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Saturday, January 28, 2012


Awh - yeah its such a shame that I'm not mentally apt as you since I don't believe that not signing Papelbon at the exact moment in time would have morphed the world that we know today into an alternate universe where all of a sudden 2012 free agent relievers become the hottest commodity on the market and every one if them gets great deals that make paps look like a steal.

I envy your mental capacity of handling logic, or maybe its your fondness of talking complete bs all the time - one or the other.

While I could really understand discussing acquiring somebody exciting like Zimmerman, this frequent desiring of Headley and Wright on this board reminds me of this....


So, Raul's Grandpa, we have to have an All-Star at every position? I'm talking actual real-world moves that might help to improve the team, not fantasy moves. There's no way in Hades that the Phils could afford Zimmerman, but Headley is doable.

Sohpist: "Hopefully he crushes in Spring Training and we see an opening day lineup with Brown in left and Mayberry at first."

bingo, the quicker DOM turns into a MLB player, the quicker this team is at its best. Hoping for stiffs like Wigginton and Nix to hit their platoon splits is a waste of ambition.

Strawman, lorecore. We were discussing the Howard contract, not the Papelbon contract.

If you want to discuss the Papelbon contract I'm happy to do so, but the application of logic is the same.

Don't blame me if you can't follow.

awh - I don't think it's that your exhaustive analysis was so hard to follow.

Look, it's pretty easy in hindsight to make up all kinds of stuff. Howard would have babied his achilles, he would have played through pain, etc. These things are unknowable.

What I would say is that if the team and the medical staff had any inkling that continued playing and steroid injections would have led to a rupture of the tendon, they would not have allowed Howard to play. In the old days, teams would treat their players like cattle, but that doesn't often happen these days.

It's very simple. Either they would have continued to play Howard, just as they did, and the same thing would have happened. Or they would have rested him out of concern for his health. Either way, his value is diminished. His next contract would have been for less, or it would have been a short term "prove it" contract. And as one who doesn't think his achilles had a whole lot to do with his less productive bat, since his game isn't exactly built on speed, I don't see how he gets anything like the contract he now has.

If his achilles was affecting his stroke for the last two years, maybe I'm wrong and he recovers and is the Howard of old. But I think that's a major stretch.

Maybe we can now put this to rest. Your speculation is just that. I hated the deal the day they signed it and continue to think it was a mistake. So far, I'm a lot more correct than you. And over the next five years, I hope he earns every penny of it. And I fully expect Clout to make a decision on the contract in 2020. Because hindsight is always 2020.

Obviously just a guess but I very easily could've seen Howard getting a contract this off season for 6 or 7 years with an AAV around 22 or 23 million. 21 at the lowest. People like to think that teams won't spend that way but they still do

TTI - Your fantasy is just as good as anyone's. But it is clearly fantasy. And the fact that you don't see it is typical.

Aksmith- I hope the irony is not lost on you that anyone could replace my handle with yours and say the exact same thing.

Yeah, but they'd be wrong.

TTI - I'm going to try to see your point of view here. First, tell me one team that would spend that money on RyHow. I'm curious which team would do that.

And realize that Prince Fielder is healthy, much younger, and has been more productive more recently and he got around 23 million per season from Detroit.

Isn't it much more likely that Ryan would have been forced to take a "prove it" contract for a year or two, at lower dollars than that? Especially considering his injury, but absent that, his declining production?

'Meh' on Oswalt. Phils don't win the NL East so easily in 2010 without his contributions down the stretch but he was a washout in 2011. Caught 3 of his starts last year and it wasn't that fun watching him pitch in-person as he labored to even get through 6 IP. He was also mediocre at best in his 4 playoff starts with the Phils. Certainly no difference-maker as a 3/4 in 2010 or 2011.

His 'silently and strong' act kind of wore thing with me too. Didn't tell the staff he was hurt in SD last year. Plus, he had the infamous 'tractor' incident which was one of the funny reactions I have seen Amaro give when he was asked about it on Comcast. You could tell he was incredibly aggravated.

Have to see how the contract will play out, but all we are doing is restating what the possibilities were at the time of the deal. Howard could have ruptured his achilles in May of 2010 and never played again; then we have something like the present reality; or Howard could have continued at 140+ OPS+ and Gonzalez could have signed for $30M+ AAV, making Howard's ability to get something in between his current extension and Prince's deal more likely.

It wasn't an awful, awful deal when it was made, and it was applauded by many Phillies fans who like to see their team spending, locking down homegrown players, etc.. But aksmith is supported by the fact that what has actually happened was a reasonably foreseeable result and doesn't paint the contract in a good light. To me, the biggest problem was the lack of a "discount" for locking him up early.

I just think it's a bit silly to blame any lack of spending on his contract. The Phils just aren't going to field $5M+ players at every position and every bench position. This continues to be my favorite statement concerning the deal:

You say: “There is no defending this deal.”

I’m sorry, David, I like your work a lot, but that is exactly the kind of emphatic statements that have no place in the search for objective knowledge about baseball. It is the kind of thing that sets sabermetrics back all the time, because so often do these type of statements come out wrong that they make us all look foolish. You’re a big name in the industry, one who has been spotlighted for your analysis. You represent all of us to some people. How could you make such an emphatic claim with such a small percentage of the knowable information. Is it a bad deal? Probably. Is it there a 0% chance that it works out well? That is ridiculous. Sabermetrics could do little more harmful than losing its understanding of standard deviations. Finding out what would justify the deal is exactly how Tango and I both started our analysis, and we are both skeptical. But saying that there is no reason to defend the deal, all because you have a $/WAR estimate for 2010 that is based on a projection method that overestimates expected WAR by a lot, and then taking the variety of possibilities that extend into 2016 and picking one to dismiss the deal as defenseless-- that is where sabermetrics is going to turn people off. A little humility from the sabmeretric world should be expected. Doubtful about the deal-- good. Uninterested in thought-- bad. Be careful.

The single dumbest thing about the Howard contract was Amaro paid a 10-20% inflated price for 3 months of 'certainty' when he easy could have decided to lock up Howard in the '10 offseason.

MG, yes. At the same time, I just find it short-sighted to blame all lack of spending on the deal. At the time, the concern was what would happen to Werth and Rollins. Werth got a ridiculous deal from the Nats, but Rollins got resigned to a reasonable deal and at the same time the Phils payroll increased by ~$30M (and will increase again this year), including committing ~$60M to the 2011 rotation.

I think concerns that Howard's deal would hamstring the Phils would have been put to rest if you had known the Phils, while losing Werth, would (i) acquire Pence; (ii) Lee; (iii) continue to pay Hamels; (iv) extend Rollins; (v) trade for Oswalt; (vi) commit all that money to Papelbon.

Sophist - No its not but it wasn't exactly the smartest gamble and the overpaying by 10-20% for the '3 months of certainty' is just piss poor execution & largely gets overlooked.

Why I hated the Papelbon signing this year. Everything including the Phils' own recent experience with signing veteran closers to long-term, large deals show they are a terrible idea yet Amaro went ahead & did it away.

smitty, by your response, you demonstrate that you have the same reading comprehension problems that Jbird has.

Let's revisit what I wrote:

"Do you think, if he didn't have the security of a long term deal, Ryan Howard would have played on a bad Achilles tendon in 2011 knowing he could tear it and f88k up any chance he had of getting paid in free agency?"

Let's take a look at it again, with the operative words in CAPS:

"Do you think, if HE didn't have the security of a long term deal, RYAN HOWARD would have played on a bad Achilles tendon in 2011 knowing he could tear it and f88k up any chance HE had of getting paid in free agency?"

Using the same technique to analyze, your response was:

"What I would say is that if THE TEAM and the medical staff had any inkling that continued playing and steroid injections would have led to a rupture of the tendon, THEY would not have allowed Howard to play. In the old days, teams would treat their players like cattle, but that doesn't often happen these days.

It's very simple. Either THEY would have continued to play Howard, just as they did, and the same thing would have happened. Or THEY would have rested him out of concern for his health."

So basically, your response indicates you think Ryan Howard, his agent, and the MLBPA play no part in the decisions regarding his health - that it's all THE TEAM'S decision.

You do realize, don't you, that that is in some contradiction to the sentence about teams treating their players like cattle? Because if, as you are stating, that it's entirely THE TEAM's decision, and that the player has no input, that's part and parcel to exactly that.

What evidence do you have - other than your own opinion - that RYAN HOWARD WOULD have continued to play without the security of a long-term deal?

Then, there is this. You write:

"Look, it's pretty easy in hindsight to make up all kinds of stuff. .... These things are unknowable."

and then you go on to by definition, "make stuff up", because it’s only your opinion of what would have happened.

You see smitty, what you are is someone who is applying a double standard.

You admit that "these things are unknowable", yet in the face of that very statement, your own, you "make stuff up" to suit your own narrative. Then, you summarily dismiss someone else's alternative narrative by stating the obvious, that " it's pretty easy in hindsight to make up all kinds of stuff.”

By definition, if "these things are unknowable", then any 'alternative history' YOU or I propose is "making stuff up".

But you then go on to make a definitive statement that Howard's "next contract would have been for less". Yet, for another player, all the published evidence was that he, Prince Fielder, was going to have difficulty securing the contract he eventually got - but he got it. In light of that, what makes you think Howard couldn’t have gotten a 5-year deal at a higher AAV – other than your own opinion - especially if a bidding war ensued?

You seem to assume that Howard would have re-sign with the Phillies if he had become an FA? Last I checked St. Louis lost their first baseman and had to move their RF there, and now have a bit of a void in RF. Do you possibly think that Ryan Howard, a St. Louis native and Cardinal fan as a kid, wouldn't have considered a job with them? Do you think, with Fielder and Pujols off the market the Phillies might have made every effort to keep Howard, one of the faces of their team and an important Big Piece of their marketing efforts? Do you think, that perhaps, with 2 teams bidding for him, a projected to be healthy Howard who took himself out of the lineup so he wouldn’t seriously hurt himself might not have been able to secure a multi-year deal? Why not?

Oh, I forgot. It’s YOUR OPINION that that couldn’t have happened, and anyone who raises the POSSIBILITY is just making stuff up.

But TTI, or anyone else is engagin in "making stuff up".

Yep, double standard.

"Werth got a ridiculous deal from the Nats, but Rollins got resigned to a reasonable deal"

Sophist, this is exactly right.

What that demonstrates is that the FA market is dynamic, strange, and not always efficient.

Many people here, obviously, by their statements, believe that it is somehow efficient.

They are simply wrong.

Isn't it much more likely that Ryan would have been forced to take a "prove it" contract for a year or two, at lower dollars than that? Especially considering his injury, but absent that, his declining production?


aksmith: Why would he have been forced to take a "prove it" contract? Could it be because that is what supports your point? Also, this is part of the problem with how you view the situation. You try to hold certain variables constant and then change everything else. You can't change things and then try to keep the injury the same. Do I think the injury would've hurt his value some? Sure. But not as much as you seem to think it does.

I'm going to try to see your point of view here. First, tell me one team that would spend that money on RyHow. I'm curious which team would do that.


I'll play your game. Assume everyone that lost out on Pujols and Fielder would've been in. That gives you the Cardinals, Nationals, and Cubs. The Dodgers also had a 7 year/160 million offer out to Fielder. I wouldn't have ruled out the Marlins either since they were thinking of trading Hanley to clear space for Fielder. They could've easily made a huge splash by signing away a division rivals big bat and then flipped Gaby Sanchez for a useful piece. The Orioles could have gotten involved. They were looking to spend big on Tex a few years ago. Maybe the Rangers get involved and kick the tires a little. They were putting out feelers to Fielder. If Fielder signed elsewhere first maybe the Brewers get involved on Howard. Brian Sabean loves spending money out west so the Giants could've been in.

Simple fact to remember is this. No one had the Tigers in on this deal until it happened because there was no natural spot for Prince. They made the deal and are going to find a way to play everyone. There are quite a few teams in the AL that may have made a play simply because they have the ability to DH Howard at the back end of the contract.

The single dumbest thing about the Howard contract was Amaro paid a 10-20% inflated price for 3 months of 'certainty' when he easy could have decided to lock up Howard in the '10 offseason.

MG: Maybe Amaro paid the slightly higher price for the ability to give less years. Which is the better of the two deals (and if you don't like either which is the lesser of two evils) 5 years, 125...or 7 years 170 million. I'd take the former over the latter. I think what we have seen is that had Amaro waited he would've needed to go 7 years to keep Howard. Not 9 or 10, but 7.

Sophist - I certainly would never have criticized the deal if Rube had gotten some kind of hometown discount. The fact that he jumped early and didn't get one is actually pretty amazing and represents a symptom of Rube Contractability Disorder that we've seen played out a couple of times.

I am and have been a Howard fan. I did not see the steep decline in production coming. But tying up a big bodied slugger at top dollar needs to be done by getting at least some kind of hometown discount.

I also like to see the team tie up its homegrown talent. I would have loved to see them keep Ryan Madson, and especially at a couple million per year discount to Papelbon. Something like 3/30 and an option for a fourth year would certainly have been a fair deal, and one that Madson might have gone for. Again, Rube would have had to show a patience that he hasn't often shown to accomplish this.

But a couple million less for Howard per year and a couple million less for Madson might have equaled having Cordero set up (just a for instance) and Madson close rather than what they're looking at now. They may be fine, but who knows?

I wanted to thank everybody here for their support. This is one of the best crowds in baseball and I will miss you all. I will still come back once in a while for special "meat and greets" with men I meet in Center City. God Bless.

TTI, MG, smitty, et. al, believe that if Amaro hadn't signed Howard to the extension back in 2010 when he did, that he would have become a FA and not been able to get a multi-year deal, because everything else would have happened the exact same way - no deviation.

Howard continues to play, gets hurt, blah, blah, blah.

What that tells me is that they believe if von Stauffenberg had been successful assasinating Hitler in July of 1944, that everything else that happened in WWII after that would have turned out the same.

awh: I don't believe that. I said hypothetically. Please don't lump me in with MG or aksmith.

TTI, good post, but keep in mind that alternate possibilities to aksmith's narrative of "The Way Things Ought To Be" are just "making stuff up".

TTI, sorry, you must have misread my post. It wan't directed at you, but at smitty comment directed at you about "fantasy".

I'm just happy that Pujols and Fielder are in the other league.

awh and TTI - Here's where you're wrong. I was never assuming the injury alone. I was also looking at Ryan's declining production. Sure, someone would have been willing to pay for his talent, but with or without the injury, he has been in precipitous decline. By not jumping in two years plus early, Rube would certainly have been able to get a better deal. I have been perfectly honest in seeing that I never saw injury or decline coming this fast. And even believing that he would perform better than he has, I still thought the contract was a bad one.

And saying that Howard, himself, might have taken himself out of the game due to his ankle is certainly plausible. But that would have raised questions about his durability, which, let's face it, is the main question about every big man who is a power hitter. That losers his value. Do you think Fielder gets that money and term of contract if he wasn't the must durable player in baseball over the last three years? I think not.

If Rube had gotten a hometown discount, it would not have been as bad a contract. But he didn't. He gave a top dollar contract to a player who would most likely have been facing his decline years for the last couple of seasons covered. He did it two years and three months before he had to. And he got no discount in the AAV.

I really truly don't understand the controversy, other than the fact that the same people always have a problem with whatever I post. These things are only controversial on BL. Look around baseball at just about every national and many local writers. They are pretty much in unison that Howard's contract is inexplicable, and it was at the time it was made.

Maybe you can find me anyone who believed, even at the time, that the Howard contract made sense. I'd be interested in seeing that.

Seems pretty straight-forward to me. Phils took almost all the downside in the initial deal and this was something people, for the most part, had a handle on when then deal was made. In order to get the benefit of the bargain in fan graphs terms, Phils needed salary to continue inflating and they needed Howard to continue playing at roughly 2009 production.

Given the timing of the deal 5/$110M would probably have been more appropriate. But guess what? People would still be complaining because the bottom line is that Howard followed up that contract with his two worst seasons as a Phillies regular, a significant injury, and the team failed to advance to the WS after two-straight pennants.

Season average

2006-2009: .278/.379/.589, 156 games/year, 50 HR, 144 OPS+
2010-2011: .265/.350/.497, 148 games/year, 32 HR, 126 OPS+

Phillies paid $2-$4M / year more than necessary. I really don't think many would have had a problem with a 5/$110 deal, but we'd still be talking about it because the bottom line is that - even relative to league levels and his age - Howard is declining faster than we'd like and, despite optimism at the time of the deal, his health is a big question mark going forward.

TTI - That's a possibility but after Howard's foot issues & diminished production in '10 I imagine he would have been strongly inclined to have signed a 5 yr/$100-$110M deal. Amaro just cost himself anywhere from $15-$25M over the course of the Howard extension & where he really screwed up from an execution standpoint.

Sophist nails it. Again, I don't see what's so controversial here.

Yes, people may have complained, but the deal you outline would have contained a hometown/downside risk discount. That's the kind of deal you make to have cost certainty and a reasonable expectation of value.

The fact that he may actually underperform that contract also is of no consequence. That is hindsight. Yes, I would have waited the two years. But getting Howard on a more reasonable contract would have justified jumping in early.

MG, that just sounds like hindsight bias. I agree that FO paid more than necessary at the time of the contract but I don't agree you can compare it to the contract he would have gotten at the end of 2010 or the end of 2011.

Howard had a slow start in May 2010, but he was coming off a bounce back season (900+ OPS, 40+ HR, NL pennant, 3rd in MVP voting), and no one can just reliably guess where he'd finish that season given his usual slow starts. After June 1st / 2010, he hit .273/.360/.540 with 23 HR in 93 games.

It was still unwise to extend him when they did, though, because even if he crushes in the second half of 2010 they're probably paying him 5/125 at worse anyway and we're back to what was wrong-headed about the deal to begin with.

Sophist - It is a bit of hindsight but even at the time Amaro really give no reason for the particular timing of the deal except of the 'certainty' it gave him.

Even at the time, I remember there being a ton of questioning of why Amaro simply didn't wait until that offseason given that he didn't appear to get any kind of discount/bargain for extending Howard and Howard was still controlled through '11. If anything at the time, he paid maybe a bit of a premium.

I told all of you. Stop this crap about Howard's contract. It's not the reason...Papelbon's is hurting more. At least Howard's every-day player when healthy.

You have to look at things objectively. RAJ did what he thought was right at the time. He was looking for cost certainty. You cannot under any circumstances tie the injury to the contract. Meaning, if he making only 10 million, his loss still hurts this team. You can compare him to Fielder, & rightly so. Right now Fielder is the better player.

But let me ask, how would Fielder's loss due to a ruptured Achilles affect the Tigers? Big time. That's how. That's the risk you take.

When Utley signed his mega-deal, it was huge. And he missed some time in each of the last couple of years. Does the fact that he makes 10 million a less than Howard make that easier to swallow? No. Point is, it is was it is.

Now back to Papelbon. Hindsight (which is always 20-20) has shown us RAJ over-paid greatly to obtain his closer, based on what the FA closers got on the open market this year. He could've had Madson for less. At least 6 million less if the rumors were true. But only @ about a million per year less. When looking at that point, one could say THAT'S the reason why we didn't sign a guy like Theriot. Moreso than Howard's deal.

The bigger problem is the Phils refusal to go over the cap. For any player, you have to pay what the market will bear. Do you have to be cautious? Yes, absolutely. But you can't trade a player or not sign another just because of 500k.

Let's put the Howard contract bashing to rest and talk about what needs to be done to make this team better so it can get to another WS.

MG, well Howard could have put up even better numbers after June and the Cards could have extended Pujols in the 2010 offseason prior to any final deal with Howard. If Howard had a second half similar to his 2009 second half (.305/.382/.621), leads the Phils back to the WS, and then Pujols extends with the Cards for 10/$240M (as a baseline), then Amaro has lost a bunch of power. Howard is not the player Pujols is, obviously, but that would have opened the door to an extension greater than 6 years in any case.

I can definitely see why Amaro wanted to make this deal prior to any Pujols/Gonzalez/Fielder settlement. He wanted to avoid losing leverage (esp. as far as years go) if things had played out in a different, foreseeable manner.

And, honestly, I bet the $2-$4M difference between what we all thought reasonable and what Howard wanted isn't something FO sweats. Here we are with payroll continually expanding, 3 aces, an overpaid closer, a $50M+ IF, and Vic and Pence in the OF. Phils just wanted to get the deal done in a reasonable range.

What's more concerning is Howard's production. They can live with the 5/$125, I'm sure. But if Howard continues to decline at this rate that would be pretty ugly.

I am contacting whoever (Time Warner or Disney?) owns all the comic book publishers to have them do a "What If..." series on Howard's, Rolen's and JD Drew's contracts as well as the Fergie Jenkins, Ryne and Cliff Lee (I) trades. I want to see a Brett Myers wife fight Secret Wars and a Braves of the 1990's Arkham Asylum.

AT, I am not looking for a magical fantasy trade (all these imagings of 3rd basemen are, nobody says "What if we could get the crappiest AL Central 3rd baseman?") I am just saying we all covet these guys as Polly is cooked and nobody else seems readily available. It is like the guy who insists the hunchbacked, cross-eyed neighborhood whore is the hottest chick in the world because she will go out with him.

smitty, this is where you're wrong:

It was widely reported that Howard, at the suggestion of Manuel, was tinkering with his and approach that season and standing closer to the plate.

Go look at Howard's 2010 season, and take a look at what he did between the middle of June (when the seemed to tinkering kick in) and August when he got hurt.

Oh, you don't remember? He also got hurt in 2010, and it sapped his power for the rest of the season - and Howard is a 2nd half player (.867 1st half, .996 2nd half).

In the 6 weeks leading up to his injury he hit 1 HR every 14 PA. After his ankle injury he was barely average, hitting one every 21 PA, and hit .231/.345/.441 the rest of the season, vs. .292/.356/.528 up to that point (and .306/.374/.638 during his hot streak).

If Howard hadn't gotten hurt that season and missed 16 games (69 PA) and hadn't had his power sapped, he likely would have hit close to 40 HR (if not 40), just if he kept up his career average(1 HR every 14.1 PA). Had he been able to continue at his hot streak pace (1 HR every 12.3 PA), he would likely have hit 42 HR that season.

Given the general decline in HR and offense in MLB, that's right about where he should have been.

So, how much of 2010 was a decline, how much was MLB related decline, and how much was injury related?

But that's OK, reinvent history to suit your narrative.

I believe that's called "making stuff up".

Sophist, did you factor in the injury in 2010 in your analysis? I don't think so.

See my post above.

"Yes, I would have waited the two years."

smitty, I would have also (because I would have preferred signing a different FA first baseman), but I, unlike you, recognize that having done that, the possibility exists that I, as the Phillies GM, could have seen Howard and every other FA first basemen who'd be an upgrade sign elsewhere, and my lineup would have a huge hole in it.

Mmmmmmmm, I'd be excited about that!

awh - I don't know what you mean.

All I'm saying is that, on the premise that you're probably going to lock Howard up either in May 2010 or November of 2010, there were a range of reasonable, non-extreme possibilities for Howard's extension market value over the next couple of years. I'd guess they were anywhere from 4/90 to 5/115 to 7/155. Most of the more likely scenarios are probably in the 5/115 range. This would include the injury and the down year. He probably gets even less in that scenario.

Phils wanted cost certainty, were afraid of Pujols setting a precedent, probably aren't too concerned with the difference between this deal and a slightly more reasonable one, and believed that Howard would continue playing at 06-09 levels. Hence 5/125.

But who cares all that much about the difference between 5/110 and 5/125? What matters is that Howard isn't even playing and he appears to be declining faster than we expected.

Sophist, with respect, I'll elaborate:

First, here's what you posted:

"Season average

2006-2009: .278/.379/.589, 156 games/year, 50 HR, 144 OPS+
2010-2011: .265/.350/.497, 148 games/year, 32 HR, 126 OPS+"

OK, what I mean is that 2010, as I posted above, may not be any evidence of decline, and it could be erroneous to use it as such.

Given a) his different approach at the beginning of the season, b) his hot streak where he was performing as well as he always had, c) his ankle injury which caused him to miss 16 games/69 PA and sapped his production in August and September which are usually 2 of his best months, and d) the overall MLB decline in offense, he may not have been in decline at all.

Unless, of course, you think that Ryan Howard is so good that overall league trends don't affect him.

I wish Ryan Howard never got hurt. I also wish he'd stop "guessing" at the plate, making him a sucker for low and away breaking stuff.

"WIP" has an add with Chollie blathering on about how he don't give a f88k about how good a hitting coach people think he is -- he knows he's great hitting coach. Time to put up or shut up Charles -- you have a $125mm reclamation project that starts now.

awh - You're saying "with respect" to Sophist. But he knows you're still calling him a dipshit. And I say that with all due respect.

awh: You keep throwing logic at aksmith and it's like trying to teach a cat to do algebra.

The fact that he wrote, "These things are unknowable" and then goes on to declare all sorts of unknowable things as fact pretty much shows what we're dealing with here.

Every time the Howard contract is mentioned, a kitten dies a horrible death.

And there's Clout. I'll set my clock now.

Yeah, I guess I don't respond to logic. But Sophist does. And it looks like we've come to pretty much the same conclusion. Funny how that works out.

Unikruk - I hate cats. Have I mentioned Howard's contract yet?

awh - It doesn't need to be a sign of decline. It just needs to be something -- injury, attitude, production, etc. -- that would effect the negotiation either in early Spring 2010 or late Fall. Yeah, it would be worse if 2010 were a decline thing and not just an injury thing. But even a less productive second-half due to injury decreases his ability to argue for a 5/125 contract. ... at least, in May the possibility of a "normal" second half, another pennant, MVP votes, a possible Pujols extension or the Gonzalez trade -- those things were all larger concerns and certainly gave Howard leverage.

True Phils gave him a deal at a peak, it seems, but it probably wasn't that far off from a deal most people would have considered reasonable (assuming giving him an extension at all was a good idea, which I think many people would rather argue).

I just think some of the more provocative stuff is not based on the idea of a different extension but no extension at all. You can say they could have waited the whole thing out, and then they'd be in a position now to pay him 3/40 or to just give his money to Pujols.

But I think that overlooks that there was a reasonable extension out there. What would the stat-oriented community have said to 4/100 or 5/115? I honesty don't see that much of a difference in terms of opportunity cost between 5/125 and 5/115. The problem people have is probably giving him 5 years at all; that it was a market rate deal (maybe more) just adds insult to injury.

Sophist, I don't disagree with any of your points. They make sense.

What I have been disagreeing with are other posters who have essentially stated this:

"Howard shouldn't have been extended...they should have let him become a FA...and because he declined in the last two years AND suffered the injury they could have gotten him a lot cheaper."

They were trying to make the case that other than the extension Howard signed, everything else that occured WOULD have occured anyway.

It's a logical fallacy to argue that.

Sophist, maybe I should use the b00b method and they'll understand.

Sophist, one last point:

You are correct when you state this:

"It doesn't need to be a sign of decline. It just needs to be something -- injury, attitude, production, etc. -- that would effect the negotiation either in early Spring 2010 or late Fall. Yeah, it would be worse if 2010 were a decline thing and not just an injury thing. But even a less productive second-half due to injury decreases his ability to argue for a 5/125 contract."

However, it may decrease his "ability to argue for a 5/125 contract", but it may not decrease his ability to GET IT.

You mentioned the Werth contract. Did you see that coming? I sure didn't, but his agent found someone to pay it.

How about the ARoid contract (first one - 252MM), the Dreifort contract, the Zito contract (a good comparison to Howard because Zito was judged by many to be in decline at the time?), and many other that resulted into being huge overpays. The Fielder and Pujols deals have both been criticized in many quarters for their length and dollar amounts.

What I'm stating is "don't underestimate the stupidity of an owner who wants to win".

No one can say Howard wouldn't have gotten that contract if he's become an FA because there are a lot of dumb owners.

clout, there are facts and then there are "Smitty Facts".

As you have discerned, there is a difference between the two.

Sure, awh. Just felt like negotiation leverage is the bottom line here since we're talking about extending a player currently under contract. The fact that some owner would give him a similar deal would be relevant insofar as it forced FO to give him more than they'd like.

And, yeah, I mean obviously that counterfactual is impossible to figure out. It doesn't seem necessarily true that Howard get injured in the way he did when he did.

I really don't think there's that much disagreement about this.

My take on Oswalt's tenure is generally favorable. The Phillies probably don't win the N.L. East without him in 2010.

"What I have been disagreeing with are other posters who have essentially stated this:

"Howard shouldn't have been extended...they should have let him become a FA...and because he declined in the last two years AND suffered the injury they could have gotten him a lot cheaper."

They were trying to make the case that other than the extension Howard signed, everything else that occured WOULD have occured anyway.
It's a logical fallacy to argue that."

AWH~ You're absolutely right, Nothing can be based on "if we do point "A" then point "B" abd "C" will follow". Things don't work that way.

I said it yesterday. if RAJ doesn't extend Howard when he did, he loses him in FA'cy.

We lost Werth (not that we didn't try to re-sign him). And we'll lose Hamels. And again, it won't be because we don't try.

Most players are going to take the most money thay can get. Players get paid on what they've done, not what they'll do. "cause there's no way to predict that. It's a matter of timing and risk. If Howard had stayed healthy and hit FA, he's probably gone.

CJ Wilson got 75 million. Hamels is better. Agent says he wants to be paid like Doc & Lee. Phils with 3 20 million a year pitchers? Not happening.

You see a lot of GM's buying out arb years as RAJ did with Howard for good reason. Players take money early because they can suffer a careeer-ending injury at any time. I know you know that. That's why Howard was extended when he was. But people don't see that.

Let's take Thome for instance, When the Phils signed him, they offered him 25 million more than Cleveland did, so he took it. He had to. Howard was in the minors at that time. As he progressed. the Phils had to give him his shot, so they moved Thome & paid 22 million of his contract. Turned out to be a good deal for both teams all things considered. But let's say Howard was trade to the Pirates and Thome stayed. Thome hurts his back and Howard's gone. Now what do you have?

Because of what you did with Thome you had to keep Howard. Again people don't understand. Now Thome's back and that's good. We'll need his bat. Anything he gives us defensively is a bonus.

Look I don't agree with everything Rube does or doesn't do. His job is hard. We don't know everything that goes on. We all have our own opinions.

All I want to see is this team win. This team is still a 95-win team. Whether or not that gets them into the playoffs and they go far remains to be seen.

Sophist, no disagreement between you and me, anyway.

BTW, this is totally off topic, and I usually don't do this (recommendations ar JW's purview), but I went to the movies with my better half last night. We went and saw the movie "Red Tails", about the Tuskegee Airmen.

I enjoyed the movie, it's worth a look, and I would recommend it.

Three guarantees in life-Death, Taxes, and Whining about Howard's contract. Nice to know some traditions never die.

Interesting stuff for EqA since '87 and standardizing the numbers .260

I was surprised to see that 2B has passed 3B in recent years as giving more production and just how production has dipped at the corner OF spots especially LF which has dropped like a rock the last decade.

Here's a little perspective.

First, I didn't say that everything that happened would have happened if Howard had not been extended. I don't assume that. But I was never in favor of that early extension for the same reason I was not in favor of exercising Rollins' option a year early. Injuries. You never know when they'll happen and they did. Rollins' injuries have been more chronic and livable. Howard's? We don't know yet. And in Howard's case, seven years out you have to assume there's be decline in performance.

And if a player wants a longterm contract, they have to be willing to give something, especially a big bodied power hitter entering his early thirties when the contract kicks in.

So far, nothing controversial, right?

Look at what the Cardinals did. I thought they gave Holiday too much. Not a massive overpay, but more than made sense. But, they were probably thinking strategically. They thought they might lose Pujols. Instead of giving Pujols what amounts to an insane contract for too many years, they signed Berkman for one year and Beltran for two. Pretty good dollars, but limited time. I don't think their offense misses a beat here, and they're not on the hook forever.

I like this model. They got ten years out of Pujols, then when he was going to suck up too much payroll, they moved on.

Howard looked like he was going to be a solid player maybe into his mid-30s. Beyond that is guesswork. He seems to have had problems earlier than anticipated. But because Rube wanted "cost certainty" he's locked in for the next five years to a player he clearly would not sign to that contract today.

None of this is controversial. Only on BL is it ever thought of as anything but common sense.

I think you give the Cards too much credit. They would have gladly brought Pujols back for 10 years. They were reported to have offered 10 years and up to $220M. They moved on because the Angels outbid them.

Bingo. That's a big deal to gloss over.

Cards also probably never had the option of extending Pujols for 5 years. He's a totally different level of player than Howard -- put the Cards in a position with fewer options.

Sophist, IIRC last Spring, the Cards also reportedly offered Pujols a shorter contract at a higher AAV than the ARod deal.

smitty, I'm not going to go back and cut-and-paste all the stuff you posted, but your last post was clearly a disingenuous misrepresentation of your priors.

It doesn't help your credibility.

Credibility on an anonymous baseball discussion board? Really?

I don't sit an parse answers here like an attorney. There are literally dozens of ways to go with any baseball decision. I can think of just about all of them.

It's not disingenuous. I literally can't keep track of all the different attacks. And I don't bother going back and re-reading all the posts with their many tangents. Because I'm not a baseball GM. There are other things going on all around us, and I actually focus on them.

I would not have extended Howard unless I'd have gotten a very team friendly deal. I don't think Howard was ever interested in that, so it's likely I would not have extended him at all. If he'd been more reasonable and given a home town discount, I might have been more tempted. But I think his agent bent Rube over. Just like Jamie Moyer did.

If Howard had been willing to do, say, 5 years/105 mil, I would have been very tempted to lock him up. But more than that would have been an overpay and a bad bet. And that's how I felt at the time. I can understand why some would have paid more, but not 5/125. That was stupid and it's been borne out to be stupid.

And now I won't bother about it anymore. I'll go back to hoping Howard has a monster comeback and earns that contract.

And about giving the Card's too much credit, I am not. If they could have gotten Pujols at 10/220 that would have been a pretty good deal. I would think they'd get about 6-7 years of superior production out of that and maybe some average production after that. He is the player of our generation. But they were right to let him walk for 250 and they had a plan in place. I often don't get the idea that Rube has a plan in place.

Sounds reasonable to me. Still don't totally agree on the Cards point, but whatever.

Like I said, I'm just not sure there's much opportunity cost difference for the Phils between 5/125 and 5/105. That's the difference between tendering and non-tendering Kendrick. Biggest problem is the Howard is not playing or that he is possibly no better than a roughly average 1B now.

Three things are sure in life: Death, taxes and whining about players contracts.

When compared to aerobics classes or expensive work-out equipment, running is the cheapest and best way to stay in shape.

Again Jordan Retro makes the best argument of all. Since Ryan can't run now, even his workout will be incomplete and costly.

So, uh ... RoyO to the Rangers now? I doubt it considering they're pretty much set, but it sure sounded like a contract with the Cards was a done deal on Friday.

I agree with Retro in that running is the best way to stay in shape but it's not simply a black or white argument. For example, I wore out an expensive treadmill over several years at a local gym often doing long runs while watching hour long aerobics classes. Safe, inexpensive and entertaining.

Clout: I didn't use AAV to make my point in order to obscure the counter argument that the Phillies paid a premium for a shorter deal. As some poster noted in a previous thread, the Phillies are paying $25m a year for Howard's 32-36 seasons. Detroit is paying Fielder $23.8m a year for those same age seasons and getting his peak years (28-31) thrown in for the same price. The Red Sox are paying $22m a year for Adrian Gonzalez's decline age 32-37 seasons and getting his late peak 30-31 for the same $22m. Pujols' contract is mostly "decline" age, like Howard. . . But he's declining from a much loftier peak. In fact, Howard's best season was only .4 bWar better than Pujols' worst season, with the rest of their career not even close. That's why I picked AAV over total contract size. I agree that you have to pay a premium for a shorter deal, however, as Howard signed 2 years early and the entire deal is for decline phase production. Phillies got a great deal on Howard's peak and then locked up the decline for peak $'s when they didn't have to.

I get bored just running, I have to be chasing a ball or getting chased by a bear to stay engaged.

I watch the Phillies while I'm either on the treadmill, elliptical or total gym. Not as good as watching an aerobics class, but I haven't figured out how to have one of those in my living room. Yet.

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EST. 2005

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