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Monday, April 26, 2010



Watching Ryan Howard hit a Home Run is one my favorite things in sports. Glad to see him do it in Bloodstripes for a while to come.


now Werth..

I really didn't want Albert.

I don't want to ruin Weitzel's CougarLife slush fund... but I'm going to go out on a limb that we will see hundreds of comments on beerleaguer will be waver from UNFAVORABLE to GNASHING OF TEETH AND RENDING OF GARMETS...

Does Bill James do 6 year projections?

Personally, I like keeping your players from homegrown to cooperstown... but after seeing Red Sox fans bail on Big Papi... I fear what 2015 and 2016 will be like on whatever we will call blogs in the future...

For now... I will say to Rube. You have ONE GIANT SET OF COJONES.

Well that's...interesting.

Perhaps by 2015 he'll get that throw to second base down.

Rube has also extended his contract to 2016.

So long Jason Werth


There's not really a bigger Ryan Howard supporter on this blog than I am.

Of course, I realize there will be plenty of people to come on here and complain about this for any number of reasons. After all, we've been told for the last two plus years that Ryan Howard is a player in decline.

But I love it! Keep your stars at home. Now, any chance we can keep Werth, too?

some people will find a reason to get upset about this, i'm sure, but this means the best Phillies infield in history will remain intact for at least the first part of the decade. great news.

doubleh - i thought trading howard was an option. werth's right handedness is well documented, so i thought it a possibility that rube and co. might consider trading howard with one year left on his deal. i was assuming (incorrectly) that howard would definitely test the free agent waters after next year. i'm as surprised by him agreeing to terms as i am the club being interested in locking him up for this long at those dollars. here's hoping that howard makes rube look good.

Great news!

Personally, I would bet against Howard being worth $25 million a year on average from age 32 through age 37.

It may be unlikely that Rube signs Werth, but you never know. He keeps surprising us.

Conshy Matt: Ah, I see your point, but I also think the Phillies LOVE Howard. Guess he didn't test the FA waters for the old bird-in-hand adage. Maybe he sees his future writing on the wall, too? Who knows?

I am in agreement with those that say Rollins is next big priority, as there's no viable replacement for him within the system (as there is with Werth in Dom Brown, handedness aside).

Maybe Howard likes playing in Philadelphia?

And a 10 million buyout at the end. Looks like 7 more years including next year, so 2011 doesn't have to be the "finish line" to this run, assuming payroll continues to creep up. Overpaying to keep someone who's proven to be a player who, in addition to the slugging, works on his defense, stays in shape, and is a good clubhouse presence. Makes sense, aggressive move. 18 months of public contract wars would have been more predictable for the franchise, but these last few years have seen a different direction. Ks, slumps, and wild throws to second aside, I'm excited to keep his bat in the middle of the lineup, making the hitters around him thrive.

Wow. Good for Ryan. And the Phils. I'm excited about this, but I'm a Phillies fan, so of course I'm a bit leery. 5/$125? That's a lot of scratch.

I also want to add...I hate west coast swings during the week. I watch three innings or so and fall asleep soon thereafter. Darn!

Without getting into what I think of the deal, my guess is the reaction will largely break down like this: Philadelphia fans will love it, national traditional writers will think it's about a fair deal but with some risk, and national stat-inclined writers and analysts will think it's a poor deal for the Phillies.

I like locking up your own guys, but on the other hand, part of the reason you do that is to keep them at below-market rates and keep them through their prime. I worry that this contract is not below-market, and you're locking in to years beyond Howard's prime. But given the state of the farm system, it's definitely nice to know his bat will be in the middle of the lineup and at 1B for the next few years at least.

Wow wow wow. Let me digest. I will say, I'm a sucker for retaining your players and love the idea of Howard-Utley-Rollins to be continued.

I like this tidbit from Murphy:

For some perspective, Howard's $20 million salary in 2012 is $6 million more than the entire Phillies payroll for the 1990 season.

Yes, I'm surprised he signed the extension too. After all, it's only $125 million dollars to play ball for 3 hours a day. What a tough decision to make.

Freddy Galvis could be in two years, which is the Rollins timetable, unless you want to move him to third post Polanco

I'm surprised. . . I think they overpaid a bit considering the limited market for $20+ million 1B's in the next year or two. Hope Howard keeps in shape rather than going the Papi/Mo Vaughn/Pronk route.

There is always the chance that this doesn't work out. But when you are one of the best teams in baseball and wish to stay that way, you have to keep one of the greatest sluggers of his or any generation. Whether they want to say it or not, the Phillies are a large market team. They certainly have the revenues of one. You can't act like you are the Pirates or Royals. And I, for one, am glad they aren't.

Howard was signed through 2011, right? Not sure how much bearing this has on Werth, unless you thought he'd be getting a 4+ year deal.

I will say, if this is about Werth vs. Howard, they didn't make a surprising decision. I don't think it is, though.

This is going to make it really difficult to trade Howard for a couple of prospects.

like Old Phan said, maybe Rube will surprise us and re-sign Werth too. perhaps some of Daddy Cigarbucks' money is seeping into the org. after all. (what's the value of a Cigarbuck to a Shrewtbuck?)

I think Howard has earned the benefit of the doubt with regard to his potential decline because of his physical stature. He has shown the ability and the determination to come to Spring Training in good shape. Every year, we collectively marvel at his weight loss and the adjustments he makes in the field and at the plate. There is no reason to suspect that he will fall into the trap of previous players his size, because he seems to take his conditioning seriously.

Just my $.02.

I'm blown away. I never thought they'd be able to extend Howard. This is awesome. He is worth every penny.

You have to admit that his defense has improved dramatically (his crazy throws to second notwithstanding) and he makes a huge effort to not just stay in shape but be in better shape every year.

Very excited about this!

"But when you are one of the best teams in baseball and wish to stay that way, you have to keep one of the greatest sluggers of his or any generation."

Well put. This team needs Howard, and I'm glad he'll be here for a long time.

I also don't think this decision really reflects on the upcoming Werth decision. Werth is still, as he has always been, likely gone unless ownership commits to raising the payroll substantially.

Anyway, congrats to Howard.

I wonder if this all but seals the deal that within 2 years we will have an entirely different outfield. I'm not positive but I thought Victorino expires 2011 with Raul. I would assume the Phillies hope that OF would be Gose, Gillies, and Brown.

Regardless of the future of the other players, it is nice to see a franchise player rewarded and have him around for his almost his entire career.

Yeah, $25 mil per is a lot, but if you're worried about the last year or two, don't look at the figure in terms of 2010 dollars. As time goes on and more and more superstars sign new deals, that number will become more club-friendly in relation to the rest of the sport.

And besides, the Phils are printing money right now when a lot of teams aren't. We can pencil in 45 homers in the 4-hole for the next few years, and it's luxuries like that that put this team in a position to contend for years to come.

Off topic, but ESPN has an interesting bit about the mechanics of Utley's swing. . .

I noticed in the ESPN story on the Howard that the guy who's #2 on the Phillies all time homerun list is Del Ennis with 259. . . that's when you know your franchise has a historical lack of talent 110 years of existence and not one member of the 300 or 400 homerun clubs.

Another thing is that Howard has completely transformed himself physically the last two years. He no longer is in that mold of Prince Fielder or David Ortiz. I remember seeing howard in a cutoff during spring training and the guy is just jacked. You can also see his athleticism on defense these days. And, knock on wood, he has certainly been durable and not one to wear down in Sept/October.

Can't wait to read BL four or five years from now..."If only Rube hadn't given Howard $125 million..."

How will Rob Neyer insult the Phillies for this one? Stay tuned!

We're gonna miss Jayson Werth next year when he's in RF for the BoSox.

EF: You think it'll take that long? We'll probably be reading that stuff by the end of this thread.

From Stark's Twitter:

@jaysonst Ryan Howard's contract will make him only 2nd player ever to avg $25M/yr in a multi-year deal. The other was ARod. Next most: $23M, Mauer-CC about a minute ago

We probably could have kept Cliff Lee if Rube hadn't spent $125m on Ryan Howard..... :-D

Phils hope to plus in prospects at almost every position but it's a hope without much root in the way things usually work out. Besides, Gillies and Gose both profile as CF and the latter is a ways off (even Gillies is just 21). Galvis hit AA, where he probably doesn't belong, so technically he's not far away, but he's just 20.

I'd bet the Phils resign Rollins and Vic.

Jbird, what about the 500 home run club?

Phils dropping a bomb! Frankly I am stunned for several reasons. Not the same old Phils anymore.

Vaults up Howard to the most eligible bachelor in Philly right now. $$$

I assume we're immediately flipping Howard to the Cards for Pujols.

So if Howards making $25 per how much pressure is San Diego and StL feeling right now? $25 per is now the starting point for Pujols and Gonzalez. Prince has to be pretty happy too.

If you want to point at things blocking Werth, I wouldn't say it's Howard. Howard was already in this team's plans. I'd start with Lidge's third year and Ibanez' third year.

Vic is signed through 2012, by the way.

3 years/$22M (2010-12)
signed extension with Philadelphia 1/21/10 (avoided arbitration, $5.8M-$4.75M)
10:$5M, 11:$7.5M, 12:$9.5M

That's a lot of coin. Objectively speaking, it's probably a bit too much. But Amaro's modus operandi is that he identifies the guys he wants and then he overpays a bit to make sure he gets them (i.e., Ibanez, Polanco, Moyer). That's not an unreasonable philosophy.

There are really only 3 or 4 first basemen in all of baseball who could provide similar run production in the Phillies' lineup. I just hope Howard's career arc is more like Derek Lee's or Jim Thome's than like Mo Vaughn's, David Ortiz's or Travis Hafner's.

U: Michael Jack

My gut reaction is that this was the right move. We MIGHT regret it in 4-5 years but I dont think we will. Howard is a great athlete who loves playing in this town and he's a plus defensively as well as the best slugger in the game.

JBird - That "...those MOTHER&^#*ING, *#$&SUCKING, @!$%-FOR-BRAINS, &*%&!#@S!!!!" you just heard is from the Cardinals' front office. Albert might have just earned himself 30 a year.

sophist: It's funny you should say that because, just this morning, I was thinking that if somehow Lidge could come back and have a strong year, he would be an ideal off-season trade candidate as we try to find money for Jayson Werth.

Personally, I think the Cigar Guy should try to engineer a hostile takeover of the Phillies' other ownership stakes. If he were running the show, I'll bet Jayson Werth would already be resigned.

I, for one, am pretty happy and excited for both Ryan Howard and all Philly fans. He certainly earned it with hard work and dedication every off season. What more can you ask for out of your players as a fan?

Sign Werth and I will post this every week or so for years to come...


BAP - Another guy who comes to mind is Willie Stargell. Stargell's OPS+ from ages 30-36 was 158. Although, I'm a bit surprised. Stargell is listed at 70 lbs. lighter than Howard. Accurate?

I'd be interested to find guys who played the field throughout their 30s.

First thoughts:

- Amaro continues to play the role of 'first mover' and market be damned whether it is good or bad. Just set the floor for Pujols & Gonzalez and doing so really limited the number of teams that can play.

- Howard's recent slump tied to his attention focused on this? Doubt it but you can never know for sure.

- Honestly I didn't see the Phils paying Howard this kind of money over this term because they already had Utley & Halladay locked up as the 'faces of the franchise.'

- Howard is smart to take this deal. He possibly might have gotten more guaranteed on the FA market because of another guaranteed year but he just became one of the wealthiest athletes in the US. Amazes me sometimes how short-sighted and foolish athletes can be when they debate say $100M vs $120M.

- Almost assuredly the last year or two of this contract ends up a disaster but you hope that Howard can maintain his 35+ HR power until 2014.

Let's think positively...If RAJ found the money to extend Ryan, he can come up with the money to keep Werth.

Signing Werth will mean a 1 year hit to payroll...we can easily afford him after 2011. Ownership simply needs to nut up and do it. Keep this core together. Let guys like Dom Brown fill in for Ibanez in 2011/2012.

From my perspective, this deal is 30% about baseball and 70% about marketing/business. Howard, generally speaking, is a popular, likable guy. His presence in the organization is worth more than his performance on the field in that he attracts national attention and generates higher brand awareness. In that light, this deal make a ton of sense to me. Howard is a pretty tremendous talent. Maybe not the greatest of all-time or anything approaching that, but a very, very good player who adds a ton of value to the Phillies in ways that are hard to measure with statistics. Do I love that kind of thinking when making deals, particularly from a long-term wins and losses perspective? No, not really. But I respect the commitment on the part of the Phillies and I hope that Howard holds up his end of the bargain by going out and earning a place in history of the franchise.

I wonder also... does Ruben know if the DH rule will be on the radar for the National League in the next 5 years??? hmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

I'm not optimistic about the last 2-3 years of this extension. I'm also not sure why the Phils did this now, as there will be a bunch of power hitting 1st baseman available after 2011. Why not wait for the market to set itself, as opposed to jumping out front and paying what is likely to be way too much? The Phils must think they know something either about how the market will shape up over the next 2 years, or something about how Howard will age as a player. Let's hope this looks in 3-4 years, otherwise we'll be dreaming of how we could have spent the $50-75 million.

The only thing I'd like to add is this: Howard didn't really take a hometown discount, did he? Well, more power to him. Good for you, big guy.

Remember when it seemed like the Phils and Ryan Howard were destined for years of acrimonious contract negotiations? That didn't happen.

In the world where Howard doesn't get signed to 2011 and Pujols, Fielder, or Gonzalez sign first, at what does the market set itself? I don't think it's less than what Howard got here.

MG: "Howard is smart to take this deal".

You think? This is a huge coup for Howard.

To put this in perspective, Howard will make the same amount of money over the next 5 years as Joe Mauer, who is 4 years younger, plays a much more important defensive position well, and has put up better offensive numbers over the last two years. Granted, Mauer's deal is for more years, but again, he's four years younger. I think it's safe to say there was no hometown discount involved here--if anything, there was a hometown premium paid.

Whoever mused about historic comparisons, Stargell and McCovey are the two guys I always think of when I see Howard. My recollection is that both of them were fearsome sluggers well into their 30s but, both also saw significant drops in playing time / games played once they hit 34-35, which is most of that portion of their careers that I was watching them. FWIW, there is no way Stargell was 70 lbs. lighter than Howard at the same age. Howard may be a little taller but, Willie was pretty thick.

I never thought there was the slightest chance this would happen because I'm one of the remaining "the ownership is still skimping with cash" guys. Well, I was one until today, that is. This is a signal from Rube and ownership that they intend on being competitive for many years to come.

Howard is probably 2nd favorite Phillie (behind Werth) and I'd refrained from buying a jersey because I figured he'd be on an AL team in two years. I'm just floored by this. In 2016 this deal will probably be maligned, but at this point, I don't care. If this move was meant to pacify the avg fan, consider that goal accomplished. Couldn't be more happy about this.

Remember when it seemed like Ryan Howard might get the night off tonight against a tough left-hander? That probably won't happen now.

Bold move, to be sure. Quick gut feel is concern about his production years down the road, a pure fan I'm loving the idea of he and Chase anchoring the 3/4 spots in the lineup and the right side of the infield for the next several years. Other teams are probably grousing for a number of reasons, always a good thing. And I'm loving the idea of a nucleus of Halladay, Howard, and Utley being around for a while. J-Roll next? Not sure Galvis is a long term SS answer for an elite team.

Bill Baer, no surprise here, doesn't like the deal:

This will be a fun ride for two, maybe even three more years, but it will quickly become tumultuous.

He says "stats-saavy fans immediately dislike the deal." Ouch! But I think a bit of an overstatement. I mean, he's using a ten-year forecast. He's certainly decline from 2005 and 2006, but those were ridiculous offensive levels, and his OPS+ just last year was over 140.

I don't completely disagree with his analysis.

Jeez. I've never been before a subscriber to the 'beerleaguers are a bunch of carpers and whiners' meme, but this thread may make me reconsider. We've just resigned up one of what would in leaner times be considered the greatest phillie of his generation (were it not for us swimming in luxury) and some sourpuss is worried about years 4 and 5 not producing value. get over it. teams are built around cores, and even if Ryan suffers the decline that his body type suggests he may well, this can not be seen as a bad thing.

What ever happened to a hometown discount? How did Howard just get more yearly than Joe Mauer?

I love Howard and am happy that he is close to guaranteed to be spending his career as a Phillie. But I fully expect the last two years of this contract to be an albatross, and just hope it doesn't end up being the last four. At least we're overpaying for elite talent. In the future, Rube just needs to make sure he keeps his mistakes to the Danys Baez level and not the Brad Lidge level.

Keith Law weighs in. Any guesses? That's right, he hates it. That makes me like it even more!

Keith Law:
"This is one of the worst extension of its kind -- it's an overpay in both years and dollars. Howard is one of the last guys in the middle of the lineup I'd give that kind of money, too. He's 30, has a bad body, is not a good defender, and has struggled to make contact to versus lefties -- he's gone backwards in that area over the past couple of years. If you were locking him up through age 31, it's not so bad. How happy are if you're Albert Pujols? If Howard is worth $25 million, Pujols is worth $50 million a year."

Keith Law

A bad deal for Philly?

"This is one of the worst extension of its kind -- it's an overpay in both years and dollars. Howard is one of the last guys in the middle of the lineup I'd give that kind of money, too. He's 30, has a bad body, is not a good defender, and has struggled to make contact to versus lefties -- he's gone backwards in that area over the past couple of years. If you were locking him up through age 31, it's not so bad. How happy are if you're Albert Pujols? If Howard is worth $25 million, Pujols is worth $50 million a year."

- I think he overstates his case as Howard has improved his body and his defense. Nevertheless, there was no discount here. Phillies paid market if not above market.

The Phillies now have six players under contract for 2012 (Howard, Halladay, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley) and three for 2013 (Utley, along with Howard and Halladay).

You have to love that.

Law has something against the Phillies. Maybe this isn't "omg best deal ever" for the Phillies, but the notion that Howard has a bad body and is terrible on defense is highly overstated.

If St. Louis gives Albert $50 million, does that mean they automatically win the WS?

Keith Law is an idiot (am I stating the obvious?)

Best part of this deal? Makes it that much harder for teams like SD, St. Louis and Milwaukee to sign their start slugger first basemen. I hope they all wind up making lots of money in the American League! I figure A Gon will be in Boston and Prince will be wearing pin stripes. Pujols gets a massive deal from the Cardinals and they can't sign anyone else!

Brian G - Looks like they may have taken Mauer's 8/184 (2011-2018) as the starting point. Howard, including current extension: 8/179 + 2017 option (9/189 or 9/202). 8/179 is less than Mauer, so is 202/9.

Sorta depends on how you measure it. Howard's getting $15, $19, and $20 in 2009, 2010, and 2011 respectively. Mauer's getting $10.5, $12.5, and $23.

Sophist, I agree that the number wouldn't be reduced by half, say, but why not take a chance on saving $20M+, or even a year on the contract? The Phils it would seem, agree with you: it looks to me like they are betting on a strong rebound for FA contracts. But given the simple supply and demand for the 2012 1st baseman, why not let things play out a bit more? And for those saying that we shouldn't worry about the value of the contract, or how much Howard will be payed in the final years, I'm not sure how to respond. I like having a well managed team that will be in a position to compete year in and year out. We had Howard through is age 32 season, likely his last prime year. Well, now we can pay him $25M to decline. I bet Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth can think of other ways to spend that money.

CJ- if that truly is the best part of this deal, I am going to be a very sad man.

Werth gone after 2010; JRoll after 2011. Make room for Brown and Galvis and probably Gillies in 2012 too. We are already the oldest average team in the NL East. Got to start lowering that age and we can't do it by keeping Werth and Rollins in the starting lineups.

Jack - Plenty of athletes don't take the 15-20% less guaranteed money and instead wait for FA. See Lee, Cliff.

Bo Diaz - People are just looking at what some impacts of the deal might be in the short-term and longer term. That's all.

I would much rather replace Ibanez and Vic with Brown and Gillies than Rollins and Werth with Galvis and Brown. It'll take some solid trade work from Rube, but that is his job. And lowering the age of the lineup is not an end in itself, the young guys have to actually be able to produce. The Yanks have not been in a huge rush to get rid of Jeter, Posada, and Mariano.

This is about the only bit of Phillies news I've seen in the last 3 days or so that hasn't made me want to burn down an orphanage. Sometimes it seems like folks have gone out of their way to negate &/or underappreciate Howard's present & future value. So far as physical condition goes, it's arguable that Ryan come into this season in the best shape of his entire career. However, I still feel it's imperative that Werth be re-signed. IbaƱez is not long for this game, & the Phillies currently only have one legit OF replacement in their system. It's true Jayson is no spring chicken himself, but I think he's got another contract's length of seasons in him. Finding a long-term replacement at SS is also a must. If you want to be worried about age/injury, worry about J-Roll. The past few seasons have been a warning the Phils' FO would be wise not to continue to ignore.

My first reaction is it had to be done. What's the alternative? Of course you'd rather not give so many years. But it's either you or someone else. No brainer.

PhilliesRed - I agree, paying $25 per for the decline phase is steep probably foolhardy. My guess is Ruben looked at the landscape, figured he wasn't getting a better 1B for cheaper and went for a 5 year deal now rather than waiting and being forced to give a 7 year deal like Texeira got and Pujols/Fielder/Gonzalez are likely to get. Just like the Halladay deal, the discount isn't in the salary, but it may be in the length. (his MO seems to be to give an extra year to the mid level guys Lidge/Ibanez/Polanco while shorting the elite guys like Halladay & Howard) Just a guess as to the thought process.

MG: Are you arguing that Howard DID take 15-20% less money? Because I don't believe that for a second. We paid every cent (and probably more) that Howard was worth on the open market.

I love the "bad body" comment by Law. Maybe Amaro should have given that money to a couple of Gap underwear models.

BobbyD: "My first reaction is it had to be done. What's the alternative? Of course you'd rather not give so many years. But it's either you or someone else. No brainer."

My last post probably came across as overly negative, but I can agree with this statement. Well said. If the objective is to remain an elite team, this is the type of risk you have to take. The alternative is to be a team who pays their players more in line with their value, but one with a sh*tty first basemen.

It's easy to say, at this point, he'll be overpaid (much like Moyer and Raul are now) in the latter years of this deal. Nobody really knows. If Ryan keeps doing what he's doing, he'll hit a lot of bombs here on his way to the HOF. That will be fun to watch. If he has a rapid decline, RAJ will have to see it coming an trade him away b/4 it gets too bad. In the meantime, let's have fun watching another WFC and partying on Broad Street!!!

Jack - In Howard's case - No. The Phils paid him a yearly premium so that they likely could avoid a guaranteed 6th year alhtouh supposedly this is an option (no details available yet).

With Pujols and Gonzalez both being available on the market at the same time, I have a hard time being that Howard would have seen much over $20M/year. Howard's agent probably gave him sound advice that he wasn't likely to see much more total money on the FA market and would be wise to take this deal.

I kind of wonder what some of nuances of the deal look like to see if the Phils backloaded it to free up some cash, what the option looks like, and what type of limited no-trade clause Howard got (e.g., 5 teams or 7 teams etc).

CJ: Fielder won't be in pinstripes, since the Yankees have Teixiera locked up for a while. Unless you meant black White Sox pinstripes.

The other thing people need to remember is that we already had Howard for this year and next. So when assessing his market value, it's not right now--we're already paying him for this year and had him under deal for next year. You're assessing his market value as he enters his age 32 season; and in my opinion, there's simply no way a guy like Howard would've gotten a deal like this for his age 32-36 seasons.

That doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad deal for the Phillies; Howard is the key piece to a championship-caliber team, and if he delivers a title or two, then no one would say it wasn't worth it. Let's hope this team gets it done.

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