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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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I'm gonna go with "Undecided".

I passed out around the 5th and woke up in the fourth of the replay I think.

David Ortiz, Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, Mo Vaughn, Frank Thomas, Scott Rolen, Cecil Fielder, Jim Thome...all big men that did not age well. Why? Because in general players trend downward after 32 years old, especially large body type players like Ryan Howard.

Now the Phillies will have 2 players making roughly $45M dollars (Howard/Halladay) which will hinder the team in allocating money to other positions of need. Ryan Howard is a tremendous talent, one of the best pure power hitters the game has seen in awhile and I love having him on this team. 40+ homerun season for the next few years can be expected. After that though his bat will slow, his mobility in the field will lessen, and his value will drop...certainly not worth the $23M or so he'll be making.

This is just not a good deal. As many baseball analysis are saying- "The new worst deal in baseball." Ouch!

7-2 vs. WAS/HOU, 4-6 vs. the rest. It's time to start playing baseball.

It's only April. It's only April. It's only April. It's only April.

This has what, a 90% certainty of being a bad, bad contract? Howard is already 30, has seen his peak, will never come close to 2006 again at the plate, will never hit left-handers (if he hasn't learned by now), has a significant chance of going all Cecil Fielder/Mo Vaughn on us.
He's a borderline all-star for the next 2-3 years and will certainly decline after that.
On the flip side, he does seem to want to keep himself in shape these days and has worked hard on his D. (Can't anyone teach him how to throw?) But once his bat speed declines, it's going to be a quick exit, I fear.
I hope I'm wrong.

Thome averaged 38 HR/100 RBI from Ages 30-37.

Hardly a collossal dropoff.

I'm excited as can be about locking up Howard. He's one of the great sluggers in the game and works real hard at being a better all around player. You want these guys on your team.

Brutal game to watch. Some takes.

-Dukes, I have not compared the stats, but Stargell is the player I have instinctively compared with Ryan Howard since Howard first came to the big club.

-Horrible calls from behind the plate. Not only bad, but inconsistently bad from what I saw. Polanco was really ticked off at one point and made some comments to Bucknor. I also thought I saw some negative body language from Utley a time or two. Those are two guys who don't normally do much griping.

-Halladay was human, but it also seemed like there were (1) a number of bloopers and seeing eye hits that fell in; and (2) the Giants did a great job bunching their hits and really took advantage of every opportunity. Maybe I missed something, but it never seemed like they were teeing off on him, only a few of the hits were really hard liners or grounders.

-Speaking of taking advantage of opportunities. The Phils? Shall we simply say, not so much?

-Whazzup with Francisco? A night of total futility. Have been concerned about Ibanez' production, but there is no question he is a quality player who is struggling. I'm starting to wonder though, if Francisco just isn't as good as we thought.

-And now we get to ride the Hamels roller coaster. And against Lincecum. Could be a helluva game, or it could get pretty ugly.

NEPP- Thome had to DH in order to stay "healthy" enough to post those numbers. Howard won't have that luxury. Big men have health problems later in their careers, it's the trend. Ryan Howard will have to be an exception to the rule.

Stargell, McCovey & Michael Jack are all sluggers that had their best years in their 30s. Howard could just as easily go that route as a slugger.

Frank Howard was another guy that was quite productive into his mid 30s.

Good Morning.

I'm with NEPP, undecided on the Howard deal.

Bordering on concerned.

Have a good day.

****NEPP- Thome had to DH in order to stay "healthy" enough to post those numbers. Howard won't have that luxury. Big men have health problems later in their careers, it's the trend. Ryan Howard will have to be an exception to the rule.****

LALALALALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALALALA

Eddie Murray is another guy that stayed reasonably productive as a position player through Age 36 (OPS + of 126 from Age 30-36).

NEPP- Schmidt was arguably the best 3rd basemen in the history of the game. No offense to Howard, but he's not in that elite category in my opinion. Plus Schmidt was Gold Glove.

Stargell was productive when he played, but he never played in over a 126 from age 35 on.

And looking at McCovey's later in his career and they're not very impressive either. Not top dollar impressive, which what Howard will be earning.

Love the deal. Love to see the Phils have a great player for his entire big league career and that looks like it will be the case with Ryan.
Good work Ruben, get Werth extended next.

The first annual CB Bucknor 'rant' by LA last night on the radio as I was driving home. He was actually fairly restrained I thought.

Got to watch a few innings before heading to bed & LA was right as normal. Bucknor just arbitrary makes the strike zone from inning to inning. Sometimes, he will call strike on the outside corner at the knees as he was doing for Sanchez. Other ABs he wouldn't.

Normally I don't think the umpire has that much of an effect on a game but there are a couple of games I can think of already this year (Winters really tight strike zone in the Nats' game with Hamels-Marquis in their 1st series & Emmels' really liberal strike zone in the game where Hamels & Robertson pitched come to mind right away) where the umpire had a huge impact early & it played a big theme through out the rest of the game.

I would love to see someone use pitch f/x data and match it up against specific umpires to see if there really is tendencies among MLB umpires. My top dollar says 'yes' and that there has already been a sabermetrics firm that has done this. MLB probably does the same thing too when reviewing the annual performance of umpires but just doesn't make any of it public.

Payroll in 2012 is going to have to be Yankee territory if the Phils plan on contending, especially if they extend Werth.

Carson, I am referring to him as a hitter, not a fielder. They were similar hitters.

All players get overpaid in the 2nd half of their career. As long as he's reasonably productive, its not a killer deal.

7-2 vs. WAS/HOU, 4-6 vs. the rest.

Wash/Hou record vs everybody but Phils: 16-15.

If we're looking to complain about beating lousy teams, should throw the last place Braves in there too.

And we haven't played the following teams with worse records than the Nats and/or Astros: Dodgers, Reds, Pirates, Cubs, or Brewers.

****Payroll in 2012 is going to have to be Yankee territory if the Phils plan on contending, especially if they extend Werth.****

They'd likely have to push it to at least $160 million. I dont know how they do that but they've surprised me before. This is where those extra years to Ibanez, Baez, Schnieder and Lidge will kill us.

Because Ryan Howard is my 2nd or 3rd favorite Phillie of all-time (behind Carlton and Luzinski) it pains me to say that this is a bad contract. It is bad, but not because of his production or present value. It is bad because the Phillies did not have to do it.
He has 2 years left on his deal, and would be 32 as a Free Agent. Nobody would have given Howard more than the Phillies. The team did not gain anything by doing it. It is the same thought I had when the Phillies signed Victorino and Blanton. There was no reason to do it and they did not get any discount by doing it early.
All that being said, I'm happy he will retire a Phillie and pleasantly suprised that the Phillies chose him as the face of the franchise. Times are chang'n.

I just don't think you pay $25 million a year for Howard's mid-30's. No one else was going to give him that. I think $18 per would have been a fairer number. But, for $25 million per year, playing an "easy" defensive position, Howard is going to need to continue hitting 45 homeruns a year with .950+ OPS through the life of the deal. I hope it happens, but I'm dubious.

**** It is bad because the Phillies did not have to do it.
He has 2 years left on his deal, and would be 32 as a Free Agent****

That is what prevents me from saying it was good. Why now?

Its like the Rollins club option in that respect. Nobody uses a club option a full year before its necessary but Rube pulled the trigger last winter.

Howard could be in a serious decline by the end of next year (not likely but possible) and we didn't gain anything from signing him now. If he had taken a discount it'd be one thing but they basically set the market by paying him top dollar.

From a fan perspective, it is hard not to like this move because Howard is my favorite player and it will be fun seeing most of his career in a Phils' uniform.

On the other hand, several reasons (history of production of other power hitters in their mid-30s, lack of DH in the NL, slightly backloaded contract, $55M alone tied up in just 3 players in '12) it is pretty hard to say that is a good deal for the Phils' from a competitive standpoint over the more intermediate to longer-term.

What is laughable though is all of this talk lately about how the Phils love to bring in younger players to replace their aging veterans I heard yesterday from guy like Salisbury and others. I think he was confusing the Eagles & Phils.

Also confusing was some of the talk yesterday about how Amaro looks for value. If anything, I would argue that Amaro has taken almost the completely opposite strategy since becoming the GM in that he decides on an action and often has paid a premium in terms of price to do so. Best example of that was probably the Moyer deal where the Phils essentially competed against themselves and wound up giving him a 2nd guaranteed yr when no other team was willing to including the Mets.

All of this places a huge burden on the Phils' farm system and they better hope that some of the 'toolsy' picks they have gone with the past few years really pan out at the MLB level.

In general, it seems like since Amaro has taken over for the Phils he has taken more of a high-risk, high-reward approach that includes acting first and making somewhat bold & risky decisions. Really won't know how it pans out until '12 but it will be really interesting to see.

$86.9 Million committed to 7 players in 2012.

I just think they have to sign werth and have brown replace ibanez starting in '12. as we've all noted, werth is righthanded and Brown is not. but even more, if you let Werth walk now who will replace ibanez in '12? gillies? gose? those guys are center fielders. it just makes sense.

NEPP - Baez/Schneider contracts aren't that bad. Hell, both of them next year are roughly $4.4M combined with almost no incentive upside. They won't have anything to do with the Phils resigning or not resigning Werth.

It will be the Ibanez ($11.7M next year) & Lidge deals ($12M next year) that are the millstones around their neck from a payroll perspective. Stuck with both guys and sadly I think Lidge's contract extension is going to go done as one of the worst deals in MLB history.

Yes, Dukes. They'll have to eat a significant portion of Raul's salary, but I'm sure there will be an AL team in need of a DH. Could Brown be next year's Heyward?

Overall, I dont like the deal. For the next few years it is solid, and we'll get incredible production. After that it is looks very risky given the eventual decline at such a high salary. The biggest unknown is how rapid a decline from the big fella, but I think we all should expect being somewhat unhappy with the contract (and payroll inflexibility) in about 3-4 years...

I think Rube likes to make splashes...whether it be good or bad. He likes to be that guy that sets the market.

So far it hasn't worked out too well:

1. Signing Lidge to a 3 year extension midway through 2008. He was at the top of his value at that point and its been all downhill since then. That $12 million per for the next 2 seasons is killing our payroll.

2. Setting the corner OF market by giving Ibanez a 3 year, $31 million deal. We've gotten 1 very good year out of him and he already is looking old early in the 2nd year. Next year, his salary along with Lidge will be hogging up close to 18% of our payroll.

3. Moyer's 2nd year. Nobody was gonna give him a 2nd year...not the Twins, not the Mets, nobody. We should have stood firm and said, "Here's 1 year, $6.5 million...take it or leave it". He'd of taken it.

4. 2nd years to Baez, Gload & Schneider. Why? Why lock up bench guys with 2nd years...especially when they're all coming off either injuries or decline years?

5. Polly's 3rd year: Was it really necessary? I mean, yeah he's looked good so far but we're 4 weeks into a 3 year deal.


Seems like he's overreaching a bit here is all.

****Could Brown be next year's Heyward?****

No.

NEPP - If the Phils do pony up a little extra money and Werth is willing to backload his deal a bit, I could see him resigning here.

Phils do have alot of money already comittted in '12 as you noted but they also have a bunch of crappy contracts coming off the books too including Lidge, Ibanez, and Moyer.

People keep talking about JRoll as a key guy to resign but I don't know how crazy I am about the Phils giving a notable extension to a SS who will be 33 turning 34 in '12 either. Especially for a guy who depends so much on his legs for a part of his game.

Bigger issue is what they do with Hamels. If the Howard extension did anything, it likely meant that Hamels isn't going to be here long-term because of the cash it would require (potential frontline starter who will be just turning 28).

The problem with Jimmy is that we have no legit SS prospects in the system. Galvis has yet to prove that he can hit and he could very well be the next Brian Bocock. Letting him walk could leave a huge hole in the defense. Still, I agree that resigning a speed/legs guy in his Age 34 season isn't very smart.

Here's why Dom Brown and Jason Heyward is a bad comp:

1. Heyward was the consensus best position prospect in baseball and he's shown it. It wasn't even close either. Heyward is a good step up from the other top guys and its showing as he's done quite well at Age 20 in the Majors.

2. Heyward DESTROYED AA competition at Age 19 to the tune of a 1.054 OPS. Brown didn't even make it to AA until his Age 21 season and he did good but not great.

3. Brown MIGHT make his MLB debut at Age 23 whereas Heyward will likely be in his 3rd full season at that point.

ozark - i wasn't saying dump ibanez. i was saying sign werth now and keep brown in the minors this year and all next year as well. when ibanez leaves after his deal is up at the end of next year brown takes his place. an extra year of brown in the minors won't hurt anybody. in fact, it will give us an extra year of him before he hits free agency. i know i'm not the first person to bring this up, i'm just saying it makes so much sense.

My comparison b/w Brown and Heyward revolves around starting as a rookie and making an immediate impact on his team. Age isn't a factor in my humble analysis. The fact that he has all the tools and was/is the only untouchable in the organization is the basis for it.

The Sabermetrics aside – which in my guess are not favorable – the Howard deal is beyond stupid. This team has no starting pitching aside from a 32-year old feller who “…goes about his business…” the right way; no bullpen, and a lineup comprised of erratic sluggers who cannot for the life of them figure out small ball on a consistent basis. Oh yea, no pitching in the farm system either.

Hey Mr. Amaro: in major league baseball, pitching wins!! Always has, always will. How you can spend that kind of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on 1 player; likely already on the downside, while offering no relief (pun intended) to your tattered rotation and bullpen? This decision reeks of egoism over intelligent baseball and leadership.

Now that they all have their money, who cares? Oh wait, Rollins is playing for his next contract; he’ll carry us. HA! I’ve said it before; now I’m convinced. This is a 3rd or 4th place team, maybe 78 – 84 – behind Florida (NL East winners), Atlanta and you guessed it, the Nats. Maybe the Muts get back their pound of flesh, too and we have a cellar dweller in Philadelphia once again. Bad pitching (excluding Halladay) guarantees mediocrity! Geeesh.

****Oh yea, no pitching in the farm system either.****

Huh? Not in the upper minors maybe (outside of Aumont) but most teams would kill to have guys like Jarred Cosart and Trevor May in their system.

Major League Trade Rumors just posted a great write up on the 2012 Phillies contract obligations and how it will be difficult to field a full team of guaranteed talent unless some prospects start stepping up in a big way and in a hurry.

This deal means that Brown, Galvis, one of Gillies & Gose and two of Aumont, May, Cosart have to be the real deal and produce for league minimum or Philly's gonna be in a payroll bind. . . I hope someday (when Howard's inducted into the HOF?) I look back and say I was wrong, Howard was the greatest Phillie ever and completely earned the contract, I just don't see it. Has a deal this big ever worked for any team Soriano with the Cubs? Nope. Wells with Toronto? Nope. A-Rod with Texas? Nope. This just isn't going to end well, I think.

The concern about Howard's health does not take into account his work ethic. We've seen no reason to suppose Howard is prone to injury. Maintaining health after 30 is a matter of simply working harder, and working hard is something Howard has shown he can do. We have Jamie Moyer to prove that maintaining fitness is possible well past 30.

All that said, I'm with those who complain that $25 mill was unnecessary. Howard should be fun to watch for a few more years, but good grief, what if team performance drops off a little and the bucks stop rolling in so quickly? How can they rebuilt a club with a nut that size eating the budget? It's an intemperate move, and the Phillies are going to regret it.

God help us if any of our core guys go down with a major injury. We're screwed at that point.

From Jayson Stark:
"This contract means that, over the first 10 seasons of his career, Howard will earn approximately $190.5 million. No player -- not A-Rod, not Mauer, not Derek Jeter, not Albert Pujols -- has equaled that number, in this or any other era."

*So the Phillies think Ryan Howard is the best player, because they're certainly rewarding him like he is?

I'd really love Rube to explain why this happened now. Why were they even negotiating with Howard at this point? How was this deal at the top of the pile on things to do?

Wouldn't Werth have been higher? Wouldn't getting another starter have been higher?

Gm-Carson, I understand being a cynic, but dude, you're taking it to a whole new level.

ReBurb: One man's cynicism is another man's reality.

ON TOPIC...I just didn't see the need to do this now. RAJ could have waited another year.

Off Topic...BAP, PLEASE don't go to any more Phillies games. Rumor has it they never win when you're in the ballpark. OMG, you even jinxed our ace.

Really, I'm a cynic? Guess all these facts and trends I'm laying out are completely bogus then? Go ahead ReBurb, turn your a blind eye.

BAP wasn't at last night's game.

Rube's tenure could end prematurely if one of his feel good gestures (with other peoples money) proves to be foolhardy. The timing of the Rollins extension was puzzling, but this is taking it to a whole new level.

Never said the trends were bogus. Just stating a fact that you are taking Negadelphian to a new level ever since your Hamels rant the other night.

And I'm not turning a blind eye. I have the same concerns you do, but I also realize that Howard has been one of the most productive Phillies of all time and should continue to be over the next 3-4 years. I'll worry about this contract in 2015.

Sorry if I erred on BAP's attendance at the game. I saw this a couple days ago and thought he was going...

sophist: Halladay is not infallible. He will lose games this year. Tomorrow's game is a strong candidate, since Sanchez is precisely the type of tough lefty the Phillies can't hit to save their lives. Plus, I'll be at the game and I can't even remember the last time the Phillies won a game which I attended. It almost never happens.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 07:26 PM

Jim Thome's Career OBP: .404
Jim Thome's Career BB%: 17.1%

Ryan Howard has had one season of OBP above .404 and has never had a season with a BB% of 17.1%. Ryan Howard's career YEAR is comparable with Jim Thome's TOTAL career.

I served with Jim Thome. I knew Jim Thome. Jim Thome was a friend of mine. Ryan Howard you are no Jim Thome

According to bat f/x, Howard has the best bat speed in the game and its not even close. He could lose a little and still have elite bat speed.

ReBurb: Ruben Amaro is paid to worry about the contract (that he just awarded) before 2015. That's the criticism. Not that Howard won't be productive for another couple years. Howard sign's a 2 or 3 year extension for $25 per, I think people'd be a lot less critical. It's that last $50-75 million that's likely to hurt. Olney notes that Howard's contract is un-tradable the day he signed it. That doesn't portend good things (and tells you he wasn't going to get it on the open market).

What if Ryan averages 45/130 for the next 4 years and then gets hit by a bus...dropping to 25/80 the final 3. Is that worth it? That's about what he'd have to do to make it a fair deal.

I can see it as possible.

If Howard is worth this contract, what outrageous number is Pujols going to get?

Beerleaguer is going to be hilarious in 2017 when Howard is making 28 million a year to platoon with somebody. The thing about this contract that scares me the most is by 2017 Phils fans should be honoring him for having a long and (hopefully) great career in Philly. Instead I think he's going to be getting booed for making 28 million a year to only play vs RH pitching.

I see some are tripping over themselves to go full out against the deal. I just have to shake my head at some people.

As for the "comps" Carson listed a little perspective is necessary because it isn't as easy as saying things are 1 to 1 in contrast:

Ortiz- Couple things. it came out he was using steroids. Also in 2008 (his first down year) he lost Manny in front of him in the line-up. Don't underestimate taking one of the best hitters of the past 20 years out of the line-up. Last year he started slow but still finished with almost 30 home runs and 100 RBI's

Giambi- Another steroid guy. Also at age 35 he hit 37 home runs and had 113 RBI's. At age 37 he had 32 and 96. I guess you could call that not aging well.

Troy Glaus- Stupid comparison because he is only 33 and has a history of injuries.

Mo Vaughn- At age 32 hit 36 home runs and knocked in 117. He then didn't play until 2002 again when he went for 26 and 72. the knock on Vaughn was always that he didn't work hard enough and was a sloth. The past two offseasons there have been tons of stories about Howard working hard to improve aspects of his game. Complete opposite of Vaughn.

Frank Thomas- Age 35 he hit 42 home runs and knocked in 105 RBI's. The next two years he battled injury but still hit 30 home runs and had 77 RBI's in 108 games. Also a bad comparison by Carson because he was pretty much a DH from age 29 on.

Scott Rolen- His best season came at 29. Another guy who battled back injuries through his career and playing a large portion of his career early on turf didn't help. Also, this is the first time I've ever seen Rolen listed as a "big man"

Cecil Fielder- Another guy who seemed to get sloth like as he moved on in his career. Also, was a liability defensively so he was converted to a DH as he moved on- not in an attempt to keep him healthy.

Jim Thome- At age 35 he hit 42 home runs and had 109 RBI's. Followed that up with 35 and 96, and 34 and 90 at ages 36 and 37. Some drop off there. Also, he was a DH because they had Konerko as well.

Couple things in Howard's favor are that he has shown an ability to work on the weak parts of his game and he shows up to camp every year in shape and ready to play. He is listed at 255 but is more of a muscular build than anything.

I like the deal in spite of the money issues tentatively and here's why. For years, us fans watched the best players on this team consistently walk because of a reluctance to spend money. For years, this team was a joke in the league with people not wanting to come here and play. Over the past 3 years the Phillies and management have raised this team's pedigree around the league and have shown a propensity to try and go for the throat. As I said yesterday, Tom Verducci and Peter Gammons said on MLB Network that we need to start referring tot his team as a super-power along with the Yankees and Red Sox. 10 years ago did you ever think you would hear that? In the past year we traded for the best pitchers on the market and now we gave a substantial deal to a guy who is a legitimate franchise player. All these moves raise the profile of the team around the league to players. It makes Philadelphia look like a destination.

Amaro probably overplayed a little but if he waits to see what Adrian and Pujols and Prince grab on the market it may set the price way to high. Pujols gives you average with power, but Howard gives you an equal (or little higher) amount of power. Pujols is a better all-around player but I'd wager the league sees them closer than you think money wise.

By 2012 we should have some young guys in the system ready to come up and should be able to field cheap help at certain positions.

Lastly, the biggest reason I'm OK with this is I'm a gambling man. If I'm gonna lose by playing my best hand than so be it. Howard is a huge force to this team and the franchise. You can either let him walk at age 33 and hope you can find similar production on the market or you can roll the dice and hope he keeps 90% of what he has given you over the past 6 seasons. I'll take the chance and push all in with Howard. Even if he gives you Fred McGriff type numbers at 37 (31 home runs and 102 RBI's) it's far from a huge bust.

Pujols will probably come in at 7 years, $200-210 million total and be more than worth every single penny.

People whinging on about this contract need to realize that to sign a 30 year old star player requires you to over pay for a couple of years at the end of the deal.
Players and management know that players decline as they age. They've known this forever. Before PECOTA even.
Do you think it goes down like this:
RAJ "Ok how about 2 years, because you might not be good after turning 35?"
RH "I'll be good forever!"
RAJ "no look at these numbers"
RH "Oh ok you're right. I might decline in a few years, so lets renegaotiate then."
The teams spread the money out over years, rather than lumping it all at the front. Would you alls sleep better if he was making $30 a year at the front end and something like $25 a year at the back?"
Also, one can mess about with the numbers until Ryan Howard or really any other player is reasonably replaceable with a much cheaper player. Ok you can get 85% of Howard's performance for 50% of the cost. Sounds good right? Do that enough and you've got a 80 win team out there. Cost effective and that, but what's the point?

Two and three years ago, I argued long and loud that Howard wasn't worth as high a proportion of the team's payroll as he'd represented. I'm not so convinced of that now. The Phillies are sort of unimaginable without him. CBP was made for him. He's showed signs of making adjustments, improved his conditioning and his overall game.

I think what really drove the Phillies here, beyond these reasons, is the sense of continuity. This extension is consistent with the values of stability and loyalty that this organization strives to present. They are married to the idea of having long-term 'franchise players' along the lines of Mike Schmidt.

It can be said that this is done more in the service of 'business sense', appeasement of and marketability to a fan base, but what it also does is solidify the identity of this once aimless franchise into one with, finally, a real presence in baseball, one that can be held in legitimate and widespread respect by everyone associated with the game. So say what you want about the mentality that appears to have been behind this premature contract - and I do recognize that it's not at all unlike the mentality that fueled Bill Giles' well-intentioned delusions - but I appreciate it on the grounds that it demonstrates the Phillies are aspiring to be more like the Yankees these days than the Brewers or Astros.

Howard's age doesn't really bother me in this deal. He has been very durable in his career. Regularly logs 158+ games and has gotten in better shape as the years progress. I don't expect him to go Willie Stargell on us and take every 4th day off. From what I can see, he takes care of himself and he is in an environment that is conducive to keeping with that program. Stargell, for instance, played on a team and in an era where taking care of yourself meant finishing your drinks and getting your lady home before the paper landed on your stoop.

I would like the deal much more if Howard had demonstrated improvement against lefties and in 2 strike counts. He needs to make strides in those areas far more than he needs to master the throw to 2d base.

Not a lot of room for nuance in this poll. I voted favorable, just because I want to believe in Howard and he has done great things in stretches for this team his whole career to this point. The tough part about a Howard is that, mixed in with those stretches where he absolutely carries a team, are bouts of unrivaled futility.

But while I have questions about it, I think that Howard is committed to getting better every year, and is a superstar worthy of locking up.

And, importantly, this move is as good for making sure another team doesn't get him as it is for us getting him. He could be the difference maker on a lot of other teams. He goes to ANY other team in our division, for example, and one could then make a case for THAT team to become the pennant-winning favorite in 2011 -- including even Washington (though admittedly that last one is a bit of a stretch.)

Also, Howard isn't anywhere close to improving against lefties, in fact every season he gets worse (including this year so far). He kills righties enough to keep his OPS high though. But really, he'll never come close to that magically 1.000+ OPS again like he had in '06. He has tremendous power and a knack for collecting rbi...great!!! However, he plays a position deep with talent in the Majors and it's not like the Phils couldn't have let him walk after 2011 and signed a lesser first basemen that was still very good and allocate the money for other pressing needs around the diamond.

•The age-32 season of a first baseman whose numbers overall have been in decline through age 30,


This is MLBtraderumors looking at the phils 2012 season. ummm do they have a crystal ball?? They put this bullet point up there like its face. Are they basing this on the drop in OBP the first three weeks of the season. There is so much crap out there about ryan howard. He's like the bambino of doubters, misconceptions, and skeptics.

I love Mlb trade rumors but that write up is ridiculous. crikey the sky is falling the sky is falling.

I voted "Favorable". As a fan, I like the fact that I'm going to be able to see the bulk of Howard's career right here in Philly. Besides which, just because the Phillies have money does not mean they'll spend it wisely ... or at all. The most "pressing needs around the diamond" this past offseason were bullpen, bullpen, bullpen & finding another decent starter (that is, in addition to Halladay, as losing Lee & gaining Roy basically cancel each other out). Instead, we heard a lot of BS about how guys were "going to step up" in the 'pen, & Hamels was going to rebound. Ooops. All-in-all I'll take locking up one of the classier, talented & flat-out fun to watch sluggers in team (if not league) history over whatever detritus the market produces in '11-'12.

RSB - Great post.

And if the Phils let Howard walk after 2011, they would've been killed for letting the best power hitting in franchise history walk. Darned if they do, Darned if they don't.

I voted "unfavorable" but I'm kinda blah about it. I love Howard and am glad they'll have him long term, I just worry about the "what if they have that large unmovable contract" scenario.

Also: seeing the pitching as of late, every time I hear about the Phillies and money, I think of Cliff Lee.

I love the idea Howard will be a Phil for his entire career, but I really fear that we'll be looking at this team in 4 seasons or so and saying that we can't compete because 45 million of payroll is tied up in 2 players. For RAJ to come out before the season and state that the team can't have "a bunch of players making 15 mil per" and then consistently give out contracts like this...well, they've done a pretty good job of hamstringing the team with bad contracts (Moyer, Lidge, Ibanez), questionable contracts (Polanco, Blanton, Victorino) and HUGE contracts to great players (Howard, Halladay). You add it all up, and the "payroll flexibility" people have been talking about is completely gone, and I don't see much room for budget growth either. Unless the Phils are prepared to step into Yankees territory, this deal is too much money at the wrong time for Howard.

Also: seeing the pitching as of late, every time I hear about the Phillies and money, I think of Cliff Lee.

-Same, and how Hamels could've been our 5th starter(with the righty Blanton separating Happ and Hamels)

-on the bright side, Aumont looks fantastic in Reading.

A-Train: I had planned to go to the game, but then my plans changed to go to Wednesday's day game instead. Then they changed again to go to neither. The Phillies must not have gotten the memo, because they sure played the way they usually do when I'm there.

On the Howard deal, I guess I'm in the undecided camp too. Objectively speaking, this is very likely a bad deal. I would have liked it a lot better if it took effect in 2011 because then the deal would only take us through his age 35 seasons. But, unfortunately, it doesn't take effect until after his current contract is up. That's not a point in its favor.

Nonetheless, I also agree with RSB & gobaystars. The Phillies' time is now & Howard is the engine that makes them work. If you have to overpay him in money & years to help expand our window for another couple of years, it's probably worth it. And I agree with TTI that all of these comps are pretty stupid, since every player is different and several of the players cited as aging poorly actually aged pretty well (well enough to be worth $25M per year? Never mind).

Amaro is gambling that Howard is the type of once-in-a-generation power hitter who is going to defy the odds and remain at an elite level into his mid 30s. I hope he's right.

People who can should check out Matt Swartz' article on BP.com. Takes into account inflation and has a more skeptical eye for PECOTA projections. Good piece of writing.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10677

Funniest part of Jayson Stark's article on Howard signing:

"Then it's Jimmy Rollins' turn after 2011. And between now and 2012, the Phillies will have huge decisions to make about Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino. Among others."

Huge decisions to make on Lidge & Ibanez? Even JRoll isn't as big a deal as people make because I wonder what he is going to be like in another 2 years & don't see him being nearly as irreplaceable.

What bothers me most about Howard's contract is that he has been in the majors for some time and he hasn't learned to lay off sucker pitches in the dirt or well out of the strike zone. This weakness accounts for his frequent slumps and is a real liability. Unless the bases are loaded, I can't think of a reason to ever throw a strike to Howard.It's because of this flaw in his game that a time may come within the next year or two when the 40+ HRs are a thing of the past. If this contract means that the Phils will let Werth walk, it will be their undoing, as Werth is the better ballplayer in my view. Yes, Howard has put up monster numbers, and when he gets into the zone, he is terrific. But his inability to lay off bad pitches is bound to catch up with him sooner or later.

I have always kind of thought of Howard as this generation's Harmon Killebrew. Obviously, there are lots of differences. Killebrew was right-handed, drew tons of walks, and didn't strike out as much (though he struck out a lot for his day). Like Howard, though, Killebrew was a pure power hitter. You didn't mind the fact that he didn't hit for high average; what mattered was that he hit 40 to 45 homeruns almost every season.

Killebrew hit 41 homeruns in his age 34 season, and had 29 homers and 119 RBIs in his age 35 season.

Sophist - Thanks for that link. I wonder if Schwartz is working full-time for Baseball Prospectus or just writing in his spare time.

He does a pretty good job of looking at it but that is really the question for the Phils. Does Howard experience a more gradual failoff or does his production drop like a rock at 34 or 35.

Historical numbers and the more advanced stats give you some context but still an exercise in 'what-ifs'. I would like those 'what-ifs' more though if the Phils could use Howard at DH especially the last two years of the deal.

I mean I agree Hitman Howard has only hit 40+ home runs for four straight years and been in the top five in MVP voting those four years. You are completely right he is done and might struggle to even hit 15 home runs from here on out.

****Huge decisions to make on Lidge & Ibanez?****

Well, they have to figure out what type of gold watch to buy them...when to have them back for 08 Alumni promotions, etc etc.

My main question is how much $25 million will be worth in the relative and always rising scale of baseball player salaries. Not only will inflation make that number seem smaller in the next 7 years, but there will b (as there always is) salary inlfation - especially for power hitters. It might be a bad deal in the last couple years of the contract, but not as bad as $25 million to a 37 year old Howard would be in 2010. And from a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Barring an injury (knock on wood) we will be seeing #6 Phillies jerseys for a long time to come.

* Raul not part of the '08 squad, would not be eligible for '08 Alumni events.

It's not just about saying "I think Howard will age well and still be able to hit 35 HRs and get 120 RBIs at age 35."

You're paying him to be the 2nd-best player in all of baseball, as of right now (though Pujols will surely knock him down a peg). Objective analysts are going to look at that and say, even if Howard does give you 35 and 120, you're probably still massively overpaying a guy who doesn't get on base anymore at a really high clip, and plays average defense at a not very important defensive position. The guys who deserve to be paid the best money are the guys that do everything--Pujols, Utley, A-Rod, Mauer. Those guys literally contribute in every way on a baseball field. Howard is a power hitter--a fantastic one, but that's really a ton of money to spend on a guy who doesn't do everything well.

If the Phillies had an unlimited payroll, I wouldn't care all that much (though I still might worry about a 35-36 year old Howard at any price). But if we do have a budget, then this might end up causing serious problems. Howard is worth a lot of money right now--probably around 18-20 million dollars (which happens to be what we're actually paying him). But the older he gets, most likely, the less he's going to be worth, and we just raised his salary instead.

What's the rush to sign him? How many other teams can afford a $25-million player? And how many big-market teams need a first baseman?
The Yankees don't. The Angels don't. The Red Sox don't.

The fiscally sound move would have been to work a trade w/ Washington: Howard for Adam Dunn, straight up.

Also, the Reading Eagle Feed continues to act up, preventing me from sharing my brilliant insights & cutting witticisms w/out waiting an interminable amount of time for the Post A Comment box to appear.

Shrewd, JW ... shrewd.

I'm not sure how useful it is to compare a 30 something player in the 2010s with a 30 something player in the 1980s, for instance. Exercise physiology and medical procedures are completely different now. Sports medicine is no longer "put some Windex on it."

Andy - The jersey question is what I wonder about too. You look at Cameron's explanation for marginal win values and it's pretty brute. I wonder how it accounts for player's like Howard, whose value beyond simply "adding wins" in the WAR-sense is greater than almost any player in baseball. The Phils probably have their own data on what Howard is worth to them from a revenue perspective. Now, I doubt it accounts for some projected WAR value, but I don't doubt they know the value of Howard branding or the value of 70+ sell-outs (driven by guys like Howard) every year from 2010 to 2017.

Jack - it's too early to tell the relative value of Howard's salary. In 2012, when it starts to kick in, and in 2015, a few years in, I doubt he'll be the highest paid player (by some measures).

Good catch on Ibanez...I should have said, "scheduling 09 NL Pennant winner Alumni nights" instead.

I do think its a bit funny that Howard is now making a good chunk more than Joe Mauer. Raise your hand if you wouldn't trade Howard for Mauer in a heartbeat...

Good comparison to Stargell by Dukes on the last thread. Stargell was about 6-3, 220 (not sure where BB-ref got his weight (188) from but not from books of that era. He was a big guy.) Much closer in body type to Howard than Vaughn or Fielder.

Also think mike cunningham has a good point: How do we know the NL won't adopt the DH in the next couple years? As I recall it only lost by 1 vote the last time.

Finally, Jack correctly points out that Utley is a better all-around player than Howard and presumably deserves a higher salary. The problem with that line of thinking is that it ignores the fact that hitting HRs is the single most valuable skill in baseball. That is why HR hitters have been traditionally paid more than great all-around players (except for all-around players who also hit 50 HRs).

Utley will never hit 45 HRs. Howard has done it 4 straight years. You can make a pretty good argument that that is more valuable then Utley's all-around skills.

Whether the Phillies overpaid remains to be seen. Unlike Carson, I think salaries will continue to escalate.

My take on this is that the Phillies clearly want to be seen as a powerhouse and a destination franchise. Ryan Howard is your quintessential franchise player--not as talented at all around play as Chase Utley or a Jimmy Rollins--but he hits the ball really, really far. He's easy to market, has a big smile and doesn't cause trouble. He's been ROY, MVP, MVP of the NLCS, won the HR Derby and been an All Star. He's a dream for any baseball team. The Phils are showing that they take care of their players, specifically those who have long been devoted and delivered for the team. Whether that is a foolhardy approach remains to be seen, but I can't fault their efforts. It sure beats being a Marlins or Pirates fan and watching every decent player you ever had play for other big market teams.

Perhaps the budget issue is being a bit overstated--and I include myself on that list--with every single move it appears more and more that the budget appears flexible and not as rigid as originally thought.

What if we really could be like the Yankees? Lord knows Middleton has the scratch for it. And he loves Howard. Just sayin'.

A few things:
1. Why would anyone say "way to go Rube"... he handed a guy a gigantic pile of money? How hard is that? What happened to the negotiatior? Olney's point is dead on. No one would trade for this contract. I have no problem with taking the chance of locking Howard up, but what for that long and that much(already more than he's worth yearly).. 4 or 5 at 80-100 mil would have still been a risk but at least one that fell in the realm of reasonable and where both sides could be seen as making a concession. Did Howard's agent write the contract and Rube agreed without making a counteroffer?
2. "The thing about this contract that scares me the most is by 2017 Phils fans should be honoring him for having a long and (hopefully) great career in Philly. Instead I think he's going to be getting booed for making 28 million a year to only play vs RH pitching." That's the most annoying part of the deal. I love Howard, and hate that now he's guaranteed to end his career being defined by his contract, instead of the great player he is.
3. For people arguing against his comps by saying "he's shown he'll work hard to get better"... ummm, is your assumption that the other players didn't? Is Howard's work ethic so incredible that he can overcome the effects of aging?

Maybe Middleton & Co gave Rube the okay to raise payroll in the next couple years...stranger things have happened.

Maybe Betz is finally gonna sell out and her share can go to him giving him full control.

clout: Makes a good point about rising salaries. The MLBPA is too strong to go for a salary cap and as the Florida shaming case showed, even the alleged little guys have money. Add to that that the economy is likely to continue to improve, which should further increase revenues, and the Phillies may have actually outperformed the market by inking Howard 18 months out.

NEPP - The Twins got good value on Mauer. I also posted yesterday that it depends on how you measure it. If you measure the extension's they signed:

$184/8 - Mauer. $23M/yr. 2011-2018.
$189/9 - Howard. $21M/yr. 2009-2017 w/ buyout.
or
$202/9 - Howard. $22.4/yr. 2009-2018 w/ option.

Or you could just measure '11 on, I guess.

$184/8 - Mauer. $23M/yr.
$145/7 - Howard. $20.7M/yr.
$158/7 - Howard. $22.57M/yr.

Mauer is making less in the early parts of the deal, but that's how the CBA works. Mauer has less service time and never went to arb. with the Twins.

A question does become, how much do we HAVE to give Utley now after 2013? If Ryno is making $25 per, then Uts should get at least $20 per and that will be tough to handle salary wise. He's more than worth it (assuming the hip holds up) but its a dicey proposition to lock up that much money in the right side of your infield.

Imagine this comment section if the Phillies had done their usual routine: waited until Howard approached free agency and then said they couldn't afford the asking price.

A commitment from the front office to a key part of this championship club, as well as a commitment from a star player to this team and city is a *good* thing.

It's big money, but home run guys draw fans. And his marketing appeal is also a part of this business equation.

If he becomes an unbearable defensive liability in 5 years, he will still have trade value as a big name DH.

I'm looking at this as a step to bring this franchise more in line with other big city, big spending teams.

Mauer is also a favorite son in Minnesota. It'd be like if Howard grew up in West Chester and was our star player...and take away Utley/Rollins as leaders on the team franchise wise.

As a fan, i am very pleased to see Howard in Philly for the next several years. Hopefully the benefits of having him around by time he is 35 will make the remainder of the contract irrelevant to its success.

As a wannabe gm type, its a huge risk which would scare the hell out of me, which i think is the point of view that most of the detractors are taking.

Amaro and his crew know what they want, and they go out and get it - that has been made pretty clear for some time now. They take the risks that many other hesitant men would not make.

In the end, I think i would rather rest my fate in going out and getting what you want by taking risks instead of hanging back and playing everything safe while opportunities may pass you by.

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