Phillies Giving Out Contract Years Like Candy

A swing through the Phillies page of Cot's Baseball Contracts illustrates an interesting approach by the team: they've freely given out extra contract years to many players when it did not appear necessary or prudent.  The examples:

  • Ryan Howard, already signed through 2011, was extended through 2016 in April of this year.
  • Jamie Moyer, a Type A free agent after a fine 2008 season, was not offered arbitration but instead given a two-year deal.
  • Cole Hamels, a Super Two player who was arbitration-eligible for the first time, signed a three-year, $20.5MM deal.  He's pitched well, but did the Phillies save significant money in giving up the chance to go year-to-year?  This was as player-friendly as pitcher extensions get. 
  • Placido Polanco, a Type A free agent, was not offered arbitration by the Tigers.  I took this to mean the Tigers felt Polanco would have no trade value on a one-year deal, so why did the Phillies sign him for three?
  • Joe Blanton, arbitration-eligible for 2010, signed a three-year deal in January buying out two free agent seasons at the market rate.  Was this some kind of payroll manipulation, since $6MM of Blanton's $7MM salary this year came in the form of a signing bonus?
  • Free agent reliever Danys Baez, coming off a middling season for the Orioles, got a two-year deal.  Similar pitchers signed one-year deals.
  • Free agent backup catcher Brian Schneider, coming off a terrible season, received two years.
  • Bench player Ross Gload, coming off an unimpressive campaign, surprisingly received two years.  He's hit well in 116 plate appearances, however.
  • Bench player Greg Dobbs, arbitration-eligible for the first time, received a two-year deal.  Why not go year-to-year with a guy like this?
  • The Phillies exercised the 2011 club option for shortstop Jimmy Rollins a year early.
  • The multiyear contracts don't end there, but it seems unfair to call the Phillies out for the rest.  The remaining deals either saved the team decent money, or were of a length necessary to lock up the player as a free agent.


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217 Comments on "Phillies Giving Out Contract Years Like Candy"


Guest
GeronimoJansen
4 years 10 months ago

Poisonous Halloween candy.

Guest
Paul Boyé
4 years 10 months ago

What is this in response to? I kind of figured that was pretty well-known by now that RAJ has been loose with his contract lengths, for better or for (probably) worse.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

The Dobbs DFA made me think about it, and I just wanted to see exactly how extensive it was.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

I think the Ibanez contract and Polanco contract have each had one too many years on them. But two of the more prominent deals stand out to me:

– Hamels was unhappy with the Phillies after 2007 when they opted to pay him $500k before his arbitration kicked in, so I view his deal as partly in response to that. Based on his performance, Hamels is out-pitching his contract and Fangraphs agrees (link to fangraphs.com).
– Howard was signed before there was an opportunity to see Fielder or Pujols sign deals, which depending on how their new deals fall, could change our opinions on Howard’s contract. Granted there was very little hometown discount, the Phillies essentially locked up the face of their franchise with this deal.

I think more surprising than contract length (standard operating procedure seems to be three-year deals) is the timing of these signings. Both Polanco and Ibanez signed early in the off-season signing periods, while Howard’s deal was finalized early in this season. At times when it would seem the Phillies should have more leverage, they are signing somewhat player-friendly deals in terms of both years, but more importantly, dollars.

Guest
alphabet_soup5
4 years 10 months ago

I don’t see any way Howard lives up to the contract.

Guest
jnolan33177
4 years 8 months ago

He lives up to it by knocking in 140 and cracking 40 per year avg.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

the title is kind of offensive to the phillies. their moves have paid off, they are the best team in baseball, and they dont even have howard and utley.

the howard, polanco and hamels moves were fine..
the rollins move was puzzling, the baez/dobbs/schneider/blanton deals were questionable.

but the phillies remain the class of the NL and maybe second in the MLB.

Guest
scottandwtb
4 years 10 months ago

you’re joking, right?

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

haha yeah big, big joke.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

lol thank god.

Guest
jnolan33177
4 years 8 months ago

Joking about what??? They are the class of the league. Theyre rewarding the fans for spending 8 million a game at the bank. Whats the Joke?? You can pick each teams payroll apart. Arod Made 33million, noones ripping him. They got polly for 5 mil!! 5 MIL!!!! Blantons deal was a joke, as was Moyers but as long as they keep winning divisions pennants and world series, they have the right to spend how they please

Guest
14 Rocks
4 years 10 months ago

The Phillies aren’t even the best team in the NL East!!

Guest
oleosmirf
4 years 10 months ago

yup and Omar Minaya deserves all the credit for getting the Mets to be the class of the NL East. so glad he is 100% coming back next season!!!!

Guest
East Coast Bias
4 years 10 months ago

Did you just totally discount the Braves? They’re leading the division, you know. Stop sipping on the haterade and come back to reality – both the Mets and the Phillies are chasing the Braves for the NL East division.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

The Mets are chasing the Braves for the division? News to me.

Guest
East Coast Bias
4 years 10 months ago

Theoretically, yes. Whether they have a chance or not… that’s a different story.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Haha, touche.

Guest
jnolan33177
4 years 8 months ago

People are freakin Idiots that talk likethey know baseball. GM’s are drooling when they watch Phillies home games, and as long as they put contenders out there, THEYRE GONNA SELL OUT, AND AS LONG AS THEY SELL OUT, THEYRE GONNA PAY BIG, AND AS LONG AS THEY PAY BIG, THEYRE GONNA CONTEND

Guest
jnolan33177
4 years 8 months ago

And who is einstein??

Guest
bbxxj
4 years 10 months ago

Best in baseball but second in the NL East.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

The phillies have been plagued with the injury bug. they lost rollins in the first week of the season, and then utley, followed by howard and victorino. (not to mention polanco for about 2 weeks)

the braves are good, no doubt about it but when you look at it, the phillies have the best talent.

the phillies are second in the NL East with a lineup that looked like this for a week

Gload
Valdez
Ibanez
Howard
Werth
Francisco
Ruiz
Castro
Pitcher

Guest
csg
4 years 10 months ago

Braves players on the DL this year – Jair, Medlen, Diaz, Prado, Chipper, and Medlen. Last two out for the year. Say what you wish, but the braves have been hit just as hard by the injury bug

Guest
$1529282
4 years 10 months ago

Heyward also saw DL time, don’t forget.

Guest
csg
4 years 10 months ago

sorry 2nd name shouldve been Heyward

Jair, Heyward, Diaz, Prado, Chipper, and Medlen

Guest
malcolmec
4 years 10 months ago

Diaz is a backup, Chipper Jones is past his prime, and Omar Infante’s surprising (but deserved) All-Star season means the Braves have no trouble covering for Prado and Chipper. The Braves haven’t even come close to the injuries the Phillies have had. Wilson Valdez has been starting almost every game for the Phillies this season. WILSON VALDEZ, I say.

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csg
4 years 10 months ago

yeah, okay. None of those guys matter. Jair is a #2 starter, Medlen was our #3 starter, Chipper has a .924OPS since the break, Heyward is our best OF’r and Prado led the league in multi hit games. You’re saying the Braves injuries dont matter as much because their bench was stronger. We’ve just had better replacements, but to think the Braves injuries arent that bad is just comical.

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philsgoldenage
4 years 10 months ago

prado was out for 10 days please… they only put him on the dl so they could grab a bench guy. The Phillies have had out at one point or another: ruiz, schneider (played with 2 AAA catchers for a period) Howard Utley Rollins Polanco Victorino, Moyer, Lidge, Madson, Blanton… please

Jair out hurt tho for sure, and Chipper out is very unfortunate and no doubt a blow. ESPN reported the Braves are trying to trade for D.Lee which should scare the nl east.

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PhilsPhan914
4 years 10 months ago

You just named six players. Not to mention, Chipper just happened! So they had him for all this time they’ve been in first. Try losing Utley, Howard, Jimmy (twice), Polanco, Ruiz, Victorino, Madson, Lidge, Happ, Schneider, Durbin, Moyer (also for the season), Blanton, Romero, and Bastardo. Let’s see.. our two lefties in the pen, our closer, our back-up closer/8th inning guy, three starting pitchers, a dependable 7th inning reliever, did I miss anyone? OH YEAH! Six our our eight starters and our back up catcher! So let’s compare.. Jair = Moyer, Diaz = Schneider, Prado = Polanco (and I’m being pretty generous there), Medlen = Happ, Heyward = Victorino, I guess I’ll say Chipper = Jimmy since he brings the leadership and still a feared hitter in that line-up. So try losing five of your bullpen guys, another starter, your catcher (because Ruiz is just as good as McCann this year), and then, two of the most feared hitters in baseball. You’re still nine players short and two of those players are unmatchable by anyone on your team.

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PhilsPhaninPhlorida
4 years 10 months ago

Phillies have had 15 players on the DL.. playing ONLY 9 games this Entire season with their opening day line-up..

And yet we still are just a series sweep away from taking back 1st place…
Phillies are the two time reigning NL Champions… Until they lose that title, they are the best team in the NL.

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jnolan33177
4 years 8 months ago

Phillies injuries this year, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Rollins again, Polanco, Ruiz, Schneider, Happ, Polanco again, Blanton, Moyer, ………. 17 players on the dl, lost 600 games from injuries. Not even close, and the braves lost Chipper and Prado at the end of the season

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Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Sorry, Mike, but the Bravos have actually lost more days to the DL than the Phillies. Not a valid excuse for them being in 2nd.

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philsgoldenage
4 years 10 months ago

The reason the Phils are in 2nd isn’t because of injuries. The Braves have played very well and The Phil’s offense was missing for a chunk of the year, even when everyone was healhy. How many games left to play? Braves 43 Phils 42. Lots of Baseball.

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alphabet_soup5
4 years 10 months ago

1 week =/= 162 games

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Well.. mostly due to playing in a division w/ the Mets, Marlins, and Nats… Have you even seen a Braves-Phillies game even at Citizens Bank? The Braves run around their bases all day

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

for now

Guest
jnolan33177
4 years 8 months ago

Yeah??? According to who???

Guest
alxn
4 years 10 months ago

You’re missing the point of the article. Howard and Hamels were already under control for this year and Polanco could have been had for this year without giving him 2 more years. What they do this year is irrelevant.

Guest
$1529282
4 years 10 months ago

The Phillies aren’t even the class of their own division. Even with Howard and Utley, the Braves were ahead of them and in first place.

The Howard deal is already one of the worst contracts in baseball. You can’t judge Polanco’s deal yet. He was overpaid in years and dollars to switch positions. People were saying last year that the Ibanez deal was a great deal after one half, but look at him now. There’s more to a contract than just one good year.

The Baez, Dobbs, and Schneider moves were all terrible.

The Phillies are hardly a lock as the “second-best team in the Majors.”

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malcolmec
4 years 10 months ago

Whatever. The Phillies have been notoriously cheap throughout most of their history. I really could care less if they’re overpaying now… at least they’re spending money on trying to win, unlike 60% of the teams in the MLB.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

worst contracts in baseball?????…..i can name atleast 10 worse than howards…….a-roid, barry zito, vernon wells, carlos silva, gary matthews jr, and i can go on

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

plus mark texeira, and john lackey

Guest
alphabet_soup5
4 years 10 months ago

NYY, Boston, Tampa Bay are 3 teams that are definitely better in my opinion. Up there with the Phillies are Texas, Atlanta, San Diego also in my opinion. I don’t even have Philly making the postseason this year, Atl wins the East and San Fran grabs the wild card.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

I guess the “Rays” and “Yankees” have the best record and yet aren’t they best? The Phillies aren’t even the best team in the NL East!!

Guest
4 years 9 months ago

So, you ready to start sucking?

Guest
Just_MLB
4 years 10 months ago

“and maybe second in the MLB.”

ummm…the rays…the yanks…the red-sox…the rangers…all say hi !

Guest
HerbertAnchovy
4 years 10 months ago

Good article. Looks interesting when you see them in one place.

Guest
ƃop sǝןƃƃoƃ pɐɹ
4 years 10 months ago

How do you not include Raul Ibanez in this?

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

yeah true.

the raul signing would have been excellent as a two-year, $20MM contract

Guest
scottandwtb
4 years 10 months ago

try again

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

what do you mean try again? we signed him to a 3 year deal as a 36 year old.

im saying that extra year wasnt neccesary

Guest
$1529282
4 years 10 months ago

“Try again” meant that two years and $20MM for a 36-year-old who was reputed as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game is hardly a bargain.

Ibanez isn’t worth $10MM/season today, and he wasn’t when he signed that deal either.

Guest
logicx24
4 years 10 months ago

He had a year of good offensive production though last year.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Ibanez is a contract I did not like. However I do feel that it was necessary to go three years to get him specifically. So it’s slightly different from the point of the post. I mean, it’d be nice to get every player on a one-year deal.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Remember, Adam Dunn was signed to a 2 yr $20mm deal after the Ibanez deal.

Guest
philsgoldenage
4 years 10 months ago

The Phils would love for this to be the year Raul and Lidge came off the books along with moyer. That would free up something like 31mil? I would like to see the outfield of Brown Victorino and Werth, although it seems we can afford to let Werth go, who knows maybe even grab a compensation pick? The Phils have let some notable outfielders go starting with Abreu, Rowand, Bourne, Burrell, and seem to have a replacement. I think Ben Francisco is better that people think also.

I compare it to the temptation of signing Werth to a 4 yr contract… Great idea now, might become a weight to the budget in 3 years. I like having Ibanez in the lineup, and those bench guys in there too. Who knows, maybe a 1 yr contract wouldnt have worked.

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philsgoldenage
4 years 10 months ago

Werth Victorino Brown would be nice but I’d be prepared for Brown Victorino Francisco

Guest
itslate
4 years 10 months ago

Then you should be prepared to not make the playoffs. Brown is in no way ready for every day play in the majors. A HR against a poor closer who was playing badly (as happened with the Giants last night) is in no way an indication of what he might do in the future. He’s made judgement mistakes in RF, his arm (or his aim) has not been good a couple of times, and his avg isn’t good. I just love the way everyone is “prepared to lose Werth” as if he has provided nothing to this team for 3 yrs. Let’s also not forget that he has Howard’s back. Ryan’s going to be receiving a whole different set of pitches if Werth goes. Don’t be cavaliere enough (or dumb enough) to wish him away. I have no idea, and neither does anyone else, how many yrs Werth wants, but it’s a perfect cinch any number of yrs will be better than Ibanez. Werth is a 31 yr old, 5-tool player.

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philsgoldenage
4 years 10 months ago

the drop off in talent between Werth and Francisco isn’t as big I believe as most people think it is. Of course I don’t want to lose Werth, I wish we could find a way to keep him and have an O.F. of Werth Victorino Brown.

Brown will improve his fielding, quickly.
Werth is a 5 tool player and of course I’d love to keep him on the team.

I’m also talking about TWO years down the road, when Brown will be in his 2nd full season, hopefully.

If Werth leaves, then we have Brown Francisco Ibanez and Victorino to choose from to find a starting outfield.

Guest
itslate
4 years 10 months ago

I get it. I understand what you’re saying. But if the drop-off in talent btwn Werth & Francisco is negligible, then if I were Francisco I’d “make hay while the sun shines”, as they say. Go out, get a big ‘ol contract before Werth does. But the truth is, the difference is big; larger than most Phillies fans will admit. Most fans are prepping themselves to be happy w/losing Werth now in case the front office doesn’t keep him. That’s why most ppl are attempting to paint this as Werth being greedy, or not worth the money, or by saying we have other players to replace him. We just don’t have 1 other right-handed, 5-tool player who can comfortably back-up Ryan Howard & none on the backburner either. Any time I read the PR nonsense pitched by the FO about ‘no money’, I look at the Forbes article (4/10) listing the worth of all the MLB teams, I realize they’ve just sold out their 90th game in a row, & I remember that the majority owners of the Phillies are living on the Mainline & keeping their profit margins up while I live in a rented, 1-bedroom apt, and struggle at my job (like most Americans). Hey, no team stays the same forever & players get old. But do your best to keep the working team together, otherwise prep the fans for yrs of losing.