The Phillies have declined their 2017 club options for first baseman Ryan Howard and right-hander Charlie Morton, per a team announcement. Philadelphia will now pay Howard a $10MM buyout in lieu of the $23MM that it would have owed the slugger had it picked up the option. Morton would have made $9.5MM next season, but he will receive a far more modest $1MM buyout instead.
The club’s decision to move on from Howard comes as no surprise, but it’s the end of a long era that was quite fruitful at times. A fifth-round pick in 2001, Howard debuted in earnest in 2005 and served as one of the majors’ preeminent home run threats from then until 2011. Howard clubbed at least 45 home runs in four seasons during that span, including a majors-best 58 in 2006 en route to National League MVP honors. Two years later, Howard once again paced the league with 48 long balls in a season that ended with the Phillies’ first World Series championship since 1980.
On the strength of his early success, the three-time All-Star signed a five-year, $125MM extension with the Phillies in April 2010, but the deal was mostly disastrous for the team. From that point forward, Howard batted an underwhelming .240/.314/.452 in 3,386 plate appearances, though he did add 160 more homers to give him 382 as a Phillie – second in club history to Mike Schmidt’s 548. Between his declining offense and inability to contribute as a baserunner or defender, Howard combined for a microscopic 0.4 fWAR during his final seven years with the franchise. The soon-to-be 37-year-old indicated in September that he wants to continue his career, but it’s likely his only hope will be to catch on as a designated hitter with an American League team. Even that might be a stretch, though, as Howard slashed just .196/.257/.453 in 362 PAs this year while ceding at-bats to Tommy Joseph.
Morton should fare better than Howard on the open market, but injuries have beset the 32-year-old throughout his career and that continued in 2016. After making just four starts, Morton underwent season-ending surgery on a torn left hamstring. The Phillies hoped Morton would serve as a veteran anchor to their young pitching staff upon acquiring him from the Pirates last December, but the injury prevented that from happening. When healthy, Morton has been a usable back-end option, having pitched to a 4.54 ERA while inducing grounders at a 55.4 percent clip in 893 career innings. From 2013-14, his best two-year stretch, Morton logged a 3.52 ERA and 58.9 percent ground-ball rate in 273 1/3 frames.
That is awesome $10,000,000.00 to stay home and watch baseball on TV
I would rather have that than pay 24,000,000.00 to hurt the team.
Or ya know, $10 million to walk away and sign with a new team for about $5 mil
I thought this was a robo spam post for a second
Howard contract was horrible from day one this was really the only option they had.
I remember debating this with my dad the day that extension was signed – he thought it was a great idea, and I was right…
If Charlie could ever stay healthy for just one season……….
Well, it’s official. My childhood is over.
Childhood’s end, your fantasies merge with harsh realities
Damn lol I remember how all that feels, being an astro fan and all. If I could give you two pieces of advice for being a fan of a last place team.
1. Start following their top prospects more.
2. Get to changing that username to something more suitable (PhilliesTBD sounds pretty fitting)
Dookie Howser, MD
Astros in 2044!
It’s April, 2010 and the Phillies see that there are going to be three highly paid first basemen available come 2012. Howard, Fielder and Pujols. The Phillies fear that the price will be even higher if they wait until 2012 so they decide to give Howard a 5 year 125M contract (including a $10M buyout following 2016) that runs from 2012 – 2016. Howard’s age 32 to 36 seasons. Fast forward, 2012 rolls around and Fielder signs a 9 year/214 million dollar contract. Due to an unfortunate injury Fielder retires with 96 million still owed to him between 2017-2020, 5 years which he obviously won’t be able to play (not sure if he forfeited that money due to the injury and retirement or if a settlement was reached, or if he is on a perpetual DL so he gets the whole 96 Million). Value the team received for actual on field playing time, 4 years/$118 million. Looking at the entire contract dollar amount, ultimately he plays 4 partial years (on field) and was paid $53.5 million per year actually played. Let’s move to Albert Pujols. He became a free agent in 2012. He signs a 10 year/240 million dollar contract that carries him to his age 41 season when his playing contract will wrap up with a 30 million dollar check. For the 2017-2021 seasons Pujols will be paid $140 million dollars. Just looking at that part of the contract, for his age 37 to 41 seasons – 5 years/140 million. If the Phillies signed Howard to a “bad contract” what do we call the Fielder contract and what might we call the Pujols contract in a few years? I agree the Howard contract wasn’t great but it was the Phillies way of holding on to one of the top first baseman (following a 45 HR, 141 RBI 2009 season), home grown for a reduced rate over who (Fielder and Pujols) would be determining the contract dollars in 2012 and for less money than the other two received.