NL East Notes: Nationals, Gonzalez, Fielder, Howard

The Nationals were linked to free agent slugger Prince Fielder for quite some time but yesterday the 27-year-old agreed to a nine-year, $214MM deal with the Tigers.  Here's more on the Nats and other items from around the National League East..

  • The Nats were never close to winning the Fielder bidding, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  The club only got as far as discussing parameters of a deal, never specifics.
  • Gio Gonzalez doesn't have a no-trade clause in his new deal with the Nationals, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Gonzalez agreed to a five-year extension with the club earlier this month.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that while he believes Domonic Brown would benefit from more sustained playing time in the minor leagues, he'l have a chance to win the leftfield job away from John Mayberry this spring, writes Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • More from Hofmann as he writes that Amaro is even happier with Ryan Howard's five-year, $125MM deal after seeing the contracts signed by Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.  
  • The Phillies looked at Omar Vizquel before he signed with Blue Jays, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.  Crasnick notes that the club still has Michael Martinez as a utility infielder.
  • Washington GM Mike Rizzo says that the club was in the talks for Fielder "until the end," tweets Kilgore.


76 Responses to NL East Notes: Nationals, Gonzalez, Fielder, Howard Leave a Reply

  1. Dylan 4 years ago

    If his deal started two years ago, it would have been a good deal.

    • gtl11 4 years ago

      Disagree. He hasn’t been worth anywhere near $25 mil in either of the last 2 years. The Howard contract remains one of the absolute worst deals in baseball. If he’d have been a FA this offseason he’d be lucky to get 5/80

      • Dylan 4 years ago

        Not many players are…I don’t disagree with the fact that it’s an overpayment, however he was going to get a 100MM contract at least. 5/80 is his worth, 5/125 is what he got. Fielder is prob worth 140/7 and he got 74M more…baseball salaries are just ridiculous and I’m scared to think about 10 years from now.

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          If WAR is any indicator of value then Howard has been worth exactly $13m COMBINED over the past 2 seasons. During that same time Prince Fielder was worth $38m and Pujols was worth $53m. Prince and Fielder are in a different league from Howard. With him suffering such a major injury who knows how he will do coming back. $25m a year is WAY too much for Howard.

    • basilisk4 4 years ago

      I’d be less worried about the first two years of Howard’s deal and more worried about the three that are to come.  Even setting aside what a leg injury is going to do to an aging fatass, Howard is 32 years old and in obvious decline, as you can see from these per-season averages:

      2006-2009:  .278 AVG, .379 OBP, .589 SLG, 102 R, 28 2B, 50 HR, 143 RBI
      2010-2011:  .265 AVG, .350 OBP, .497 SLG, 84 R, 26 2B, 32 HR, 112 RBI

      I’m not saying that, all other things being equal, you wouldn’t take the 2010-11 numbers over the next three seasons, but they’re not $25 million per season numbers or anywhere close.  Also, they pretty strongly indicate that Howard is in the process of a pretty rapid decline.  But it gets worse:  Howard batted only .224/.286/.347 versus LHP and .236/.323/.452 on the road.  Believe it or not, this was actually an improvement over his splits in 2009 as far as hitting lefties, but it represents a huge decrease in his home-road splits since his prime years.

      It’s not looking good for Howard going forward.

  2. two awful contracts don’t make a right

  3. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    Length wise it’s a great deal but he’s $5 million a year overpaid.

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      5/100 would’ve been great. If the deal ended at 34-35 I’d be fine with it.

  4. vonhayesdays 4 years ago

    phills should have signed keppinger , to play for the inevitably injured , rollins, utley or polonco.   can’t wait to see martinez playing 50 games next year 

    • JPH_GSG 4 years ago

      Martinez played in 88 games last season. Every Phillies fan would love if he only got into 50.

      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

        hopefully utley doesnt miss the first two months 

      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

        whoops in my digust i neglected a 1 infront of my 50 

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      Ty Wigginton can play 2B and 3B.

    • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

      Valdez played just under 100
      Martinez played 88 as mentioned.

      I hope with the addition of Wiggington that the Phillies will be less inclined to play Martinez and I’m assuming that was part of the thinking in dealing Valdez and saving about $400,000.

    • nm344 4 years ago

      Galvis WILL play if JRoll hits the DL.

      • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

        i can only hope , kinda interested to see what he’s got 

    • nm344 4 years ago

      Galvis WILL play if JRoll hits the DL.

  5. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    Found out today that one of my cousins played little league baseball with Fielder. Pretty awesome

    • mwagner26 4 years ago

      But seriously, that is pretty cool. I played little league with really bad people. I was one of them.

      • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

        I was absolutely awful. Favorite sport to follow, least favorite sport to play.

        • i was on my little league team for my clubhouse presence

          • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

            I was only allowed to stick around because my mom brought good snacks for after the game. 

          • mwagner26 4 years ago

            I hit one career home run in little league.  My little league career is the equivalent of the mendoza line.  

          • mwagner26 4 years ago

            I hit one career home run in little league.  My little league career is the equivalent of the mendoza line.  

      • Jack Merlino 4 years ago

        Nothing worse than standing alone on a mound watching your fielders Billy Bucker every ball hit to them…

      • Jack Merlino 4 years ago

        Nothing worse than standing alone on a mound watching your fielders Billy Bucker every ball hit to them…

    • mwagner26 4 years ago

      Cool story bro.  Tell it again.

  6. iball 4 years ago

    Ate mile

  7. iball 4 years ago

    Ate mile

  8. FS54 4 years ago

    “The Nats were never close to winning the Fielder bidding.” Funny how the same people were saying that Nationals were favorite.

  9. undocorkscrew 4 years ago

    “Ryan’s the kind of guy – and I guess this is one of the reasons why we
    signed him to two long-term deals in a row – is that even when he signed
    a multiyear deal, he was still working very hard,” Amaro said. “He’s
    gotten himself into better shape than he’s ever been in.”

    Really? He had to ride around in a motorized cart for a while and now he’s in better shape than he was in 2005-2007?

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      2007-2008 Ryan weighed 275 lbs.
      When he signed the deal he was around 255.
      He now weighs 240 and improved his defense greatly.

      So, I’d say Ruben was right on.

      I guess injuries mean you are out of shape.

      • He is not 240 and is arguably the worst defensive first basemen in the game and that’s not including his noodle arm which he’s terrified to use.  Howard is more like 270 when the season starts and close to 300 once its time for him to choke in the postseason.  Keep telling yourself he’s worth the money when in fact he’s not even a top 10 first basemen and is rapidly declining.

        • Dylan 4 years ago

          That was a well educated response. I appreciate your thought provoking input to our conversation. Thank you.

          Oh, and I never said he was worth the money. It’s hard to name more than one player on each team (that was signed past arbitration) that is worth the money they are getting paid; especially one that was signed within the last 3 years.

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      2007-2008 Ryan weighed 275 lbs.
      When he signed the deal he was around 255.
      He now weighs 240 and improved his defense greatly.

      So, I’d say Ruben was right on.

      I guess injuries mean you are out of shape.

    • nm344 4 years ago

      Ugh you’re comparing an injury to conditioning? Yeah that makes sense.

      • undocorkscrew 4 years ago

        Posted twice for some reason.

      • undocorkscrew 4 years ago

        No, I simply don’t believe that Ryan Howard is in the best shape of his life. Seems like it’s said every year, same with his ‘new plate approach.’

        And one of these days I’ll figure out why people think Howard has ‘greatly’ improved his defense. We using metrics here? I suppose he’s improved on routine grounders and picks, but he still can’t throw and his already limited range isn’t getting any better….

        • Dylan 4 years ago

          Nah, when you watch the team every day from his rookie year until now u can see. His throws have been much better, he covers a lot of ground in foul territory, he digs the ball out of the dirt a lot better, and goes to his left much better.

          He still doesn’t cover too much ground and isn’t going to throw across the diamond, but he has improved a lot. He’s not going to win gold gloves, but he’s not going to cost you games either.

          Since 2008, he’s cut down on his errors from 19 to 9

          • undocorkscrew 4 years ago

            Fair enough. I won’t claim that I’ve watched Howard play 100+ games a year, but being a Braves fan I do see him quite a bit.

          • undocorkscrew 4 years ago

            Fair enough. I won’t claim that I’ve watched Howard play 100+ games a year, but being a Braves fan I do see him quite a bit.

          • hrbomber1113 4 years ago

            I’m wasting my time because you just used errors as a meaningful defensive stat for a 1st baseman but he’s improved his defense so much that his two worst seasons of UZR were…..the last two seasons.

          • hrbomber1113 4 years ago

            I’m wasting my time because you just used errors as a meaningful defensive stat for a 1st baseman but he’s improved his defense so much that his two worst seasons of UZR were…..the last two seasons.

          • hrbomber1113 4 years ago

            I’m wasting my time because you just used errors as a meaningful defensive stat for a 1st baseman but he’s improved his defense so much that his two worst seasons of UZR were…..the last two seasons.

          • Kj4realz 4 years ago

            Funny that you say you’re wasting your time with him since he listed errors yet you mention UZR which is pretty widely known to have its own flaws, especially for 1B.

          • Kj4realz 4 years ago

            Funny that you say you’re wasting your time with him since he listed errors yet you mention UZR which is pretty widely known to have its own flaws, especially for 1B.

          • hrbomber1113 4 years ago

            UZR has its problems but compared to errors it’s an exact science. And UZR does have its problems but when it matches up with what the eye test of scouts and everyone but biased Phillies fans sees, I think it’s worth using as a tool. What do you prefer to use for defense? Your eye test? Let me guess…Phillies fan?

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            Please do not tell me that you trust fielding % more than UZR. Also it’s not just UZR. ALL of the advanced metrics paint a picture of a regressing fielder (TZ / +-, etc). Fielder is horrid with the glove and ranks as one of the worst base runners in the game. The guy is a power hitter (and a very good one at that) with some good BB skills. Beyond that you aren’t getting much.

          • Dylan 4 years ago

            Errors don’t exist in baseball anymore.

        • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

          Him spraining his ankle last year had nothing to do with his conditioning.

          Him tearing his achillies had nothing to do with his conditioning.

          What the heck are you talking about? By all accounts he is in better shape, not sure where you’re getting the idea that he’s not given his injuries are freak injuries or the result of wear and tear.

          Chase Utley’s always hurt… do you question his conditioning?

          ______________

          … and he improved his fundamental approach to defense. He’s not going to magically turn into Mark Texiera… but he isn’t as bad as he was in 2007 or 2008 at least using the eye test.

      • undocorkscrew 4 years ago

        No, I simply don’t believe that Ryan Howard is in the best shape of his life. Seems like it’s said every year, same with his ‘new plate approach.’

        And one of these days I’ll figure out why people think Howard has ‘greatly’ improved his defense. We using metrics here? I suppose he’s improved on routine grounders and picks, but he still can’t throw and his already limited range isn’t getting any better….

    • nm344 4 years ago

      Ugh you’re comparing an injury to conditioning? Yeah that makes sense.

  10. Okay – here’s the deal with the three 1B you’re talking about.
    In a 162 season, here are the stats that they have averaged in their careers.
    And this comes straight from Baseball-reference.com

    Pujols – 600 AB / 123 R / 42 HR / 126 RBI / 8 SB / 93 BB /  67 K / .328 AVG
    Howard 598 AB / 100 R / 45 HR / 136 RBI / 2 SB / 85 BB / 190 K / .275 AVG
    Fielder -573 AB /  93 R / 37 HR / 106 RBI / 3 SB / 92 BB / 126 K / .282 AVG

    Howard beats both Pujols and Fielder in HR’s AND RBI’s

    Howard won Rookie of the Year his 1st year.
    Howard won the MVP in his 2nd year
    5th in MVP voting in his 3rd year
    2nd in MVP voting in his 4th year
    3rd in MVP voting in his 5th year
    10th in MVP voting in his 6th year
    10th in MVP voting in his 7th year

    He’s won a Silver Slugger and is a 3 time All-Star
    He won the HR Derby in an All-Star Game
    He has 1 World Series Ring
    He has 2 NL Penant Rings
    He has 6 straight NL Divisional Champion Rings
    He’s a 2 time NL HR Champion
    He’s a 3 time NL RBI Champion

    So all you haters out there – chew on them FACTS

    • hartvig 4 years ago

      Kara- While the fact that Howard’s contract is for 5 years instead of 9 or 10 years is a positive he also plays in a FAR better ball park for hitters than either Fielder or Pujols.  Over the past 5 years:

                   Howard         Fielder        Pujols
      OPS+       144              157            157                                                
                    124               130            190
                     141              166            189
                     127              135            173
                     125              164            150

      B-R WAR   2.6              3.8             8.3
                     2.8              2.1             9.6
                     4.4              6.1             8.8
                     2.0              2.7             7.1
                     2.7              5.2             5.4

      The reality is that in a neutral setting Howard is NOT as good as either Fielder or Pujols and Fielder has the added advantage of being 4 years younger (at least) than either of the other 2.

      • FillyPhan 4 years ago

        something must be up with disqus doublepost too

      • FillyPhan 4 years ago

        Howard hit more HR away from CBP than at the stadium. He can jack them anywhere and isnt due to a hitter friendly park.

  11. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    I guess their thinking was that by overpaying in terms of dollars, they could get a shorter term, which ultimately happened. I don’t think it’s as bad of a contract as guys like Keith Law make it out to be.

    Realistically $5 million dollars for a team like Philadelphia budgetary wise isn’t a horrible deal but it’s an overpayment none the less. I’d be curious to see how Howard would have fared on the market had he stayed healthy and put up the numbers he did in 2009, the year prior to his extension.

  12. iorekk 4 years ago

    they’re right

  13. iorekk 4 years ago

    they’re right

  14. I know! I love that winning the World Series is the barometer by which signings are evaluated. Like there are no other factors at play…

  15. I know! I love that winning the World Series is the barometer by which signings are evaluated. Like there are no other factors at play…

  16. basilisk4 4 years ago

    Sure, because it’s a franchise-crippling type of deal.  The guy can’t play defense or run at age 28, so how do you think he’ll be at those things in 4 or 5 years, let along 7, 8, or 9?  There simply is no way you can sign Prince Fielder to a deal of this length and cost without closing your eyes, crossing your fingers, and hoping it all somehow works out.

  17. 0vercast 4 years ago

    How much extra revenue does a World Series Championship bring to the club that wins it?

  18. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    My coach beaned me twice in a row in the same spot on my arm during batting practice. Needless to say, I was terrified of batting for the rest of my little league career.

  19. bjsguess 4 years ago

    If he was healthy AND putting up 2009 numbers then he would have been in the Prince territory contract wise. Of course, the last two years have been horrid (average of 1.5 WAR/season).

    It’s not a $5m/year overpay. He’s been worth a combined $13m over the past two seasons and he is coming off a major injury.
    The worst part of the deal was always that they did it so soon. As a team you are willing to provide a player financial security before you are required IF the player will compromise and take less money. In this case the Phillies provided that financial security two full years before they needed to AND then proceeded to significantly overpay.

    There is NO WAY that Ryan Howard would be signing a 5/$100m this offseason. Bad body, bad fielding, bad base running, serious injury, and clearly in his decline phase (we are two full years removed from his last monster season). At this stage he is a strong power hitter with a good BB rate. Problem is that there are tons of guys just like. The last two seasons Pena and Howard have contributed roughly equivalent WAR. Pena was signed for 1/$7.25 while Howard is at 5/$125.

    I like Howard but there is just no way to spin this as an even somewhat reasonable contract. It’s terrible. Good thing the Phillies have the dough and they have made some great signings (Halladay/Lee). For many clubs this would be a killer.

  20. bjsguess 4 years ago

    Multiple posts … thanks disqus. System error I guess means that it did post the comment while not displaying it.

  21. NickinIthaca 4 years ago

    No wonder everyone on this site wants to be a GM!

  22. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    They’re wrong. A signing determined by whether or not the Tigers get hot at the right time…

    It’s a good signing if Prince Fielder produces the way he’s capable of.

  23. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    They’re wrong. A signing determined by whether or not the Tigers get hot at the right time…

    It’s a good signing if Prince Fielder produces the way he’s capable of.

  24. A trillion dollars.

  25. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    I only really consider 2011 to be a decline in his game. He had a very good first half in 2010 and had, I think, his second best first half in terms of batting average for his career.

    Prior to him spraining his ankle, he put up: .292/.356/.528 with 23 home runs. I’d take that production.

    He was on pace for one of his best seasons batting average wise and was cutting down on the strikeouts.

    He got hurt on August 1st. Following the injury, he had a slashline of .125/.186/.200 to conclude August and had a very solid September with a .272/.405/.534

    I think had he stayed healthy, he would have probably put up something like a .280ish average, about a .360 obp and .500-.550 slugging percentage, with about 37-38 home runs. Which isn’t that much of a decline at all considering he played in a line up without Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins for most of the year.

    _______

    2011 was just horrible though and it ended horribly. Obviously RIGHT NOW he wouldn’t have gotten $100 million dollars…. but nobody could have predicted that Ryan would have torn his achillies. At the time though, for the production Howard was giving the team, it seemed reasonable he’d go out onto the market seeking 7/$140+, so they tried to get a shorter term deal.

    It’s a bad contract, I’m not justifying it by any means, but I just think people like Keith Law who think it’s one of the worst contracts in the history of the sport (and I think I agreed with him for the week after the NLDS) are making it out to be a lot worse of a contract than it should be made out to be.

    I’d take Ryan Howard at 5/$125 before I take John Lackey at the ridiculous price Boston’s paying him, AJ Burnett, Carl Crawford, Alfonso Soriano, etc.

  26. No its a zillion dollars

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