Ryan Howard Gets PAID
The slugging first baseman agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract extension Monday that could keep him with the Phillies until 2017.
The 30-year-old Howard will make $20 million each in 2012 and 2013 and $25 million annually from 2014-16. The Phillies have a $23 million club option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout.
The $25 million guaranteed average salary in the extension will be baseball’s second-highest behind Alex Rodriguez’s $27.5 million average under a 10-year contract with the Yankees running through 2017.
Howard was happy to land a new deal now and avoid the craziness that would have come once he was eligible for free agency after the 2011 season, when he will be 32.
Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, is earning $19 million this season as part of a $54 million, three-year deal that pays him $20 million in 2011.
He signed that deal in February 2009, avoiding a potentially contentious arbitration hearing.
I’m not going to be nice about this; this is a terrible idea for about 40 reasons that the Phillies will end up regretting. Let me starting counting:
1) They already had him locked up for next year, when he will be 31, for 20 million dollars.
2) They could have signed him to this exact same contract when he became a free agent, if they felt he still warranted it, because he wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere else. The Phillies got absolutely no discount here for buying up Howard’s free agency; if anything, they paid a premium.
3) The Phillies made him the second highest paid player in baseball, despite the fact that he’s at least the second (or third or fourth) best player on his team.
4) The Phillies are going to pay Ryan Howard 23 million dollars when he’s 37.
5) The Phillies are going to be paying a 37-year old DH 23 million dollars, despite the fact they only get to use that position for 9 games per season.
6) He’s already declining. He’s passed his peak, he’s getting worse against lefties, and he already strikes out 30% of the time he goes to the plate.
7) Howard’s listed at 6’4″ and 255 pounds…yeah, in his bra. This is not the type of player that ages well. I went to Baseball-Reference.com and look up the most comparable players to Howard. How do these names sound? Richie Sexson, Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaughn, David Ortiz, and Tony Clark. Willie McCovey and Mark McGwire (kind of) are the only players on the list who aged decently.
8) The happiest man in baseball should be Albert Pujols, who should ask for 40-50 million dollars per season based on this contract. I can’t express enough how far out of line this is with regard to his market value. If Howard hit free agency entering his age 32 season, he gets what…6 years, 130 million dollars? I just can’t fathom anyone paying him more than 20-22 million dollars per year.
9) This contract could cost them Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins in coming seasons. They already traded Cliff Lee to “re-stock the farm system” even though they were taken to the can in that trade. I’m sure his 9 million dollar salary had nothing to do with it. They could have traded Joe Blanton for peanuts and saved the same money.
I know that was a lot of blabbering, some of which is disorganized and incoherent, but I cannot fathom why the Phillies did this. This made the current team no better while potentially damaging future teams. I’m not on board with many of the moves Ruben Amaro has made since becoming GM, but this one is easily the worst because there is nothing necessitating it. General Manager FAIL.
The good thing about this is that I can copy and paste this article when a team gives Prince Fielder 180 million dollars in a couple of seasons.