appalled by the quote myself, RSB, which actually is why I stopped by this site to see Beer Leaguer's take on it. And he kind of agrees with Amaro that Howard should not be a priority. Whether or not that is true is debatable I guess, but the point that RSB was making is that once again, the Phillies organization appears to be going out of their way to offend a star young player on the team.

I was shocked by the quote, so I'm pretty sure Mr. Howard is not taking it well either, especially considering that he's shopping for a new agent. It just doesn't make any sense for Amaro to say that the reigning NL MVP is not a priority this offseason, even if he's thinking it. Nothing good can come from that remark. Just stupid Phillies management, an oxymoron I guess.

I just wonder why Amaro even commented on Howard in the first place. No comment, no story.

i agree with everything said about the quote. exactly what was amaro trying to accomplish by saying that?

i don't, however, feel that the phillies need to be handing out $100,000,000 contract extentions like candy. it's obvious the phil's need to know their post arbitration payroll before doing any extentions or even giving ryan a raise.

if they had a clue they would either say that or just stfu.

Everyone who keeps saying "Sign Howard to a long term deal NOW!" is simply ignorant of the rules.

Howard has two choices for 2007 1) take what the Phillies offer, or 2) Don't play. The Phillies will make him a fair one year offer which over a million surely is compared to past contracts. The players all know these are the rules and this is how it is done.

In addition, why would you negotiate with Howard this year when he just had a monster year? The simple fact is he IS locked up. Just chill.

Amaro was right that Howard is not a priority. They have to get the arbitration cases out of the way and they may include long terms deals for Utley and Myers. Then try to trade a starter.

Signing Howard is not the issue, he'll eventually be signed to a long-term deal, just as Pujols & Vernon Wells have already done.

The real issue is the bumbling remarks made by the Phillies front-office, in this case, Ruben Amaro. His logic might be correct but he could use a lesson or two in public relations.

BTW, a belated Happy & Healthy New Year To All!!!

Let's look forward to good things at CBP in 2007!!

I loathe the day Amaro ever becomes the G.M. here...

Everyone who keeps saying "Sign Howard to a long term deal NOW!" is simply ignorant of the rules.

I haven't seen anyone say that.

Whose face is going to be plastered all over the downtown banners and the media guide and yearbook and schedule and season-ticket brochures? Let me give you a hint: it isn't Abraham Nunez. If the Phillies did not want to sign Howard to a long-term deal just yet, they could at least act in good faith and pay him an amount substantially above what he technically is owed according to what a second-year player usually makes - in some kind of recognition for the money he's pulling in for this baseball team *right now*, not just in 2010. A million dollars? Aaron Fultz made more than that last year. Howard's basically their gravy train, and they're giving him nowhere *near* what his value is - neither value as a player, or value as an enormous marketing commodity. Why? Because *they don't have to*. Because he's "locked in". Well, if that's the way the Phillies do business - they deserve everything they get.

I think that too many fans tend to believe that A) everything they read in the media is true and B) that teams and players actually communicate exclusively through the media. I have no doubt that if the organization wants to communicate Howard's worth to him, or if they want to share with him their plans for the future, they'll do it in person, not through a news article.

I don't know about you, but I basically assume that anything an organization says in the press, regardless of the sport, is for a reason and may not necessarily be the truth. These teams have an agenda, and letting fans in on the inner-workings of the club probably ain't on it.

True, TOK, but players don't exactly ignore the public comments team officials make, either. As nice a guy as Howard is, he'll probably never say anything about it, but it can't make him feel better about the Phillies.

Beautifully stated, RSB. When players are your major asset, why tick them off?

RSB, you are really just being shrill now. You have to look at the context of what EVERYONE else in baseball does before you rip the Phillies. Take, for instance, the Cardinals, who I think everyone here would recognize as a premier baseball organization.

In Pujols rookie year ('01), he hit .329,.403/.610 with 37 HR and 130 RBI...and the Cards responded by giving him...$600,000! In '02, he hit .314/.394/.561 with 34 HR and 127 RBI...and the Cards responded by paying him...$900,000 (which, BTW is a RECORD for a third year player according to Cot's Contracts).

I would imagine Howard's deal for next year will break Pujols record as the largest deal ever for a third year player (and Pujols had TWO full season compared with Howard's 1 1/2). That is plenty of compensation. Amazing that you rip the Phillies when they probably offer to pay Howard a record contract but don't complain when they trade an all-star RF for peanuts. Amazing.

As for Amaro's comments...Howard isn't a priority...he cannot go anywhere for at least three more years.

And if you are concerned about pissing players off, try messing with the salary structure in baseball...I'm sure all the veterans will just love it that a guy who has played one full year is rewarded with a veteran level contract. Jason is right to say that Howard does (or, at least, should) recognize that guys like Rollins have paid their dues in baseball and are compensated accordingly.

Tough one for Howard's agent Larry Reynolds. Howard is on the verge of some monster contracts.

So go ahead and be amazed. I didn't complain about trading the all-star RF because the Phillies were going *nowhere* with him. What the hell does that have to do with feeling Ryan Howard should be treated more fairly by the Phillies? You think 'veterans' would really piss and moan that someone this exceptional would be given more than the standard second/third year player salary - just because Albert Pujols didn't get his, at a similar point in his career? I truly doubt it. Ask David Wright's teammates if they resent him for getting an contract extension at age 24.

Amaro's remark was idiotic. While Howard's contract isn't a priority right now, you don't say "Howard's not a priority". You find a better way to say it or STFU. Jesus. They should be throwing flowers at every step he takes.

I don't think RSB is too off base here, if you base his thoughts on the previous conduct of this ownership.

They have not dealt well with their players in the past, and are seemingly tone deaf when it comes to media relations.

Why not, if you're giving Amaro marching orders tell him to say

"Of course Ryan Howard is a priority, but we've spoken to him and he understands there are other arbitration dealings we have to address first."

You solve two things. You communicate respect PUBLICLY to the player, and you let the fans know you're talking to him and that there won't be a breakdown because of you. It's not complicated, but this group seems to step all over themselves too often.

In case you missed it (or even care) I posted this on the previous thread:

"My worry is they don't see a big enough picture to grow their business and following (and therefore have the $$$ to compete). Do you really think this ownership group would pay a posting fee for a good Japanese player? (BTW, I read Dice-K is already doing ads in Japan in his Red Sox uniform. Not that they ever would spend THAT kind of money, but they didn't even THINK about a trying to get the player, much less place a bid.)(I know, I know, they signed the 2 Korean busts a few years ago, but did they give up after that? And does every domestic draft pick they spend money on work out?). Do they think globally (cliche, I know) and think about marketing this team beyond Metro Philadelphia? Ted Turner created a national following for the Braves with a little vision.

Remember, this is an ownership group that had the foresight to shut down their Latin American scouting operation."


Are they a small market team or do they just think small?

From a PR standpoint at the least, Amaro is an idiot. But what he said is basically true. Still, what’s the point in saying that publicly?

First off, in what context are we saying priority? The next two weeks? Up to opening day? The 2007 season? Long term?

Howard is not a priority in the next two weeks. There are players eligible for arbitration and they need to be the focus right now. As for the time between now and opening day, the team needs to strengthen the bullpen first. Signing Howard is not the priority there either, although it should get done before opening day. Signing Howard now is not going to make the team better in 2007, and THAT should be the priority.

The last I looked, Ryan had not yet decided on a new agent, so what are the Phillies supposed to do, stop everything and wait for his new agent to contact them sometime in the near future? The fact is that Howard is not prepared to discuss a new deal right now. In addition, the outcome of the arbitration cases, whether they result in new deals, or players being moved, directly impact how much money the Phillies have to work with on a new deal with Howard, at least for 2007.

As for Howard feeling disrespected, I wonder about that. If you asked him if the team should postpone working out his new deal for a few weeks so that they can work on some issues that directly impact our chances of making the postseason in 2007, I think he would say no problem. He wants to win. He knows he’ll get his money, and the Phillies know it as well.

I also think he’s intelligent, and he knows that complaining about ‘disrespect’ or whining about getting what he deserves, etc., will not help his image, which right now is as good as a player can have in baseball. There’s no point in publicly feuding with the Phillies when it could cost him millions in endorsements from an image hit. It doesn't matter if his complaints are justified or not. He would just come off looking like another greedy ballplayer crying about respect after less than 2 years in the majors.

Man, I hope Amaro never becomes GM.

RSB David Wright was arbitration eligible. Howard is not. If you don't understand the difference you do not understand baseball in the 21st century.

George, nice post. We agree on everything. I would ask, though, what it would hurt to publicly "respect" the player. I agree, he's not going to make a stink for all the good reasons you mention. But, if you want to sign him long-term at some point in the future, will it hurt if you go out of your way to toss him a bone?

Additionally, if the priority is getting the team in shape for the upcoming year, and they've spoken to Howard about it, and he understands it, does it hurt to let the fans know you're communicating with the most important guy in your lineup - and from a PR standpoint the most important guy on your team?

RH is going to get paid, by the Phillies or someone else.

Isn't it good business sense to want him to WANT to be here?

Um, so how long until Howard becomes arbitration eligible? At the end of next year? Wow, that's just so far off I can't even comprehend it. I guess we'll all be taking spaceships to work by then.

RSB, can I have a seat in your spaceship pool? I'll fly once a week.

Let me change the thread a little by asking everyone to put their two cents in on this question:

If you are the Phillies, what's Ryan Howard worth TO YOU?

The answer should include the number of years, total dollars, and an idea of how the contract escalates.

Just interested.

Look, the whole idea of appeasing Howard - even at the most *basic* of levels, which would be communication - is to keep him in good graces with the team so that he will be open to signing a long-term deal when that time comes. You can't just assume the Phillies will be able to do it. They didn't get it done with Rolen, and why? Largely because he felt he wasn't given respect by the organization (or that the organization wasn't itself respectable). Amaro's thoughtless comment may seem harmless and bottom-line to some, but it easily could be taken the wrong way. Whether Howard has the good taste not to complain about it is beside the point; he'll likely keep it with him. It's the kind of thing that makes you wonder if the Phillies ever learn from their mistakes. I'm ready to read tomorrow that Dallas Green has been quoted as saying that only fairies wear earrings.

Hey, I meant my comment as a humorous add-on to yours.

I AGREE!!!! Why not try to build some goodwill and trust with the players?

Amaro should either be muzzled permanently, or muzzled until he passes a basic public relations course.

As a PR guy (retired), take it from me. Good PR is not that hard. It does, however, require a measure of respect for your potential audience, both players and fans.

RSB: Except for your emotional, irrational idiotic takes on Abreu & Burrell, I pretty much agree with all your posts. This was a total PR botch job and typical. I'm also still waiting for someone to answer my question about what the Phillies philosophy for winning is. Over the past 13 years I haven't seen a coherent strategy like you see in Florida, Cleveland, Oakland, New York etc.

AWH, I wasn't responding to you in that last post. I'm in agreement with you.

Clout, in the past you have said my stance on Abreu and Burrell is idiotic, emotional, and irrational. Now it's emotional, irrational, and idiotic. You could at least be consistent.

I never was much of a fan of Ruben Amaro's dad and from what I read on this site, I don't think much of his son. George S. summed it up pretty good. I do think the Phillies should give Howard some serious pocket change this year, at least a million, so he can ride in style.

Clout, you are right on about the coherent strategy. The answer to your question is: There is no structured philosophy. It is something like: "if this doesn't work, we'll do nothing for awhile, then, we'll try something else.

Sugar Bowl is in town today. Got let off work early today, because I work a block from the Superdome. Go LSU!

In what way are the Phillies not in Howard's "good graces?" All this talk about not respecting Howard is pure speculation on everyone's part, there is zero evidence for it, except a (true) statement made by Amaro. Signing Howard to a long term deal IS NOT A PRIORITY - no team in the history of baseball has given more than a million dollars of salary to a player going into his third year, it is the point of absurdity to criticize a team for not doing something that is completely outside of any known precedent.

All there is to this is a simple quote by Amaro which can be sensationalized if taken out of context, and THAT is our basis for criticism? If we all agree here that it is true to say that "Howard is not a priority" then why take baby steps with Howard, do we really think he is such a fragile personality that he can't handle being treated like every other player? He is a baseball player, not a Hollywood diva (or Bondsian head case)...give him $1.5M this year...BASTA! Then we can get on to REAL problems with the team like the bullpen and RF, not this horseshit.

As for the Phillies being unkind to their own players...oh...my..god! What is the number one criticism of Ed Wade? That's right...LONG TERM CONTRACTS!!!! The Phillies were very good to Abreu, Rollins, Wolf, Burrell, Thome, and Lieberthal and they are constantly criticized on this board for it...they rewarded their own playes and FA very handsomely, thank you very much. You can argue that Wade had poor choices in whom he chose to lock up (though I would argue that the majority of these deals have been good so far, with no busts among them a la Hampton or Chan Ho Park), but in no case can you argue that the team has a recent legacy of letting home grown talent go.

Yes, I know about Schilling and Rolen, but the mentality of the team has changed since then, and there has been a fairly solid commitment to winning ever since the Thome acquisition (I have argued in the past that the Abreu deal may mark the end of this commitment - a major aberation in Phils histoy - but the Garcia deal may mean that they are not quite throwing in the towell yet). The complaints about Amaro represent the worst excess of Philly fans: whining about things they have no clue about for no other reason than to hear their own voices of complaint.

Classic RSB...he makes a comparison between Wright and Howard, which Longwood accurately points out is specious, and RSB's response? Spaceships! Lovely.

David Wright came to the majors midway through 2004, Howard midway through 2005. Wright has one ML season on Howard, and he also happens to be three years younger. You're telling me the Phillies can't make a contract extension offer to Howard because he is a season shy of arbitration eligiblity? Are you also telling me that the Mets gave those contract extensions to Reyes and Wright entirely because they were going to be arbitration-eligible? I would say *that* claim is specious at best. If you can assert how my comparison is otherwise 'specious', please do so. These are young players who are at the heart of their respective teams' nucleus. The Mets made early commitments to players long before they technically needed to, and I see no good reason why the Phillies should not do the same. The precedent of what turned out to be a bad deal with Burrell is not a good reason to avoid other multi-term deals. Pat Burrell is Pat Burrell. Utley and Howard are cases to be meted out on their own.

kdon, you're allowed to disagree. You present points that run counter to mine. Fine; I have no problem with that. But why don't you try doing it with a semblance of dignity sometime. I'm glad you presume your 'edgy' opinions to be more valuable than those of a 'polite fool', but for what it's worth, I don't appreciate the way in which you go about arguing your case. You can be passionate without exasperatedly implying that those who disagree are somehow less enlightened than you.

George mentioned endorsements. This could be the issue; why Howard canned his old agent, and why he's linked with LeBron and AI's representation. Howard should be raking it in with shoe deals by now. If memory serves, Pujols had deals by his third season.

Wouldn't it be a strange twist if the Phillies gave him the advice to switch agents, just to make sure he got his, without getting theirs?

OK RSB, I will stick to the arguments - though reading your own posts, I'm a bit surprised that you object to a little rhetorical fun (and, I assure, you that is all it it is)

It is simple, if you can find me ONE player who was given an extension prior to entering their third year, I will concede the point.

David Wright was paid $0.374M last year, in what is the equivilent year for Howard's 2007. According to Cot's Contracts, he was the 25th highest paid player on the Mets in '06.

Reyes, in his FOURTH YEAR ('06) made $.4015M, a whopping increase over his THIRD year salary of $0.332M. He was the 23rd highest paid player on the Mets in '06.

So, the Phillies are expected to offer Howard $1.3M according to the reports, which is $0.4M higher than Pujols recieved and $1M higher than either Wright or Reyes recieved in equivielent years...again, it will be a RECORD CONTRACT if the Amaro statements are true.

Age is immaterial, it is about service time, and the Reyes and Wright examples simply are not relevant to the issue at hand (this is why your argument is specious). The difference between being arb eligible and not is huge, and you cannot possibly articulate any critque of the Phillies position without recognizing this.

If I sound exasperated, it is because I feel that you simply do not understand the process of contracts in MLB and this leads you to make ridiculous criticisms of the Phillies organization (there are enough genuine concerns as it is).

If I went on this site and told you that Abe Nunez was a good hitter, you would (correctly) be exasperated at me because I had no clue about hitting. As someone who I think does recognize a lot about baseball, I would hope you would try to point out exactly why I was wrong, and if i persisted to argue that Nunez was a good hitter in spite of the evidence you presented, you might get a little frustrated too.

Does Ryan Howard even have an official Web site yet? Someone really dropped the ball there. Go to lebronjames.com, where you can find a full bio, merchandise catalogue, and links to all five of his major endorsement deals. What's Howard got? A bobblehead?

Ryan, if you're reading this, send an e-mail. I'll start work on your site tonight. It's only 12:15 a.m.

jason, ryan-O lives with Rollins, who most definitely has a website. They must have had that talk by now. You really have to wonder why ryanhoward.com doesn't exist. actually, it does, but that's a totally unrelated matter.

AWH,

In terms of the Phillies showing respect for their players, sure, I think it's smart and an organization with class should do it. (And you should muzzle knuckleheads like Dallas Green because he never has anything constructive to contribute).

But what form does that respect take? In the case of Ryan Howard:

I think Gillick already publicly said that the Phillies were going to take another look at Howard's contract, which they have absolutely no obligation to do. That was a public commitment by the team.

I would also say that the Phillies are showing that respect if Howard ends up on the cover of their Yearbook, if they tailor special events around him, and so forth. Sure, you can say it's just good business to do that, but promoting him also shows the franchise values him.

Then you look at the effort made (at least it seemed that way) to get a RH bat to 'protect' him. They weren't looking to protect anyone else. They were willing to go after a high-priced FA like Soriano primarily because of Ryan Howard.

Let's not forget that the Phillies traded away Jim Thome so Howard could play. Howard was unproven and Thome a popular power-hitting veteran that the Phillies had invested a lot of money in. If I'm Howard, don't you think that shows some respect from the organization? Thome was not broken down, as his 2006 (.288-42-109) clearly showed.

So you can look at respect in many ways. But I prefer to look at the actions the organization takes rather than the gushing praise they have PR hacks throw out to the media.

I don't think the Phillies can be criticized for how they have treated Ryan Howard so far in his career here.

Cheers,


I am somewhat receptive to your argument, kdon, but not entirely. I don't have the means of determining who was offered contract extensions at what point in recent ML history - but I *don't* believe that there needs to be some artificial boundary of service time that needs to be surpassed before a player can receive a fairer contract. I have not necessarily been arguing that the Phillies need to give Howard his big $100 million deal now, but as he is a clearly exceptional player who has already accomplished some outstanding things, they ought to be offering terms more substantial than simply what they can get away with offering.

And as far as Chase Utley - he has more service time than Wright, and Amaro's stance on him is "we have no idea if it'll get done or not." I believe him. The Phillies never have a clear idea about what they are doing, or what is important - and if they *do*, they sure as hell never do anything to give the public that impression. The Phillies ought to be going out of their way to get something done for the players who are putting asses in the seats. If the Phillies are simply looking at what the Mets did, for instance, and saying, oh well, hm, they did it in August, so we can wait a little while - or, oh look, Pujols made such-and-such in this season - that's bogus, to me. All that argues is that the Phillies stick to rigid convention and never have the wherewithal to figure out their own plan and determine their own fortunes.

I'm all for a little 'rhetorical fun', but rarely if ever on the offensive toward someone else posting. In any case, your points are taken, and I won't deny that they're valid - even if I don't believe the discussion should end with the fact that Howard is not yet arbitration-eligible.

I think we are reading way too much into the Amaro comment on Howard. It is pure speculation on why Howard switched agents. If Phils boost his pay to $1+ million this year, then Howard is being taken care of.

I do share RSB and Clout's negative view of how the Phils' ownership/management deal with star players and PR issues. Every organization commits some PR snafus, but it generally seems that the Phils are out of touch with their fans and the public in general.

I remember Amaro having a few real stupid comments last season. Either he is just not very media savvy or he is Gillick's "hatchet man" with the media.

I think we are reading too much into the Amaro comment on Howard. It is pure speculation on why Howard switched agents. If Phils boost his pay to $1+ million this year, then Howard is being taken care of in 2007.

I do share RSB and Clout's negative view of how the Phils' ownership/management deal with star players and PR issues. Phils don't exactly have a way of winning over their fans or their players.

Every organization commits some PR snafus, but it generally seems that the Phils are out of touch with their fans and the public in general. I remember Amaro having a few real stupid comments last season. Either he is just not very media savvy or he is Gillick's "hatchet man" with the media. Doesn't help Amaro's perception with the fan base.

The Amaro comment was not meant as a dis towards Howard. And I truly hope Howard didn't take it that way. Yes, Amaro could have said the same message without seeming so cruel/cold towards Howard, but these things happen. Howard will get his pay day within the next year or so and all will be good (that's what I'm hoping for at least).

Ex-Phil rumors- Sal Fasano to Rockies and Ryan Franklin to Nats...wow the Nationals are desperate!

George,

I'll concede they haven't gone out of their way to insult RH. I think, however, you'll have to concede this is an ownership group that is not PR savvy (especially where fans are concerned), and has mishandled relations with players in the past.

What we are all deathly afraid of is that they screw up things, or parsimoniously resist changing in a rising market, with the core group of players that we believe will be key contributors in a long streak of competitive seasons.

Rolen was supposed to be part of a core. He now has a WS ring and two pennants to look at in SL. Schilling has two WS rings. Polanco looks at a pennant in Detroit. They were here. What did we get in return?

Shilling wanted to return in '04. Someone in ownership didn't want that (maybe it was personal). Might they have made the playoffs with him that year? Can he still pitch?

You have to agree, this ownership group's track record is not exactly admirable, so, yes, any comment that someone from the organization makes, (Amaro most recently) can be magnified and blown out of proportion.

What is exactly the problem is that ownership seems oblivious to that fact that it can happen, and idioticly unwilling or, worse, unable to change to see that it doesn't.

They didn't give a damn about what fans were saying about Wade - UNTIL IT COST THEM MONEY. They never nip things in the bud or get out in front of them, and Scott Palmer doen't appear to be helping very much.

Words matter. How you string them together matters. I am very careful when I post on this site that I have my facts straight, that my argument is defensible, and most importantly, what I see written in front of me is exactly what I want to communicate BEFORE I hit the button.

So, as I've said in previous posts, let's look at the big picture. Suppose they don't get deals done with (and lose) their core group of players? Suppose they don't realize, or fight the fact, that salaries are and will continue to rise? Suppose they don't realize (or are afraid of)the marketing opportunities that exist for them in a growing worldwide market for MLB? (Haven't they misjudged their own market and fan base, so far?)

kdon,

How many ROYs and MVPs do Wright and Reyes have. How many African-Americans, a demographic that has been ignored until recently by baseball - and especially the Phillies, show up to see them? How many people show up in hope of seeing them hit monster shots into the upper deck?

I've been watching baseball a long time, as most of you have.

He's a different kind of player and person. A difference maker on the field and in the stands. How many people do you know of who took their shoulder pads off during HS football games to play in the marching band?


Yes, we overreact a bit. But this ownership group has a history, and seemingly an obliviousness to it, and arrogance about that history that does not inspire confidence.

OK, since no one has gotten out in front of me on this, I'll stick my neck out.

I asked in a previous post what RH is worth TO YOU if you are Phils mgmt.

How much risk (financially) is he worth? Do I want him here his whole career? How would I structure the deal to protect myself?

How much have salaries risen the last 10 years [the answer is approx 10%/yr], and how much are they likely to rise given the new labor agreement and rising worldwide revenues for teams (hopefully my own).

Howard is 27. I would try to lock him up with guaranteed money and option years until he's at leat 35.

He'll be arbitration eligible after next season (2008) so he's due for big raises as early as 2009 (look at Miguel Cabrera). What's he likely to get in his arbitration years with salaries rising?

How much will he potentially get in free agency after 2011 if he continues to produce and draw crowds?

With that in mind it's likely to cost me $110-120MM on the low side to lock him up for that long now.

If he becomes a healthy free agent at the age of 31, well, look what Soriano just got. What will salaries be 5 yrs from now? What will he command?

In case he's injured I can structure the deal to defer monies past the length of the contract in order to remain competetive in years he might not play.

I think some of you are looking waaaaay to much into that comment by Amaro.

Jason is right though, RH as a black athlete in a sport that doesn't have enough black superstars should be cashing in on the endorsement deals right now. Big Al was doing Nike commercials when he was making 350,000 a year (that one with him, Tori Hunter, and Mariano in the crazy masks).

Anyone else see the 2006 Phillies Season review on Comcast last night? It made me want the season to start tomorrow. Brought back lots of goosebump moments...the Utley walkoff vs Houston, the Howard 3HR game, the Rowand catch, the Abreu 10 foot dribbler vs. the Mets..... ok maybe not that last one.

I've said in the past that what gillick says and does and what monty/amaro says and does should be viewed seperately. I suspect that gillick's 'own folk' would never behave in this way, but I remain consistently suprised that he has never turned round to either monty or amaro and get across to the the idea of a simple consistent message. Gillick is a fair model of how you can get by in the press without comitting to much.

I'm sure that gillick would have been on the phone to play down any fuss kicked up about amaro's statement - his habit of sitting down with players (burrell, myers are examples) to discuss prospective issues and feel out the territory suggests to me a general manager who knows when its important to pick up the phone. And as George has noted, committments have been made to Howard which suggest the organisation is treating him with a deal of respect.

But as AWH says, good publicity doesn't cost you too much. what bugs me about the statement was simply this - if you want a player to start doubting his GM and manager, keep spouting contradictory opinions in public. it suggests disorganisation and disarray if amaro says one thing only for gillick to have to give private assurances to the contrary or to put the statment in context. You could argue that any player coming up through the system is already used to this (just like us, the fans) but there's no point in making things worse for the new management (that's GM and manager) one year in.

Having said all that, there are times that I think Gillick is only too happy to let someone like monty sound off as it increases the white noise - lets gillick get on with his business whilst obfuscating it to those who might profit from knowing what he's doing.

AWH - the point has been made on the bullettin board Back She Goes that a commitment till he's 32 is a good deal for both parties - the phils stop short of committing through those potentially problematic years when he could decline dramatically (as predicted by some on account of his body type) but at the same time the phils effectively give howard the chance to significantly increase his wages at an optimum time coming off the back of what (we hope) will be some of his best seasons.

I like the sound of that, partly because I'm less convinced that salaries will go through the roof across the board in the next few years. I think its been mentioned before here, but the crazy big money long term deals which went to the likes of A-Rod and Manny were not repeated by many teams subsequently and I think this will happen again. You might also argue that by trying to second guess inflation we may back ourselves into just one of those immovable deals.

I'd like to see five years with some kind of mutual option for the 6th, and sensible negotiation with agents from the start of his final year onwards. If the phils keep trying to talk to an agent for a whole year and only get the message of 'sorry, we want to test the FA market' then we're as well out of it. If not, we should be able to build on existing goodwill (provided amaro isn't GM by then . . . ) to sort out something for the sixth year and press on from there.

Howard, like every other player, is party to a contract: It is called the Collective bargaining Agreement. It dictates a player's market value based upon years of service. Every player's market value increases exponentially when they become arb eligible.

Amaro stated that they expect to give Howard a raise to make him the highest paid non-arb elegible player EVER and some morons think they are being cheap with him.

Lets take the RSB approach and shower Howard with money. Give him a contract now that runs through his entire arbitration eligibility that guarantees he is the highest payed player in MLB. Howard then signs with Boras and waives a big finger at Philly, or blows out his knee next week. What have you accomplished other than sending money down the toilet? I want Howard playing here for many years, and that will happen if the Phillies do nothing but go to arbitration with their hands folded and he avoids injury.

By the way, Rollins is my neighbor and Howard moved out at the end of the 2005 season.

Regarding Amaro, last week when pressed about Howard he responded, "He's due for a big raise." And this was from the story that was posted on Phillies.com!

My guess is someone told Ruben you shouldn't show your hand so soon. It's a little surprising since he went to Stanford.

I understand YOU think "He's not our priority" is an insult. But he's not, based on the fact that the following players are all arbitration eligible and THEREFORE have a higher priority than Ryan Howard right now: Chase Utley, Ryan Madson, Geoff Geary, Brett Myers and Aaron Rowand. Ryan Howard understands that.

I'm sure Howard understands the organization is committed to him and his future. It seems to me he understands their priorties are to take care of guys like Utley and Myers who have more time in than him.

Either Way, You don't say things like Amaro said in Public. There is no reason to say what everyone already knows, in a way that doesn't sound very encouraging.

I'm sure by now Gillick has chewed him out and put him on a tighter leash to keep his dumb mouth shut.

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