The Phillies signed slugger Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125MM extension today. The contract begins with the 2012 season and includes a 2017 option and a limited no-trade clause. At $25MM per year, Howard's deal ranks third in baseball history for average annual value. Unsurprisingly, the megadeal has not been well-received by analysts…
- ESPN's Rob Neyer considers the contract "a testament to old-school ignorance" and "a big bowl of wrong."
- Neyer's colleague Keith Law says the deal is "an overpay in both years and dollars."
- FanGraphs' Matthew Carruth says we should "say hello to baseball's newest worst contract." Carruth's colleague Dave Cameron agrees, and tweets that Howard's salary will serve as a full no-trade clause.
- Yahoo's Kevin Kaduk believes the Phillies would've been better off waiting. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports agrees, but in a video piece attempts to explain where the Phillies were coming from.
- SI's Jon Heyman tweets a diferent point of view, saying the deal represents a "good job by the Phillies" and is "just about right" for Howard.
the fact that Heyman is the only one that likes this deal speaks volumes about how horrible it is
Uhhh, who has more rbis and homers than Ryan Howard since he has been the starter? A-rod? no Albert? no. NOBODY does. The contract was market value. Is that one idiot saying this contract is worse than Vernon Wells, Barry Zito’s, or Soriano’s?
RBI (not RBIs) is a team stat. you are pretty much saying that Howard deserves all that money because Rollins, Utley and Victorino are able to get on base before he bats.
…and while he does hit homeruns you are comparing him to two players that are very different than him. Howard is a one dimensional player. he plays a weak position and only offers power. where as a player like Arod offers a prime position (SS or 3B) and offers speed as well as AVG. same thing with Pujols. while Pujols also plays 1B he offers more in respect to being an all around player than Howard does.
if howard gets about 140 million until he’s 36 over 6 years ( im counting next year), pujols will probably get 28mill/yr…but how many years….hymm
The question is who’s stupider? Ruben Amaro Jr or Jon Heyman.
I say Heyman.
Ruben has made some good decisions in the past
Like trading Cliff Lee?
I said some. the team did win a WS not too long ago and tried to repeat last year.
I agree the Lee move also falls under the stupid moves category tho.
And then signing Joe Blanton
I say Ruben. Heyman’s only job is to talk about baseball.
How can Heyman (or anyone), even if they think Howard will continue to perform at his current level for the next five years (which won’t happen), think that this is “just about right?”
Ryan Howard is NOT a $25MM player. Oh my goodness Ruben Amaro… what on Earth are you thinking?
they will regret it… big money for a DH…
im just curious, with an annual 25million/yr salary, does that make howard’s extension the third largest contract per AAV? only behind the 2 A-rod deals. just wondering.
Yes, it does.
Who is to say what a 25 mil player will be in 2014? By then it might look a lot more reasonable. I still think it is a bit high, but he is Ryan Howard, you have to pay him, or somebody else will.
Howard is not a 25M/year player now tho
You’re being incredibly naive if you think Howard would have commanded anywhere near 5/125 on the open market with Gonzalez, Fielder and Pujols out there. Sorry.
Are you saying we’re heading into hyper inflation?
Yes, you’re right anything can happen. But think: the contract is unreasonable NOW. Remember, it’s not just about 2014. There are many years leading up to that year. (At 25 mil a year)
At the present, he could have been signed for much less. (If not, then don’t capitulate to his unreasonable demands) Instead of 25 mil for year 2014, it could have been 18 mil or whatever. There are plenty of good/acceptable first basemen — many make it to FA every year. If this guy was Hanley, then I would agree.
This deal is stupid. No matter what happens in 2014.
Yes the years are lower, but he’s making more money than Teixiera per year now(not sure about it, i jus took the average value of Tex’s 8/180 which is 22.5M)… And if you think he’s a better all around player than Tex you are sadly mistaken…. Thats what makes this contract rediculous
(No Im not a Yankee fan… Just stating facts…)
Addition… The Yanks also overpaid to get him… Which they are able to do because of their financial resources… The question is, with this 25M a Yr, the 20M a Yr to Halladay, thats 45M locked into 2 players, do you think the phillies can put together a great team locking lets say 1/3 of their payroll into 2 players.
STL is going to be in the same boat soon, Holliday making 17M and Pujols set to use this contract as a way to make MUCH more than he would have…. STL could easily have 47M locked into 2 players.
Maybe the Phillies think the NL will go to the DH in the near future?
hmmmm….u might be onto something…there is a new CBA due after 2011….
and the union would love nothing more than to create 15 more jobs…tradition be damned
Nothing like giving out open market money when you’re the only team bidding.
Exactly what I was thinking. $125mm/5 was probably the max on Howard, so I don’t see why the Phillies weren’t willing to take their chances on the market.
The DH comments are unwarranted as Howard has actually become a league average first baseman defensively but I agree with the overall sentiment I’m seeing. It’s ridiculous that Philly would pay 25 million per year for 5 years when they could have waited and walked away with one of Howard, Fielder, Pujols (long shot), Pena, etc for much much less. As a braves fan this deal makes me very happy because though he’ll continue to be a feared middle of the order bat for the near future, age has not treated comparable players well (look at david ortiz) and philly locked themselves into paying him upwards of 25 million for those years
Forgot Adrian Gonzalez too, further proving my point
Yeah, sucks to be a Phillies fan when you could have a bargain like Troy Glaus as your first baseman.
Did I ever once say anything about atlanta’s first base situation? Didn’t think so. Obviously I’d much prefer Howard to Glaus, who wouldn’t; however, the braves don’t have the funds to go out and drop 25 million on a first baseman. However Freddie Freeman is probably a better bet at a cost of roughly 25 million over the next 5-6 years compared to 125 million, allowing the braves to make up the difference in 1B production at other positions with the money they save by having a cheap, young 1B
I was just kidding on that. Its just funny how fans of rival teams act like this is good news for them. Maybe it just means the Phillies are willing to spend what it takes to keep their home-grown core intact. I did not celebrate when Santana signed with the Mets, though that might turn in to an albatross contract. Great players get paid lots of money.
well when you add this to deals like Blanton, Ibanez, etc then you start to see a cumulative effect where the phillies have a high amount of money tied into a very small number of players. No im not happy that they have a superstar core which howard helps comprise but deals like these mean goodbye to guys like cliff lee (already gone) and in the near future jayson werth
Nick, the problem with constantly trying to be ‘efficient’ and replace actual production from expensive talent with as much cheap options as possible is that eventually you still have to spend money somewhere to get a stud. The people on here seem to think the number of people in the whole of baseball who should get paid is less than 5 (actually it might be just Pujols), so where’s the production going to come from? Stat heads want to save money at every position around the diamond… to use on what, exactly? You don’t get a ring for getting the biggest marginal return.
I never advocated pocketing the money as the more attractive option but rather leveraging the free agent 1B against each other when that FA class’s contracts expire would have allowed them to save money to possibly re-sign a Jayson Werth or pick up more quality pitching. It’s an overpay because you could have gotten Howard or a more than capable replacement (fielder, gonzalez, etc) for a lesser price and used the difference to make improvements elsewhere. Ultimately you’re right, the money should be spent, but why it was all spent on Howard is beyond me
Thank you for taking a huge chunk of your payroll in two players that will likely decline (Howard and Halladay) for the next couple years. ;D
Disclaimer: It wouldn’t surprise me if Halladay doesn’t decline, but I am relatively sure Howard will.
How do you feel about Santana’s contract?
Much less risky than Howard, but not as solid as Haladay’s.
halladay’s deal is up when he is 35. santana runs through until he is over 36. not much of a difference i know, but santana has already had 3 operations done on his elbow, albeit minor ones.
I said not as solid as Halladay’s….
You should just criticize the Howard contract. I’m a Mets fan and I envy the Halladay deal.
I’m not criticizing it I’m saying that it’s a huge chunck of payroll invested in two players.
I don’t see how anyone can say this is a good deal, let alone someone being paid to be a baseball analyst by a high profile company. What was the rush? What did the Phillies have to lose by waiting? It’s not like there was going to be a huge bidding war to pay Howard this much money. The Phillies have nothing to gain from this.
Maybe players are human beings who like job security, and play better when they can relax and focus on their game. And maybe this impacts the team in a positive way, when everyone knows they’re going to be together for a while.
They probably over payed, but not by as much as people think, averaging over 40 homeruns per year since 2006, 140 rbi basically all those years, batting around .270. Those are incredible numbers. You deserve alot of money for stats like that, if the phillise didn’t pay it, someone else would. He should be getting around 19 million or 20. I think the years is the worst part though.
Please don’t tell me you just tried to pass off his average as a salient point for the contract. *Facepalm. A lot of “old-school ignorance” going on as Neyer pointed out, even in this talkback. The best part of it all is that even the Phillies organization doesn’t realise that Chase Utley is their best player.
I would have to agree with Utley as their best player. He’s just a fantastic player
if the phillies value howard at 25 million per season then utley should eclipse a-rod’s current annual value at the minimum. He’s the third best player in the national league, possibly second, right there with Hanley and Pujols when factoring in positional value. Superb fielder (how he hasn’t won a gold glove is beyond me) and one of the best hitting second basemen of all time who looks like he’ll age well. If the Phillies wanted to hand out a megadeal it should have been chase on the receiving end
Since you made a couple comments on RBI being a complete waste and you alluded to “old-school ignorance” I have a question: why exactly are RBIs “”completely” useless. The game is measured by runs, isn’t it? People get paid to produce, don’t they? I haven’t been able to find a particularly good explanation for why people feel this way. It seems that many just regurgitate what they hear Keith Law and others say. Can you help me with this? You seem to feel passionately about new school stats, and I’d really like a decent answer.
RBI is an opportunity not skill stat. RBI’s are a good measure of how many chances you had with runners in scoring position but do little to measure how effective were you in those opportunities. A ground out that scores a run counts for 1 RBI as does a solo homer or a double with a man scoring, but would you really value the ground out the same? RBIs aren’t worthless but must be used with other stats to assess its validity in each individual case. Also clutch hitting (BA w/RISP) has such a great variance from year to year for players that it’s ridiculous to qualify a player as an “RBI man.”
Who else has the funds to pay Howard?
The Yankees are out. The Tigers are out. The Mets are out (I’ll assume Davis is for real). The Cubs are out. The Angels are out. The Red Sox? They want Agon or Fielder.
The point is: 1st base is a very common position in the market and a lot of teams have good players there already. This deal is nonsense.
if the sox sign fielder in the future I will run through the streets in my birthday suit.
Wow! Assuming Davis is for real after a couple games, that’s ballsy.
as a brewers fan this sucks… what will the much younger prince want now…. i think howard just priced out prince for the crew….
If anything, this contract REALLY should have waited. Howard’s value is in direct proportion to Pujols. If Albert gets $30, then Howard’s about $20-25. His value wouldn’t really go up from this. HOWEVER, they could have waited 1-2 years and them given him less when (or if, I guess) his production drops in his early/mid-30s.
This deal isn’t the new worst one in the game, but it’s pretty darned bad.
Not a fan of this deal. Just hope he ages better than other lefty sluggers (I’d say Ortiz but that would just cue the cries of HGH).
Unless the whole team takes a nosedive, Howard will probably give the Phillies a lot of years like 2008, in which he led the league in HR and RBI, came in second in MVP voting, and had a good but not elite 124 OPS+. I suppose the Phillies can live with that at $25 million per. Casual fans look at 140+ RBI and think the player is God’s gift to the team, even if a better hitter would have driven in even more runs.
I bet the reaction in Philadelphia to this deal is overwhelmingly positive and will remain so for much of its duration, even if it’s objectively a stupid contract.
No one in Philadelphia has ever been overwhelmingly positive about anything. That’s not how they roll.
Forget writer reaction, I can’t wait to see John Mozeliak’s reaction.
Wow, Pena would have been cheaper and less years with similar production. Overpaid.
pena is also 3 years older. just saying.
although not a fan of howard, philly or this contract; i would have to disagree with you on that one. Cheaper, yes; similar production, no way. BTW- Pena is only 18 months older, just sayin’.
Ill give them the right time for Years… 5 Years for Howard seems alot less risky then the 8 for Holliday or the 5 for Bay(the options too easy from what i heard to not vest)…
But the Dollars are way up there… I expected Pujols to use Tex as framework for his contract with STL, and since Pujols is a bit better, but gotta cut out the Yankee inflation… Pujols can get close to 30M… but dont mention Tex at all, just Mention this contract and the fact that Pujols is so much better than howard…. Pujols will walk away with 40M a year…
— Holliday’s contract has a team option for year 8. It automatically vests if he places in the Top 10 for the MVP award in 2016. He has accomplished that task exactly once in his career. And honestly, if he does finish in the top 10 I’m sure the Cards will be happy to take him on a 1/$17m deal.
— Jason Bay’s option year will vest with 600 PA’s in 2013 OR with at least 500 PA’s in both 2012 and 2013. That means, he will need to start about 145 games/year. Bay has been healthy so far, but it’s hard to predict how he will hold up 3 years from now. I wouldn’t consider either option as really easy to get.
— No way Pujols gets $40m. Topping what A-Rod got will be a huge challenge considering that everyone outside of NY thinks the guy is overpaid. $30m (+/- $2m) over 8 years would be a reasonable place to start. Depending on how the market looks those numbers might go up or down a little.
I was kidding on 40M a year… I dont think its possible for any player to make that much… but if Ryan Howard can make 25M, Pujols SHOULD make 40…
Okay 7 for Holliday is still alot… and if bay just needs 500PAs, he just needs 125-130 games in both 2012 and 2013… That doesnt mean he needs to be productive… just needs the atbats
This contract is just a joke. I couldn’t see Howard turning down 5 years 100 mil at this point. If he did turn down such a deal, it’s only because he knows the Phillies front office is extremely foolish. Howard’s numbers are inflated because of the people who bat in front and behind him and because of the ballpark he plays in, that’s inarguable. He’s not a complete enough player to get this kind of money, he’s just a homerun hitter that plays OK defense.
The overpay is steep. No question about it.
There are only a couple of likely scenarios with how this can play out.
— Howard performs at the same level for the next 2 years. He posts an OPS of around 925. He continues to be roughly league average defensively. He doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. LIKELIHOOD: Decent, but not great. RESULT: You wait until mid-year 2012. You offer him today’s deal. If he doesn’t take it you look at trading him. If he does take it you are in the same boat as you are today.
— Howard improves his performance. His walks return to the 100 range. His BA improves some. His OPS climbs to 975 or higher. LIKELIHOOD: Not gonna happen. RESULT: You end up having to offer him a bigger deal – probably closer to $30m/year or you explore trading him.
— Howard regresses some. His walk rate continues to drop. He starts to get nicked up here and there with injuries. His defense regresses with age. Nothing too serious, just a typical downward cycle with age (his prime years to date were 06/07). LIKELIHOOD: Most likely scenario. RESULT: You evaluate where he is in 2 years. If he still warrants a new deal you look at a $17-20m deal over 4 years. You also will have other options available via trade/FA/farm system.
— Howard shows significant regression. He starts to get injured on a regular basis. His defense and base running become major obstacles. His power drops into the mid 30’s for HR’s and his walk rate plummets as pitchers no longer fear him. LIKELIHOOD: Fairly likely. As others have pointed out, comparables for Howard are not great. They tend to age poorly. RESULT: His value falls dramatically for 2013 and beyond. You are looking at a guy who might get $10m/year on a 2 year deal.
There really is only one scenario where this signing represents a value to the Phillies. It is also the most unlikely scenario to play out. In the most likely scenarios the Phillies are either paying market value or significantly more than market value. In the worst case scenario, this represents one of the worst deals in baseball.
Good signing that needed to be done
Howard may slump a little here or there but he is worth the money both on the field and off the field as everyone in Philly loves him
Ryan, is that you defending yourself?
The fact that Black Adam Dunn now makes twice as much as White Adam Dunn should have MLK, Jr. smiling down from heaven.
edit: sorry, double post.
The deal looks even worse when you see that they have to pay 10mil just to buy out his 6th year. 10mil buyout, If I’d played baseball I’d be calling Ryan Howard’s agent right now
No you wouldn’t. you would be calling Ruben Amaro Jr. to convince him to sign you… Unless you were latin, then you would be calling Omar Minaya.
No you wouldn’t. you would be calling Ruben Amaro Jr. to convince him to sign you… Unless you were latin, then you would be calling Omar Minaya.