Ryan Howard Rumors
Jimmy Rollins said earlier today that there's a "good chance" he re-signs with the Phillies after the season. Here are some more updates from around the NL East, where all five teams are in offseason mode...
- Ryan Howard's five-year, $125MM contract ranks fourth on Joe Posnanski's list of the ten worst contracts in baseball at SI.com. Howard, whose deal kicks in next season, is "becoming a less and less useful player all the time," Posnanski writes.
- The Phillies interviewed Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan for their director of player development position this week, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Philadelphia now has a short window to decide whether they're going to offer Jordan the job, which previously fell under Chuck LaMar's responsibilities.
- The Phillies will look to sign a free agent closer this offseason and a division rival could be interested in similar relievers. GM Sandy Alderson has hinted that the Mets will find their next closer on the free agent market, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
- A Spring Training conflict between Jayson Werth and Nyjer Morgan nearly escalated to the point that punches were thrown, according to Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post. Now a member of the Brewers, Morgan has emerged as a star (along with his many alter egos).
The Cardinals, Giants, Brewers, Red Sox, Twins and Mariners are possible suitors for Jose Reyes this summer, writes Jon Heyman of SI.com. However, the Mets don’t have an obvious replacement for their shortstop and attendance could suffer if they deal Reyes, as Heyman points out. (Though the Mariners have won seven of their last nine games and haven't obtained much production at short, it's still extremely difficult to imagine them trading for Reyes.) Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors:
- Derek Lowe could be available at the trade deadline given the Braves’ starting pitching depth.
- The White Sox have insurance on Jake Peavy, according to Heyman. This means that the team may already have started receiving payments to help cover the injured right-hander’s $16MM salary.
- Heyman, a defender of Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125MM contract from the start, says the first baseman has been “worth every penny so far.”
- On the one-year anniversary of Howard's deal, I concluded that Howard and agent Casey Close had done well to sign the contract.
- The Nationals may want to consider locking manager Jim Riggleman up, Heyman writes. The Nationals have a team option for Riggleman's 2012 services.
Ryan Howard's five-year, $125MM extension doesn't kick in until 2012, but it has been exactly one year since the Phillies signed their slugging first baseman long-term. A year ago this time, the reaction to GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was critical. Why, analysts asked, would the Phillies commit nine figures for Howard's age 32-36 seasons when he doesn't play a premium position and figures to be well into his decline phase by 2016, the last guaranteed year of the contract?
The Phillies had their reasons for making the deal; Howard had reached 45 homers for the fourth consecutive season in 2009, further establishing himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game. Yet Rob Neyer, Keith Law, Dave Cameron, Ken Rosenthal and others argued that Howard's power didn't necessarily justify a five-year deal worth $25MM per season.
Since finalizing the contract, Howard has hit .278/.357/.508 with 31 homers, 111 RBI, 24 doubles and 5 triples. The 31-year-old made the All-Star team in 2010 and cracked the top ten in the NL MVP balloting, though he posted a career-low slugging percentage and hit fewer home runs than usual. Though his numbers are good, they aren't what we're used to seeing from Howard and the Phillies may have been counting on more (he has just 2.4 total wins above replacement since the beginning of 2010).
Howard remains an above-average first baseman, a key player for a perennial contender that currently has the best record in the game. But he's older and less productive than Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the two premier position players who will hit free agency after 2011. If Howard had not signed his extension, he would have hit the open market this offseason as the third-most appealing player at his position.
His career numbers would have generated lots of interest, especially if he continues producing in 2011, and there's no doubt that he would have been in line for an impressive free agent contract. $25MM per year, however, would likely have been out of reach for Howard. We won't know for another five years whether the initial reaction to the deal was fair, but at this point it appears that the analysts were right: Howard and agent Casey Close are looking smart for signing the $125MM contract a year ago.
Casey Close, the agent for prominent MLB Players including Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard will join NBA agent Jeff Schwartz at Excel Sports Management, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Close left CAA Sports in February.
Close is expected to represent Jeter, Howard and Derrek Lee on baseball matters, but the agent will share the marketing responsibilities for Jeter and Howard with CAA going forward, according to Mullen. Paul Pierce and Blake Griffin are among Schwartz’s notable NBA clients.
Jeter (through 2014) and Howard (through 2016) are under contract long-term, but Lee is on a one-year deal and will become a free agent again after the season. MLBTR's Agency Database has agency information for all teams and players.
Agent Casey Close is leaving CAA Sports when his five-year contract expires at the end of the month, reports Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal (subs. req'd). A hat tip goes out to Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball.
Mullen says that CAA and Close are still trying to work out the details of his departure, "which may involve CAA and Close sharing the representation of some of the clients going forward." Close represents Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Michael Cuddyer, and Derrek Lee, among others.
It's unclear if Close will join a new a firm or work independently, though Brown notes that high profile agents (such as Dan Lozano) have been going out on their own recently. Close was one of the first sports agents that CAA hired when it launched its sports division in April 2006. It is primarily a Hollywood talent firm.
Two years ago today the Athletics acquired Matt Holliday from the Rockies in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith. Holliday hit .286/.378/.454 in exactly 400 plate appearances with Oakland before being dealt to the Cardinals for a package led by Brett Wallace at the 2009 trade deadline.
Street has battled injuries but has been solid when on the mound for Colorado, pitching to a 3.30 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 109 innings. Smith has appeared in just eight games for the Rox (all starts), putting up a 6.23 ERA. The real get was CarGo, who will certainly be in the MVP mix after a .336/.376/.598 season with 34 doubles, 34 homers, 26 stolen bases, and a batting title.
The hot stove league will certainly bring us more blockbuster trades, but for now you'll have to settle for this long collection of links, the best the blogosphere had to offer this week...
- SPANdemonium interviews Twins prospect Niko Goodrum.
- M.C. Antil reflects on Bobby Cox's time as a GM and manager (part one, part two).
- We Should Be GMs lists the longest tenured player on all 30 teams.
- Sabernomics dispels some hot stove myths.
- U.S.S. Mariner lays out their plan for Seattle's offseason.
- FanSpeak does the same, just for the Baltimore Orioles.
- Meanwhile, Prospect Insider comes up with some trade ideas for the Mariners.
- Baseball Time In Arlington examines the idea of the Rangers signing Carl Crawford.
- Meet The Mess looks at some potential free agent targets for the Mets.
- Royals Review wonders who the "real get" in the David DeJesus trade is.
- At Home Plate thinks the DeJesus deal shows that Kansas City wants to win.
- Drunk Jays Fans chimes in on Zack Greinke and the Blue Jays as only they can.
- The Process Report explains why trading B.J. Upton now makes sense for the Rays.
- Ivy Report believes the Cubs need to strike fast and trade for Adrian Gonzalez.
- SD Sports Net lists some outfielders that could help the Padres next year.
- Athletics Nation provides a scouting report on Hisashi Iwakuma with some help from PitchFX.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness looks at Tsuyoshi Nishioka as a second base option for the Dodgers.
- Red Sox Beacon muses about Boston picking up David Ortiz's option.
- Wahoo Blues looks at some backup plans for the Indians in case Carlos Santana has a setback from his knee injury.
- Examiner wonders if a Prince Fielder for Edwin Jackson trade makes sense.
- Analyze This looks at Jorge de la Rosa as a dark horse free agent.
- Yankeeist examines some designated hitter options for the Yankees.
- Baseball Analytics breaks down Ryan Howard's fall from grace.
- Redleg Nation wants to discuss how valuable Jay Bruce is.
- True Grich rants about the Angels and their offseason.
- Crashburn Alley reflects on Jamie Moyer's playing career.
- Mets Gazette provided part one of their top 50 free agents list with predictions. Here's Tim Dierkes' list for comparison.
- Fantasy Rundown compiles links for all of the various prospect lists out there.
- Last, but certainly not least, Pine Tar And Pocket Protectors provides your 2011 Montreal Expos roster.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
On this date three years ago, the Astros fired manager Phil Garner and GM Tim Purpura. They were replaced on an interim basis by Cecil Cooper and Tal Smith, respectively. Cooper kept the job until he was fired last September, and the team is now under the direction of Brad Mills. Ed Wade took over the GM job about a month after Purpura was fired, and has held it since.
Here's a look at what's being written in the baseball corner of the web...
- Gaslamp Ball interviewed Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.
- Pirates Prospects spoke to a Certified Public Accountant about the Pirates' leaked financial records.
- Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. wonders if teams receiving revenue sharing money should earn a profit.
- Think Blue Crew analyzes Ryan Howard's swings and misses.
- SPANdemonium wonders what it would take to lock up Gio Gonzalez long-term.
- Rays Index revisits Andrew Friedman's biggest mistake.
- DRays Bay explains why Brad Hawpe makes sense for the Rays.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness thinks Ned Colletti should do the right thing and let Manny Ramirez go.
- Nolan Writin' looks at who the Rangers should call up on September 1st.
- Cubs Pack wonders who will play first base for the Cubbies next season.
- Yankeeist explores the idea of the Yankees signing Paul Konerko in the offseason.
- Walk Like A Sabermetrician suggests some ways to improve the waiver process.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Let's face it: if the Royals aren't going to give Alex Gordon a chance to play regularly when they are 11-21, 10 games out of first, and weeks shy of Memorial Day, he has fallen out of favor with the club. After just 38 plate appearances, the Royals sent Gordon - the player they once selected him second overall - to Triple-A to make way for... Alberto Callaspo.
But Gordon, still just 26, is a career .320/.433/.577 hitter in the minor leagues. Clearly, some team should take a flier on Gordon as a possible long-term answer at third base. Which teams are best suited to do so, and how much is it likely to cost?
- The Phillies seem like an interesting landing spot for Gordon, though not at first blush. Placido Polanco, after all, is signed through 2012. But Gordon could be an upgrade from Greg Dobbs at the very least. If Gordon fulfills his promise, the Phils could attempt to deal Polanco. More to the point, Gordon seems to fit the Phillies' template- his acquisition would be akin to the buy-low on Jayson Werth- and Philadelphia has depth in the farm system. A couple of their secondary pitching prospects could get it done.
- The Orioles have a combined zero homers from Rhyne Hughes and Garrett Atkins, so Gordon could appeal to them as an option at first. Corner infield prospects Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell lurk in the minors, but with Miguel Tejada locked up for just one year, Gordon would provide the O's with depth and upside.
- The Athletics don't have a ton in the way of a present or future player blocking Gordon. Kevin Kouzmanoff is a decent option, but he hardly has Gordon's upside at this point. With a number of nearly-ready pitching prospects to integrate into a young staff, the Athletics could well deal from pitching depth for Gordon, too.
- The Padres are another possible landing spot, with Chase Headley unlikely to keep up his batting average-fueled start. San Diego has several third base prospects, including James Darnell, who Baseball America ranked as the organization's third-best prospect heading into the season. Still, none of the Padres prospects have even proven themselves at Double-A, so acquiring Gordon and giving him the chance to win the third base job wouldn't impact any of them in the short-term. It would also echo the acquisition of another buy-low, former top draft pick: Adrian Gonzalez. A package of one of the Padres' third base prospects and a pitcher should be enough to pry Gordon loose.
Links to check out as we await Cliff Lee's Mariners debut...
- BoSox manager Terry Francona says that the upcoming player move to make room on the roster for Daisuke Matsuzaka will almost certainly involve a pitcher, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- If you play fantasy baseball, be sure to follow our @closernews feed on Twitter. We've got instant news on all closer situations, enabling you to conquer the save category.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Ryan Howard extension negotiations, speaking to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Howard's agent, Casey Close.
- In an MLB.com mailbag, T.R. Sullivan suggests that Frank Francisco could be a prime trade candidate in July, particularly if the Rangers are slipping from playoff contention.
- Luis Mendoza cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Mendoza was designated for assignment by the Royals last week.
- GM Jim Hendry says prospect Starlin Castro will join the Cubs at some point this season, but he won't say how soon, according to ESPNChicago. A source told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago earlier in the week that Castro's promotion could be right around the corner.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer doesn't think the White Sox have any need for Jermaine Dye. We heard earlier today that Dye believes he'd be a fit for the South Siders.
- Talking to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse, Brewers outfielder Jody Gerut explained why the Padres should retain Adrian Gonzalez.
- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez answered questions from Denver Post readers, explaining that "it's a really bad feeling when you get traded" and he'd like to sign a contract "for a few years." Gonzalez is not arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season, and he's represented by Scott Boras.
- The Yankees are not typically inclined to sign young players to long-term deals. It makes sense to maintain flexibility, as they did going year-to-year with Chien-Ming Wang. On the other hand, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that Robinson Cano's extension has worked out quite well. Will the Yankees exercise his $14MM club option for 2012, or choose the $2MM buyout?
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald believes that the future of the Red Sox catching position points more toward Adalberto Ibarra than Victor Martinez.
On this date five years ago, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux faced off in the first matchup of 300-game winners since Don Sutton and Steve Carlton in 1987. Maddux's Cubs topped Clemens' Astros by the score of 3-2.
Let's look at what's being written around the blogosphere, with a heavy dose of Ryan Howard contract reactions...
- Crashburn Alley breaks down the massive contract the Phillies gave their first baseman.
- More Hardball comes up with a few reasons to dislike the deal.
- Sports Are Involved... takes a look at the price of greatness.
- Disciples of Uecker examines what Howard's deal means for Prince Fielder.
- The Pale Hose Pariah wonders if the White Sox should look to sign Paul Konerko to an extension.
- 1 Blue Jays Way interviewed Jays' prospect Zach Stewart, part of last summer's Scott Rolen trade.
- The Baseball Opinion reviews the trade that sent Ben Zobrist from the Astros to Tampa Bay.
- Camden Depot looks at the trade value of draft picks, not that MLB allows such things.