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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Comments

Quite a poker game.

Phillies should win that shouldn't they? Not that I really care.

mofo: "Howard asked for $18 million in arbitration today. Phillies offered $14 million. Who wins?"

I think they'll settle somewhere in between, but if it doies go to arb: Hmmm, Howard led the major leagues in HRs and RBI and his team won the World Series. I think I know.

Difference is 3 mil more to pay for another rh bat or starting pitcher (I believe they already penciled in the 15 mil for Howard)

Howard won't settle. I tend to think he is overreaching and I believe the Phillies made better offer than what they did last year.

Clout I think the phillies win this one.

Howard is below average for fielding, too many strikeouts AND the mvp of the league Pujols is making 13.8 million next year. Therefore 14 is a very fair salary.

Howard is a difference maker for sure, but I think he has overplayed his hand with his request for 18M ...

JMARR: The choice wasn't between signing Ibanez or going to arb with the Burrell. It was signing Ibanez, going to arb with Burrell or signing Burrell after not offering arb. Obviously, choice #3 turned out to be the cheapest of the 3 options.

Posted by: clout | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 04:22 PM

Clout - the only problem with the above is that choice 3 which is your favorite obviously was not a known choice. Hindsight makes that a neat trick now, but early in FA the choices were clearly not those.

They were, Sign Ibanez for the $10M or go to Arb. with Burrell.

Knowing that the Phils more than likely didn't want Burrell back for reasons only they truly know at any price .... they didn't want to risk Burrell accepting so they signed Ibanez to the deal and moved on knowing what they would have invested in LF so they could make other moves ....

Again, not what I would have done necessarily, but it's over. Time to move on.

Ugh... why couldn't the Phils have just gone to $15M where there wouldn't be a question of who wins.

I'm with clout on this one. League leader in HR and RBI, 2nd in MVP voting, World Series winning team.

Howard gets his $18M. Wonder if they can settle on $16M.

They will settle for 15 mil - thats my opinion. Howard or (Howards father) won't take a chance on losing 4 million, even though its a 4 mil raise.

I have the feeling that either:

1. Phils/Howard agree to a 1 yr. $15M deal.
2. Phils win arbitration.

I don't think that Ryan will win given the $18M request.

I also see no way in hell Howard settles. I'm not agreeing that he is worth $18mil for 1 year, but I really think that he will get it. If the Phils could have came up just a bit more I think they'd have him.

I dont know if this goes into consideration - but the Phils doubled their offer from Year 1 to Year 2 (7 to 14), so hopefully they look at that as a generous increase.

Amaro: You know, Ryan, if you take 15 mil we can spend that 3 mil we save to help improve the team.

Howard: No thanks, I need 8 cars not 7.

(This goes for 99% of pro athletes)

I'd be surprised if they settle, however that is the best course of action. 18MM seems ridiculous at first blanche, but I think he'd get it. Counting stats and awards and championships will beat out a descending OPS+ any day of the week.

If Howard wins $18 million, he would be the 6th highest paid position player in the majors, behind A-Rod, Texiera, Jeter, Miguel Cabrera, and Andruw Jones. He is only in his 2nd year of arbitration.

I think $14mil is a pretty reasonable offer in the context of the arbitration process. We'll see though. Depends on how much defense or OPS weighs into the arbitrator's decision, as opposed to HRs, RBIs and MVP votes(not trying to minimalize those things).

In Pujols' arb years(all negotiated into his long term deal) he got 7, 11, and 14. Cabrera got 7.4, 11.3, and 15. In that context $4 mil seems like an appropriate raise, and the Phillies should make their case that way.

This whole "greedy Ryan Howard" thing is tired. He's a professional athlete working to get what he feels his worth. Wouldn't you do the same? This whole idea of a discount is a lot easier to believe when it's not YOUR money.

Ryan Howard was stuck in the minors until his first cup of coffee at 24 and his first real action at 25 (half a season worth). His first full season wasn't until age 26. Why shouldn't he go for every dollar he can get?

Ryan Braun's first full season was at age 23. Pujols' first full season was at age 21.

BobbyD: your post is half the truth. the other half is:

Amaro: Hey owners, if you can give me a few more million I can sign Ryan Howard AND make improvements to the team

Owners: So what, we'll make more revenue this year alone than we spend on the team salaries.

CJ, If you're responding to me, I believe I made it clear that I'm referring to all pro athletes, not Ryan Howard.

And no, I wouldn't be as greedy as some of these people. I would base my contract decisions on where I wanted to play and where I wanted to live. I would take 10 million to live in San Diego a lot quicker than I would take 12 million to live in Milwaukee.

FWIW: tim deirkes on his MLBTR chat today said that he believes $14mil will win out.

CJ: Completely agree. There's no salary cap. You can make the argument that the billionaires in the Phillies ownership should sacrifice that $3 million a lot quicker than Ryan Howard should ever have to think about doing it.

And the notion that Howard's not "worth" $18 mil on a one year contract is ridiculous. Let me know who else you're gonna get to knock in 140 runs a season. I'd be willing to pay Howard $20+ mil a year on one year contracts until he stops doing just that.

Like a good poker player, you need to know when to not overplay your hand. Howard is asking a huge raise and only real cards are the HR/RBI numbers along with the 2nd place MVP finish. It won't be enough and the Phils countered with a more reasonable offer this team of $14M.

If the Phils had only gone with $12M or $12.5M, Howard would have a much better chance of winning his hearing if it goes to arbitration.

A smart Howard settles for 1 yr/$15M before going to arbitration. My bet is that this deal goes to arbitration and that Howard loses.

Pretty abundantly clear that Howard's days are in Philly are officially numbered and that 2009 will likely be the last time we see him in Phils' pinstripes unless the Phils want this distraction hanging over their heads for the entire 2010 season.

Howard's worth is closer to $14m than $18m. It doesn't mean that he's greedy and the owners are altruistic heroes trying to bring a championship as a selfless gift to Philly. Please.

Brian G - But that is not the system in place in baseball. If Howard were on the open market this year, we would likely command $20M+/year. He isn't and I would good money that if he goes to arbitration he is going to lose based on the reported numbers.

Vic gets $3.125M and Blanton gets $5.475M, while Howard holds out for $18M. Ryan Howard is a money grubbing whore. I want to love him, but he makes it so difficult with his shitty defense, outrageous amount of strikeouts, and salary demands. This doesn't mean I want him gone, but he really pisses me off. Lets not forget his OPS has steadily decreased the past 3 seasons. He's a one dimensional player, albeit that one dimension is spectacular (power), but still...

One last point - Howard HR/RBI numbers are very impressive but they weren't an improvement from the previous year and I bet the arbitrators would feel that Howard was compensated a bit last year for his 2006 numbers.

One last thing - I wonder if the Phils' pull off the kid gloves in the arbitration hearing this year since it will be the 2nd year in a row they had to go arbitration with Howard/pretty clear he won't be here long term.

Wonder if they highlight EVERY deficiency and there basic argument is that Howard hasn't improved a single aspect of his game since coming up while declining in several notable ones (AVG, BB/K, % BB, etc). It could get pretty ugly I bet behind closed doors.

MG: I totally agree with that (I have an earlier post stating that I think the Phils will win). I was just responding to the whoever said Howard isn't worth $18 mil and should be traded bc of that.
I don't see the need to dump Howard just bc we may not want to pay him on his crazy long term deal demands. He will have immense value to us for the next three years. That will coincide with his, Utley's, and Rollins' primes. We are precisely the type of team that he will have the most value to during those 3 years. The point is to win championships, so why get rid of him before then?

Keep in mind that another Super-two player, Cole Hamels, just signed a deal that would give him $6.65 million in his 2nd year of arbitration. Does anyone think that Howard is worth 2.5x what Cole is? That Howard is worth 2x what Utley was making when he would have been in his 2nd year of arb? Should Howard - RBIs and all - be worth in one year more than Burrell is in two?

MG- it damn well better get ugly, because his demand for $18M is a f'n joke. He's gotten worse the past couple seasons, yet wants his salary nearly doubled. That's ridiculous!

I'll bet mikes77's posting priviliges that Ryan Howard gets the 18 million.

I'll bet the Phillies win this one. I know power numbers are disproportionately rewarded, but the guy showed no improvement, regressed in one huge area (OBP), and plays no defense. The other thing is that there is no precedent for this kind of award, and precedent is really what the arb board likes to go by. Last year, Howard could make the argument he was an unprecedented player. Not so much anymore.

Remember:

In deciding to award the higher or lower salary, the panel may consider the following criteria:

(1) the player’s contribution to the club in terms of performance and leadership;

(2) the club’s record and its attendance;

(3) any and all of the player’s “special accomplishments,” including All-Star game appearances, awards won, and postseason performance;

(4) the salaries of comparable players in the player’s service-time class and, for players with less than five years of service, the class one year ahead of him.

Look over these criteria. Howard will get HIGH marks for helping the team to consecutive playoff berths and a WFC. He's got lots of awards. The club's record and attendance with him have been great. He's gonna have a great case.

Let's not forget that a 40% raise (10M to 14M) is nothing to squeeze at either. I thought Howard would win last year because the Phils were foolish in their approach and disregarded market inflation since the Pujols' deal.

This year it is likely Howard is taking the foolish approach by overstepping and is likely going to lose.

Also, while I think Howard shouldn't win, I also find the depiction of him as a "money-grubbing whore" to be ridiculous. If my company asked me what my salary should be, I'd probably shoot pretty high too.

Its not our money, I'm not sure I understand some of the hostility in the above comments. To look back, Pat was making quite a bit of money, Eaton is a sink hole, Jenkins is making 8+ million to be a bench player. This team has overpaid lots of players before, so is 18M really too much for Howard? I don't know, but I don't think its horrible. Do we win the WS without him? I doubt we even make the playoffs. There is something to be said for all the stats that say he is the 20th best player in the league, etc, but I'd rather have him than Tex on my team.

CJ - But the Phils could easily flip that around and say that while Howard was a vital cog, he struggled mightily at times in the 1st half (didn't appear in the All-Star game) and didn't have any postseason accolades either even though he generally played well.

I am not saying Howard is greedy at all. Players deserve to make the salary that they can command. However, given the rules of the system and the current situation, I bet Howard loses if they go to arbitration.

Howard would be more savvy to settle for a surething at $15M and keep more of a positive-image with the fans. He can easily make up a couple of million in endorsements vs. alienating fans by appearing to be a player who is only concerned about his paycheck.

In addition, you can bet that if Howard struggles this year early again (and I bet he does), that the boos/criticism will be much more pronounced if he is making the $18M.

MG: I agree... I think Howard should try to settle at $16M and take $15M if he has to. It's a risk to go for the $18M, although I think he has a good case if he does.

And I don't think it's calling Howard greedy to suggest he's aimed too high with his offer.

Howard is a major part of the Phillies marketing and is one of the major faces of the franchise. That's something he can hold over them, too.

I think most pro-athletes value money over winning (Rowand, anyone?), but I don't blame them for wanting their cut. The clubs make tons of money in so many other ways besides what takes place on the field (if they are smart) and MLB owns their likeness and so can put their faces/names on anything they please. The players should therefore be compensated.

I just don't want this to become such a huge distraction that if affects his performance on the field (and I believe it did last season in the beginning) or becomes a circus side show.

I want to hurl when I think of Ryan Howard hitting his moon shots in another uniform. I don't know what his salary should be but the guy is a difference maker. Having his bat in the middle of the lineup is huge even though he does have a ton of holes in his game.

So a decline year equals an $8 million raise? where can I get that job?!? Did I miss the part where Scott Boras is Howard's agent?

My gut feeling is that the Phillies win this one.

Let me preface this by saying that I love watching Ryan Howard in a Phillies uni'. I love watching opposing pitchers and managers pucker when he comes to the plate with runners on. I love it.

I am also a poster who before the 2007 season advocated signing the big guy to a LT deal for very big dollars. If my memory serves me correctly I believe I said 10 yrs/ $200MM. Yes, I know, it was prematurely crazy at the time.


That said, if they go to arbitration and Howard wins, he will be a $20MM player in 2010.

Others here have correctly stated the obvious: he will probably be too expensive for the Phillies at that point.

In fact, his trade value will crater if he wins in arbitration, because there will only be a handful of teams that can or would be willing to afford him:

Yankees - no because they have Tex
R Sox - maybe Lowell gone, Youk to 3B
Mets - uh oh
Giants - maybe
Dodgers - why get rid of Loney for Howard?
Cubs - will D Lee still be there?

Did I miss any?

The small market teams are not going to commit that mych of their payroll. Look what happened to the Rangers when they signed ARod.

So, if he wins, the Phillies might be forced to trade him next offseason,

The problem is going to be: What will they be able to get for him?

1) "decline year" oversimplifies the year Howard had and the year the Phillies had. Yes, the bottom line, the overall stat line, is the most important thing for Howard's season. But from June 13th on, not including the playoffs, he hit .283/.362/.617. 360 AB, 33 HR, 51 XBH in 94 games. From Aug 22nd until the end of the regular season he hit .333/.417/.798, 15 HR (35 G).

We all say his defense declined, but I'm not sure on what that evaluation is based. I thought he made some solid defenses plays this year (I watched practically every game) and limited overexposure.

2) A raise isn't purely based on progress from season to season but service time. it's not complicated to see that if Hamels has a season like 2008 in 2011, he's going to demand a whole lot more money than he did a week ago, even though the seasons would be identical.

That said, I don't know if he's worth 14 or 18. He's certainly worth more than he was last year. Considering Cabrera's and Pujols' deals, I'd think he's worth no more than 16. I think if the Phils had said, $15M they'd be in good shape.

Regardless of what salary Howard receives this year, 2009 is a really key year for him long-term. If his numbers continue to erode even a bit, it is clear that his best days are behind him and I would be stunned if a team would want to commit mega-dollars ($20M+) to Howard over a 7-year period after next season.

One thing to be stuck with 1 or 2 years on a 7-year contract. Quite another if that player's performance dramatically dips after say the 2nd year. A $20M+ tab would significantly hinder every team's payroll with very few exceptions.

Sophist - Very reasoned as normal but you can't take away the first 2 1/2 months of the season either.

Sophist, those games in April and May DO count in the final standings...just saying. If Utley and Burrell didn't have ungodly hot starts then Howard's pathetic first 2 months would have killed this team.

He doesn't deserve an $8 million raise off of 3 good months. He got worse in 08. The team won the WS, not Howard by himself. The WS victory should have absolutely no bearing on the his arbitration case.

AWH,

Part of me could see the Nats throw the money out there to bring a star in-especially a clean cut, African American star (the opposite of Dukes, slightly Milledge). $20mil is likely too rich for their blood, but living down here, I don't think they can go another year w/out a real star(that's assuming they have another bad year this year).

The Phillies front office got smarter this year. They will win if it goes to arbitration. 14 million is the more reasonable figure. But I don't blame Howard and his agent for submitting a ridiculous figure. They submitted a ridiculous figure LAST year, but won because the Phillies tried to low-ball them.
Miguel Cabrerra is the comparable player. He made 7.4 in his 1st year, so all the Phillies had to do was offer 8m and they probably win. Miguel Cabrerra made 11.7 in his 2nd year, so I believe 13-13.5 could win the the case. The Phillies over bid this year to make sure.
I know most of you don't agree, but Amaro is no dummy.

I'm not ignoring his early bad months, simply pointing out that to simply assert that he had a down year ignores the fact that Howard was probably the second most productive offensive player in baseball for the last 80-95 games last year. If I were Howard's agent, this is something I would argue. Without those numbers from late August on, the Phillies aren't making the playoffs.

As for the team's success and its bearing on arbitration, I'm fairly sure, despite what seem to be protestations, that they do actually have a bearing on the arbitration decision. Evidence of this is on the page previous.

So... doing a little math (thanks to Cot's Contracts), I've determined the the Phils are committed to $104.85M in salary in 2009. That does NOT include the arbitration for Howard, Werth, Durbin and Bruntlett (they're all still in the process, right?). That also does NOT include the tenders that could be received by Kendrick, Happ, Condrey, Paulino, Ruiz and Coste.

We know that Howard will be at least $14 putting us at $118.85M. The other players earned about $6M combined last year so we know we're paying AT LEAST $125M in salary next year. And with raises due those last couple players, I think it's easy to see we'll be in excess of $130M this year.

Also... anyone notice that Ibanez's base is just $6.5 this year? He also got a $2M signing bonus, so I included that in my calculations.

I'm not ignoring his early bad months, simply pointing out that to simply assert that he had a down year ignores the fact that Howard was probably the second most productive offensive player in baseball for the last 80-95 games last year. If I were Howard's agent, this is something I would argue. Without those numbers from late August on, the Phillies aren't making the playoffs.

As for the team's success and its bearing on arbitration, I'm fairly sure, despite what seem to be protestations, that they do actually have a bearing on the arbitration decision. Evidence of this is on the page previous.

JMARR: " the only problem with the above is that choice 3 which is your favorite obviously was not a known choice."

Really? It was known to me. It was known to other teams that have re-signed guys who they didn't offer arb. Are you saying the Phillies FO didn't know that?

BedBeard, I hadn't considered the Nats, but you could add them to the list.

The question Howard and his agents really need to ponder is this:

Based on his age, declining production and (some would argue)body type, how many teams are going to be willing to sign him to a long-term deal?

They may have done the calculation already, and their request for $18mm may be their answer to that.

They may have calcualted that RH is not going to get more than 5-7 years in any deal, which makes it imperative that he maximize his value right now, and set himself up for a higher average salary in the future.

Believe this:

They cannot be very comfortable watching Burrell take the deal he took, and Dunn, ManRam, Griffey and others still twising in the cold, free agent winds.

Okay... from my amateur calculations thanks to Cot's and other sources, the Phils are committed to about $106M in salary right now. We also know that Howard will cost at least $14M and maybe more putting the Phils at $120M. They also have arbitration cases with Werth and Durbin who made $2.6M combined last year. And they have Kendrick, Ruiz, Paulino and Coste to tender (anyone else?). I think it's safe to say that those 6 players will earn at least $10M, if not more depending on how Werth and Durbin do.

Anyone here who DOESN'T believe this team's payroll will be at least $130M this year?

After 2011, he'll be 32 and even worse in the field. Hello, A.L. I'd rather go to arb each year than give him a long-term deal. Three more seasons and he moves on. That's the reality - and it should be.

Even though I believe the Phillies will win this arbitration case, Ryan Howard's agents are brilliant. They ask for an outrageous figure each year. Gambling that the team will offer a low ball figure. Howard should have never received 10m last year, but the front office did it to themselves by not offering a record amount. This year they are OFFERING a record amount. 2.3 mil more than the most comparable player. Howard will settle for 15m before they go to arbitration.

GM Carson your calling Ryan Howard a money grubbing whore is disgusting...

Why such a harsh reaction to Howard filing arbitration? If all it took was filing some papers and having a third party determine what your fair market value was, wouldn't you do it too? I know I would.

I highly doubt the Phillies and Howard will settle because I believe the Phillies understand he's worth more than they're offering and will only pay it begrudgingly.

I really doubt Howard wins this one. He was bold last year and it payed off, but 18M is kind of crazy. I think the Phillies made a good, fairly safe play with their offer, but I would feel better if it were 14.5 or 15M. But if Howard wins I don't begrudge him the money, he's just playing the game that has been put in place.

I think there is a flaw in an argument that starts with the statement that Howard doesn't deserve a raise because he had a down year. You can only make that arguement if he was 'fairly' paid last year. Was 10m a fair salary? For determining his value, did he outperform others with the same amount of service time? The guy has an impressive amount of hardware, he was on a team that won the WS, he was ROY, and was top 5 in MVP voting 5 times.

BedBeard, I hadn't considered the Nats.


One angle no one has mentioned yet is this:

Suppose Howard and his agents have looked at what's going on in the FA markets this offseason - Burrell taking a big step back, Dunn, ManRam, Griffey, Varitek and others still twisting in the cold, free agent winds - and have made the calculation that RH's market value won't be that great when he becomes a FA?

Based on his age, declining production and (some would argue)body type, they may figure that a huge offer is not going to be there. There are only a few teams that are going to be able to afford him, and some won't have the need. And, it's already apparent that the Phillies are not going to sign him for the kind of money he wants.

So, that makes it imperative for Howard to try to max out on the dollars during the arbitration years.

Also, it has the added benefit of setting his average salary as high as possible wt the time he does become an FA, and potentially raises the expectations.


I don't begrudge him the money, but it doesn't look like he'll be fitting into this team's budget in a couple of years.


And the Phillies may be hoping Taylor is ready, and that perhaps Mayberry can improve enough to be added to the mix, so there isn't an overall decline in power on the team.

Just speculatin'

Sorry for my double post on team salary... and the second one is more accurate.

So that pretty much shows we have NO SHOT at adding anyone like a Ben Sheets..unless he takes a HUGE paycut...like a Lohse type deal.

Cole Hamels and Jimmy Rollins should fire their agents and hire Howard's guys. The Phillies are underpaying Rollins on a criminal level. They got over on Hamels because he wanted security and is young enough to make the money back later. They are robbing Dobbs. There even getting a bargain on Utley.
Can't blame Howard for wanting to be paid like the other superstars of MLB. The Yankees have 5 guys making 18mm and they have'nt won in 8 years.

So you're mad that Rollins took a long-term deal that set him up for life rather than risking going year to year?

Some players like to be set for life rather than go year to year you know.

mikes77: Don't shed any tears for Hamels, Rollins, or Utley. Those guys chose to take the security of long term 8 figure deals, ensuring they get a pay day that would allow them to take care of their great great grandkids. Howard is choosing a different route, and that's fine(he's still gonna do pretty darn well regardless). But Rollins didn't get suckered into signing his 5 yr 40 million dollar contract.

NEPP: I know you don't want to hear this but I tend to agree with most of your posts so i'm not gonna pick a fight with you.
Re: your statement " some players want to set themselves up for life instead.of going year to year."
I believe Howard will be pretty set with the 24 million that he will have earned the last 2 seasons. I bet Rollins gets sick every time he sees a guy like Rafael Furcal sign for almost 2x as much as he got.

Phils sign Blanton for 5.475

Any word on Werth or Durbin arb numbers yet? I can't seem to find anything, but they should be coming in soon, I'd think.

Yes but the flip side of that is what if Rollins blew out his knee the day after he signed his deal...he'd still get that money no matter what. Howard had no guarantee of staying healthy the last 2 years...sure, its likely but some guys have different priorities...Evan Longoria for example: He probably sacrificed tens of millions in potential earnings but taking the sure thing. Personally I can see the rationale behind but Rollins' and Howard's decisions.

Personally, I dont see Howard winning this arbitration hearing. $14 million is a pretty fair number and IMHO, the arbiters will side with the Phillies this time. Either way, Howard will have earned at least $24 million in 2 seasons as you say...not too shabby.

Another fair deal for Blanton...Rube is on a roll with these signings.

Interesting that Pujols is making $13.8. He is hands down the best 1st baseman in our league.
I can't see Ryan winning this one.

CJ~

Your payroll figures are about right @ 106 million. Yesterday I left Utley's salary off my spreadsheet. I did not inclde Ibanez's sighing bonus 'cause I think it's already been paid. I did incluse the minor league deals for Giles and Majweski. So let's say 108 or therabouts inc. I banaez's bonus. Now factor in another 25 million in salaries for still unsigned players. That's 133. 137 if Howard wins.

Now I see why they haven't added a RH bat or a starter wothout trading Myers so I stand corrected in my bitching about Amaro. He couldn't do what he wanted.

Question is, what does he do now? Howard is too expensive to keep or trade. You can't get anywhere near equal value in return. Do you offer say 4/80 to him starting at a figure above 14 and then going up from there? I don't lmpw.

But one thing is certain. Someone on this team will have to go if a RH bat or starter is brout in and they will have to spend 140 million.

Out of curiosity, do those salary numbers include Eaton's salary?

And did we ever confirm whether we still owe Thome anything? I can never remember.

Personally, I'd offer 4 years, $80 million to Howard...with a club option for a 5th year, $20 million.

Of course you don't keep it even, you do it something like this:

2009 - $16 million
2010 - $18 million
2011 - $22 million
2012 - $24 million
2013 - club option year - $24 million...of course the yearly base salary stays the same but the signing bonus (there'd definitely be one) would be spread out. Something like that would also allow the Phillies to absorb the cost of the contract a bit easier.

I doubt he'd go for it.

Without over-thinking, I think offering a 40% raise after a year of declining achievement ought to win the day. I do get the feeling that Howard over-reached on this one - just like at the plate, he does swing for the fences and strike out a lot; last year he caught the long ball in arb, this year, I'm guessing Rube just threw a slider in the dirt away.

CJ: My numbers come out to about 109 plus Howard, Werth, and Durbin, which will probably be about 20 mil combined. So right around 130. Those numbers obviously include Ibanez's signing bonus and Eaton's salary, but not Gordon's buyout this year or Jenkins/Feliz for next.

I'd love to see them try and grab Sheets on like a 1 year 10 mil contract if that's possible.

Sheets is reportedly asking for 2 years, $18 million with a 3rd year option.

Depending on a physical, I'd give him that in a heartbeat....it cant go any worse than the Eaton deal. At least when Sheets is healthy, he's a #1/2 starter.

Did anyone see what Ryan Zimmerman asked for in arbitration? He asked for 3.9m and they countered with 2.7m. Maybe there is some discontent there in washington. Both those figures seem awfully low.
I wonder what Washington would take for Zimmerman? I'd offer Donald, Marson and maybe even Happ for him. The Phillies have a million catchers in the minors and no place for Happ. Three years of Zimmerman with this group would be a crime.

I honestly doubt that they'd trade the closest thing they have to a franchise icon...as nice as it'd be. I'd give up at least 2 of those players for him and they'd still laugh at us. Bottom line is that if they are serious about building a young core of guys, trading Zimmerman won't happen.

Zimmerman's only had 3 years of service time and last year he made $465K is one big reason why he'll be making ~$3M in arbitration. Also, since his big year in 06 ( 21 - .287/.351/.471 - 114 OPS+) he's *declined* (word of the afternoon) and missed 60 games last year due to injury.

07 - .266/.330/.458 - 107 OPS+
08 - .283/.333/.442 - 101 OPS+

Of course, before the injury he played in 157 and 162 games, and I wouldn't bet against this guy. Just pointing out that that's a lot of money for a 24 year old in this league.

actually those are two reasons.

I also wonder about Zim's "decline". I tend to think pitchers adjusted to him in his sophomore year and last year was derailed by injuries...I wouldn't be surprised to see him come out of the gate and crush the ball in 09.

NEPP - Here's something

v RHP OPS

06: .825
07: .695
08: .733

Interesting split that seems to support my theory.

If he's healthy, he's gonna have a good year I think.

Sophist: He's also a GG quality 3rd basemen. I know the importance of defense at 3rd base is a hot debate around here, but he's REALLY good, definitely better than Feliz and, to my eyes, the best in the league. That shouldn't be left out of the discussion in terms of how good he is.

I dont think anyone is arguing Zimmerman's ability. Though he'll likely have to deal with always being the 2nd best 3B in his own division after David Wright. And he'll always be compared to Wright as a result.

If we hadn't won the World Series last year Howard would be long gone, probably to the Red Sox for Lars Anderson and Clay Bucholz. The fact is that coming off a WFC and having the strong nucleus in tact the Phillies could not possibly justify trading Howard unless the return was ridiculous. So they'll play out the year and in the event that they don't win again they'll dump Howard after this season for something that will disappoint us since it'll be hard to move Howard's salary at that point. Maybe the big guy will hit .300 again and his trade value will be high, but we'll see. Either way this will be the last season to enjoy him in the red pinstripes.

Nice to see Victorino and Blanton signed. Armaro is doing a good job. It would have been nice to do a long term deal on Victorino, but I can see this being a big year for him. If he continues on what he did last year his value will be much higher next winter.

Who the hell does Howard or his handlers think he is? Trade him to Kansas City for a couple good players that want to play baseball and be gone with him.

I don't know about you but in this day and age with high unemployment and people that can't even feed their families this attitude is disgusting, if you a fan who buys tickets to the games it turns you off to read about this greed.

He at no time carried this team last year and nearly 400 strikeouts in two years by any other Phillies player than Howard and he would have been booed out of town. Trade him now, why we still can get someone decent for him!

NEPP, actually, if Sheets is willing to take a Lohse like deal and wait for the economy to improve, the Phils might have a shot, IF, IF, IF Howard loses the arb hearing and gets $14MM.

Agree with you on Howard. He'd never agree to your proposal. Texeira set the market. He'll want a deal at least that long and lucrative, and the Phillies would be nuts to give it to him.

Besides, we don't know what the environment is going to be like after 2011. Maybe the Phillies will be the high bidder for Howard if he becomes a FA. Oh....wait.

****NEPP, actually, if Sheets is willing to take a Lohse like deal and wait for the economy to improve, the Phils might have a shot, IF, IF, IF Howard loses the arb hearing and gets $14MM.****

That is my long-shot hope for this off-season.

****He at no time carried this team last year and nearly 400 strikeouts in two years by any other Phillies player than Howard and he would have been booed out of town. Trade him now, why we still can get someone decent for him!****

You mean other than Sept when he put the franchise on his back and willed us to the playoffs of course. Stop with the invective Rich, You act like they're asking you for the money, not the FO.

Teix's deal shouldn't count (though it will) as the Yankees overpaid and Teix simply isn't worth what he got. I bet Howard thinks he's better than Teixeira and deserves more money...he won't get it though...especially with the Yankees theoretically out of the mix...unless they made him the most expensive DH ever.

The Yankees can't even be taken as a comparison for ballplayers salaries, the Yanks are ruining baseball and it will be soon that it reaches home when they cheapest ticket you can buy to see the Yankees will be $100 a game. They are ruining the game with these outrageous salaries they throw at their players.
Scott Boras is the bloodsucker that he is because of teams like this, and it is bad for baseball.

The MLB should really step in and legislate how much a team can pay any one player, before it cost baseball even more fans. That is my opinion. Trade Howard to the Yankees they'd probably give him 25 mill a year - is he worth it? No, but that's the kind of stuff the Yankees do.

And now Howard's pay isn't coming from my pockets, but I buy tickets and support the team, not a greedy guy that Howard has become. No, I don't think any player single handed gets a team into the playoffs.. did you forget NEFF that the Mets lost 13 of 17 or whatever it was and that is how the Phillies won the division in 2007? I was there on the day they clinched the division on a Sunday afternoon, a lot of other factors came into play for them to get into the playoffs. Yes, Howard did well but it was higher powers than him that came into play for the team clinching and making it into the playoffs that year. What was that thing that Tug McGraw said? Ya gotta believe? in Miracles is what he meant... That was a miracle, just as the Phillies went on to win the World Series last year. At times they couldn't even get a hit during the playoffs but they found a way to win.

I stand by my opinon that Howard didn't carry that team last year at all, a lot of his homeruns were hit after the fact. Read the column in the philly.com area of Phillies Zone today.. fans are upset with the big guy, they are calling him greedy and want him gone as well. I am not alone in my opinion.

The Phillies don't make the playoffs, let alone the World Series, if Ryan Howard didn't have the September that he had. I was very hard on Howard at points last season -- see the archives. But he did carry this team in September. NEPP is correct.

I find it amusing some folks trying to talk themselves into, "well Ryan should just take the $14 million, he'll make up the difference in commercials, etc." This reminds me of the South Park where Stan wanted the bike, and his dad Randy tells him to use money from his bank account... and Stan says, "but that is my money."

Look, salaries are ridiculous, but so are the revenues, so until they start lowering the ticket prices, the owners and players will get theirs.

I feel like BL is filled with several Jim Taggarts and Orren Boyles: "But, doesn't Ryan Howard play for anything other than money? What about the good of society?!"

Howard's $18m is high, but it's no greedier than the Phils' desire to keep payroll low and profit high.

Come on guys, ryno needs the extra money to support his frequent strip club visits around the city. See so he IS helping society afterall.

I think Brian nailed it: They have Howard for three more years. They signed Hamels for three more years. At that point Rollins, Utley and Werth are 32, Howard is 31 -- in other words, not young anymore.

You can't trade him because his salary precludes getting much back for him, and there's nobody in the system able to replace even 75% of his production. So I think Brian is right -- they'll ride him for three more years before the window closes on this group of players.

And to whoever said they'd rather have Howard than Teixeira: Really? Even though Tex has higher OPS+ figures than Howard each of the past two seasons? Even though Tex has two Gold Gloves, while Howard is more like Dick Stewart, the infamous Dr. Strangeglove? Even though Tex had more walks (97) than K's (93) last season? Even though they're both the same age?

I'm curious: Why do you prefer Howard?

To those of you who suggest trading Ryan Howard this season or next, I ask the following:

Assuming we do not receive a major league ready 1B in such a trade, who do you propose we play at first base if not Howard?

B/c they won the WFC with Howard, while two teams in the last two years acquired Tex and didn't advance to the WFC, let alone anywhere?*


*takes more than one player, I know. And, I really do like Tex.

How does arb work? Is it who's closer to the figure the arb comes up with? Lets say they decide Howard is worth 15M, do they go with the Phillies because 14 is closer than 18 or with Howard because 14 is less than 15?

I think Howard will have a very strong case.

He won last year and got the highest award in history. All he did was go out, and despite having an absolutely horrid start, still lead not just the NL but the entire Major Leagues in HR and RBI and by a not insignificant amount. The next closest guy in HR was Dunn with 40, more than a 20% drop from Howard.

He has more HR and RBI than anyone in baseball the last 3 years and he has it by a bunch.

His numbers in Sept were beastly and as stated above, from the middle of August on, he was the best hitter in baseball and carried the team down the stretch.

In the WS he hit 3 HR and had 6 rbi in a 5 gmae series, tying the record for most HR in a 5 game series. Look at the WS numbers for Pujols, Ortiz, Manny, etc... None of them ever had 3 HR and 6 RBI in a WS. And they've each had 2 chances.

After finishing 5th in MVP voting in 07, he finished 2nd in 08.

Teixeira just got 23M/yr and he's never come close to the power numbers or the MVP numbers or the postseason numbers that Howard put up.

Howard also played all 162 last year and is the current Iron Man streak holder in MLB. That counts for something.

The guy does what he does, hit HR and drive in runs, better than ANYONE in baseball, and has done so ever since he was called up. He's done it at a rate and at a point in his career that has been equalled by ZERO other players in MLB history. Over their entire careers the only guys to match Howard in HR/RBI production are George Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey, Jr. After this year there will likely be 3 players in MLB history with 3 seasons of 45+HR/135+RBI. George Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ryan Howard.

I say Howard wins.

I love KidCarnivore's Atlas Shrugged reference. Maybe Ryan Howard will go on Comcast Sportsnet and interrupt the Eagles PostGame Show. "This is Ryan Howard speaking. Mr Barkann will not be speaking with you tonight...")

Also, what's this "if the Phillies win then they can afford Sheets?" The Phillies are loaded. Middleton just raked in 3 BILLION in cash last year. That's 3000 million.

The team will sell out every game this year and sold about just about every one last year. They set an attendance mark last year and will top it this year.

Add in all the merch from the WS and the DVD's and the jersey's and the concessions and everything else.

They can afford a few million for Sheets regradless of what Howard gets. They can afford, Sheets, Schilling at mid-season AND Manny if they really want to. Money is not an issue.

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