The Dip: Two Men Enter. One Man Leaves.

Posted by The Dipsy, Sun, January 24, 2010 11:29 AM | Comments: 80
Posts, The Dip

This is The Dip, a column penned by our regular commenter, The Dipsy.

As the Phillies resign their players at rapid pace the inexorable march towards the inevitable begins. Everybody worth resigning is signed except for two: Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth. I’m sure the Phillies front office wants to keep them both – we all do. But it looks like this season both players – friends – will be pitted against each other in the public view. In the eyes of many fans they will be playing against each other for the opportunity to stay with the Phillies for the next 4 or 5 years; while the other is jettisoned because he is unaffordable. Welcome to the Salarydome – two men enter, one man leaves. Here is the case for both.

Jayson Werth, at 31, is seemingly entering the prime of his career and last year he emerged as a bona fide power hitter. He is fast. He is a good defender with a nice arm. He can seemingly do everything well. He fits into this lineup like a hand in a glove and by all accounts he’s a great teammate and he is definitely a gamer. Some consider him injury prone, but a player can’t avoid getting hit in the wrist with a pitched ball, even if it did take him the better part of a couple seasons to recover. Financially speaking, Jayson is a bit of an anomaly. He is just starting to become a premier player at a relatively late stage in his career. When his current contract is over he will be 32 and without a big payday in his pocket. I would imagine that someone in his position would consider this his one and only shot to get the big years and big money. A five year contract would take him to 37 and I imagine, if he has a year like he did last year, that he’ll be asking for about $15m a year. God bless him, he deserves it.

Ryan Howard, on the other hand, is one of the greatest sluggers of all-time. When he is hot he can carry a team for weeks. His stats are eye-popping. We have run out of superlatives to describe his power. Yet, he is still a below average fielder (despite an improvement last season), his plate discipline stinks and he can’t hit lefties. Since he stopped taking walks and picking pitches, sometime in 2007 or so, he has become a one dimensional player. Unlike Werth, Ryan has already made a lot of money. One would think that he doesn’t feel the need to extract every ounce of his perceived worth out of the Phillies come contract time – that is, if he wants to stay here. If he wants maximum value, “no problem”, I say. Get it while you can. The problem with signing Ryan to a 5-year deal is that it would take him into his mid-thirties and at huge money. If that bat slows down in Year 3 or so, that’s a lot of money for the Phillies to live with given the production they’d be getting.

Taking everything into consideration who should Ruben sign? Ryan Howard.

Werth is a fabulous all around player who has played great for a season and a half. His right handed bat is the lightning to Ryan’s thunder. And he’s cheaper. Ryan Howard IS one dimensional, but what a dimension it is. The mere fact that he can hit a 500-foot home run at any time makes pitchers pitch differently and fielder’s play out of position. His mere presence in the four hole adds 20 points to Utley’s batting average and 10 to Werth’s. He is a game changer and the franchise along with it. He once uttered the words “just get me to the plate, fellas” in a huge spot and then knocked in the game-winning hit. To me, it’s hard to put a price tag on that kinda player. While we would spend more money, we will be a much better team than without him because, truth be told, there are more than a few Jason Werths in major league baseball. There is only one Ryan Howard.

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About The Dipsy

The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 fdoyle11

    Really tough call. The only reason Howard might get the contract is because Dom Brown is a rising star

  • Posts: 0 howardhrbasher

    stick werth in the number 4 slot and his rbis would approach howards,howard is a liability in the field,cant throw,cant run,has digressed in his plate discipline and hurts this team more than he carries it

  • Posts: 0 keng

    I think dipsy said it exactly right – as good as jayson werth is and may have been for the past couple years, there are more than a few jayson werths in major league baseball, but there is only one [or two to three] ryan howards. So, despite his downsides, noone being perfect except maybe albert pujoils, the phillies must do everything they can to retain him. And its a good thing for the phillies to have a $20 plus million slot in their $140 million payroll for one ryan howard type player – those players just get that kind of money even if you cant quite justify it!!

  • Posts: 0 The Dipshit

    I say give ‘em both 10 years and 10 million dollars and be done with it!

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    We’ll see what happens in 2010… it’ll really depend on that.

    Dipsy: small edit, he didn’t homer when he said “get me to the plate”… he got a game-tying double to right field. Oh man, that was sweet.

  • Posts: 0 Johnny

    I’d have to say Howard also. He’s too good to let go.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    Great write up, one correction, following the “just get me to the plate fellas” Howard doubled in two runs. It wasn’t a homer.

  • Posts: 0 mattjg

    I assume by “homered” you mean doubled?

    Is there any evidence that Howard would demand less money than he’s worth?

    And when did “getting on base” cease to be a dimension? Sure .360 is a far cry from Howard’s .425 OBP in his MVP season, but he’s still getting on base at a fairly impressive rate.

    While I would love to see the Phillies keep both players, I think there are teams out there that would be willing to overpay for both. Howard has the type of body and skills that are susceptible to precipitous decline (see Vaughn, Mo) and Werth is already at the end of what one would expect to be his peak years. I can’t pick one player over the other without seeing what kind of a deal each is offered or accepts.

    As for your assertion that Howard adds .20 to Utley’s BA and .10 to Werth’s? Prove it. Or even give some evidence that might show you aren’t completely off your rocker. Most people who have objectively looked at lineup protection have come to the conclusion that it’s a myth, but even if there is something to the theory, there is absolutely no evidence that I’ve seen that one player can effect another player’s BA .10 per season, let alone .20.

  • Posts: 0 DudleyMonk

    Good blog. I hope we can keep both players and remain optimistic that ownership sees the value of keeping a dynamic offense. If we cannot keep both, we should aggressively market one and really try to get something in return — not like the Curt Schilling deal. I agree that Howard is the more special of the two and the one to keep if we cannot keep both.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Keep both. use Ibanez’ money to retain Werth and then use Lidge’s money to retain Howard. The players that will be tough to retain if you retain these two are Hamels and Rollins.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    mattjg..the idea of line up protection is absolutely not a myth. Look at how crappy David Ortiz is now that Manny is gone. That’s just one example.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    You know how I feel Dipsy….keep Jayson.

    Like I just said in the other thread…Howard isn’t as godd without Werth protecting him.

    And Werth is more of a versatile player.

    Howard at 23-25 million per….Werth at 15 per…

    ….I just don’t see the $8-10 million more for Ryan Howard as a better value for this team.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    psujoe…Ibanez and Lidge’s contracts combined are maybe enough to resign Howard alone, certainly not both.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew R.

    A lot of people in philly-world take for granted how great Howard’s production truly is. It’s become expected that he hits 45+ homers and 140+ rbi. That’s quite a higher benchmark than the standard 30hr/100rbi guy.

    Werth easily has 4 of the 5 tools (average might come around), but corner OF spots are a dime a dozen. It would suck letting him go, but he is replaceable.

    I think the players are going to dictate who gets what. If they’re asking for the moon, then all the phils can do is submit their best offer and hope for the best. The team will still be very good even without those two. We don’t have to lead the entire National League in runs every year to be good. With 2 legitimate aces, we can be mediocre at run scoring and still be championship caliber.

    Here’s just a piece of food for thought….. What if we trade Howard after 2010? We could keep Werth and still have something left in the tank for a 1B and we’ll probably get some nice prospects in return. OR, maybe Ruben is looking at HOward running out his contract and then shifting Chase over to first to prolong his career a little bit, cuz the kid certainly abuse his body out there.

  • Posts: 0 jrollpatrol08

    good write up, dipsy. very well said. i agree 100% on keeping howard over werth. home-grown pure sluggers like ryan howard do not come around very often, and the phils team deserves a guy like this. ryan howard is the type of player that always played on the ‘great’ teams when i was growing up…and in regards to his talent and ability i would lament, ‘why cant the phils ever have a player like THAT on our team?’… chase utley fits that sort of player profile as well, and i am grateful that we wont be having contract discussions about him for many years to come…

    jayson werth has probably the best plate coverage i have seen in a while. his ability to take an outside pitch and poke it the opposite way is definitely a great offensive skill that perfectly complements his league-leading plate discipline. although howard’s plate discipline is absolutely dreadful, this is something i think he can still fine-tune (like his defense this past offseason) to make himself closer to an albert-pujols-type hitter. the guy still strikes fear into opposing pitchers and one of the top pure sluggers around…thats what i want…

    now if werth gives the phils a decent hometown discount, a stunning ‘offer-you-cant-refuse,’ then im sure it spells the end for the big man. but i think this is the only way the phils consider werth over howard…

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Andrew R..

    Werth isn’t just a corner outfielder….he can play center really well…and remember…he’s also a catcher as well (not that you would just put him there…but he CAN do it)..

    He would probably play 1st base…if you asked him….and wouldn’t embarrass himself.

    My point is that Jayson is an extremely versatile player.

  • Posts: 0 jrollpatrol08

    but man the money difference between the two is hard to ignore, dipsy— you are gonna have approximately 10million per season difference in salary between the two players. especially if you think of it in terms of money going to other positions—if the phils let werth go, how much are they saving? eh right now maybe about 10million ish…if they let howard go they are saving at least 20plus million. thats alot of money to put towards other positions…..damn its alot tougher when you look at it like that…..but i still take howard. a 4year 100mil deal will keep him in red pinstripes until hes 36. im all for that

  • Posts: 0 BS

    One thing to note about Ryan’s walk rate is that it actually hasn’t changed that much over the past few years. The big difference is that his intentional walks have dropped dramatically over the past few years.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Ed R, you have to take into account that the Phils are already paying Howard and Werth 27 million. Howard(20)+Werth(7)+Lidge(11.5)+Ibanez(11.5)=50 million. Trade Ibanez for prospects and give 6 or 7 million of his 11.5 to Werth. Pay Brown .5 K. So you could even eat come of Raules money and come out ahead. Next year Lidges 11.5 salaray is up. Buy out his option for 1.5 and take 5 of the 10 million towards Howard. You’d have about 8 or 9 left over for a closer.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    some of Raul’s money.

  • Posts: 0 joepa

    psujoe – is Lidge’s contract up after 2010 season or after the 2011 season?

  • Posts: 0 joepa

    One question I’d like to pose is if Jamie Moyer is not healthy enough to play this year could he possibly retire saving the Phillies his salary this year?

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    i dunno im gettin tired of all this talk, u act like their competing for jobs and i just miss the good ol harry days. were becoming victims of our own success, it’s no wonder the yanks have so much money. the players win, want more and more money, and a team has no option but to pay up and increase salary (boston, new york) or let players go, which sucks because this team, these guys, are something special. howard and werth have to stay, owners need to spend some money if they want this machine to grow. at least were not the marlins, but how did they win 2 world series? and no one cares? they couldnt possibly hold their players, its funny half of the highest paid players in the league are ex marlins.

    phillies owners- gotta spend money to make money. and instead of increasing ticket prices, y not add seats to the bank? i dont wanna ruin the feel because every seat in the house is action but, we could sell more seats i think. wheres the big ol vet now? haha

  • Posts: 0 joepa

    Dipsy, any change RAJ attempts to resign Jayson soon – hoping to get him at a lower price now than they could next year? I think someone suggested giving him 5 seasons now with the first season replacing his contract for this season (which would be extending him only 4 seasons, but giving him a boost for this season)?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    The thing about Ryan that I really have a problem is that he absolutely can play with better plate discipline because he has shown it. Without looking at the stats, I would imagine that his OBP and BA and BB have declined since his first two years. This would be understandable if Ryan felt he was the only viable HR/RBI option in the lineup, feeling the burden to knock runs in, but clearly he is not. There is nothing wrong with Ryan taking the walk or waiting for his pitch when he has the power of Werth and Ibanez behind him. That’s not taking away his aggressiveness its just asking him to play smart. While Howard is clearly great, would the Phillies be better with Werth and an extra 6-8m to spend on a real nice corner infielder that can field, hit for average, and get on base? I think in the end, Utley might move to first to save the wear on his body and Polanco to second. That would leave third open. Lots of options if you’re thinking Werth. AND I DID MEAN “DOUBLED”.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 YeaGo01

    I though we have Ryno for 2 more years on his contract he signed last off season?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Actually, I think I floated the idea of ripping Jason’s contract up and offering 4/45. I think its fair and it would give him a 3m raise for this year, assuming all the years are divided evenly. I don’t want Jason, or any other player, for six years. If he wants 5 year contract after this year I think Ruben would be hard pressed to give it to him.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Havoc

    I’m with The Dipsy on this one. I love Werth, but Ryan Howard is the type of offensive production that can’t just be replaced.

  • Posts: 0 Dan S

    absolutely ryan howard, like you said he makes a difference even when he’s not at the plate. Werth is older and the phillies don’t have any first base prospects remotely close the the majors leagues.

    p.s. howard hit a game-tying double when he said get me to the plate

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. The Phils without Ryan Howard are a good team.
    A good team winds up in second, perhaps in a WC slot but making it to the WS? There would have to be quite a bit of luck involved.
    The Phils with Ryan Howard are a terrific team and we are pretty darn sure they will be in the fall classic unless there is bad luck.
    Keep Howard at all costs.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Honestly, all we can do is hope that the rest of the NL starts improving… so that we are *forced* to do whatever it takes to keep players like Howard and Werth… With teams like the Dodgers, Mets, and the Cardinals, either downgrading or staying the same, there’s less of a need to field the best team possible at a given time. Which sucks.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Lidge’s contract is has a buyout after 2011.

  • Posts: 0 joepa

    Dipsy, if Jayson would accept a 5 year deal starting this year would you do that?

    Anyone know what happens if Jamie can’t play this year?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    If Jaime can’t play he gets paid his full salary. To me, if Jayson were to ask for a 5 year deal I guess I would have to know what the numbers are.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 DeanH

    great write up. I agree 100%. I was not a big Howard fan early last year but he has won me over. If Howard continues to improve this year (as his d did last year), I cannot see any way we can afford to let him go. A one has said, the Phillies are just a good team w/out him.

  • Posts: 68 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman


  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Again….the difference in yearly salaries between Werth and Howard is gonna be $8-10 million dollars…

    If you could only keep one of these guys…you have to ask….Is Ryan Howard $8-10 million more valuable than Jayson Werth?? ….

    In my opinion…no.

  • Posts: 0 hamels' left hand

    nice write-up, Dip. it’s this type of conundrum that happens to two teams. either a team that wins with burgeoning, young talent cementing themselves into productive primes….OR teams that throw big money around in the free agent market hoping to buy more wins.

    I’m just glad we’re in the first situation…

  • Posts: 0 George

    If Werth’s contract potential free agency came up in 2012, like Howard’s does, this would be a legitimate debate topic. But he’s a free agent in 2010. The Phils would have to trade someone else keep Werth now.

    I think Howard is the one who stays, just because of the circumstances. His pay only goes up a little in the next few years; Werth’s could go up astronomically. It’s not so much the difference in pay, but the difference in the increase. Jayson makes less $7 million now: he’ll be asking for probably $7 million more than that. Howard gets $20 for 2010, but that won’t go up by the same $7 million until he’s a free agent, too, and maybe not then, either.

  • Posts: 0 The Phillies FTW

    In terms of salary difference between Werth and Howard, here’s something to keep in mind. Who sells more merchandise Howard or Werth? Who would you say overall generates more revenue Howard or Werth?

    If it had to come down to one or the other, I’d choose Howard. Yes, as currently constructed Werth is the only RH bat. But guys like Howard don’t grow on trees, he a special type of player.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Two corrections: First paragraph the last sentence should read “…TO keep Werth now. Second paragraph, “less” does not belong. Sentence should read:
    “Jayson makes $7 million now…”

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Aren’t Brown, Gose and Gilles the future outfield….I’ve seen enough prospect rosterbation in these posts this off season that I don’t understand how Howard wouldn’t be the obvious choice for majority as I rarely read anything here that mention 1st prospects. Besides that Howards been proven over a few years and we don’t really know if this just an anomally for Werth despite his athleticism. We’ll see what happens this year.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    that’s “…read anything here that mentions 1st basemen prospects.” Man what I wouldn’t do to be able to edit my posts once that I posted!

  • Posts: 0 j reed


    “Man what I wouldn’t do to be able to edit my posts once I posted!”

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    I’m pretty sure Utley would rake no matter who was batting in front of him. “Protection” is such an overrated thing.

  • Posts: 0 Tyler

    According to MLBTraderumors the Phils and Ruiz agreed to a 3 yr $9Million deal. CHOOOCH!!

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    All I know is that when you have a holy terror on deck that can hit a home run at anytime, pitchers don’t like to put men on base in front of him. So they throw more fastballs. And the guy batting knows it. Hence the advantage.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I have been saying for AGES that the Phillies need to extend Jayson Werth, but I feel the same way about Ryan Howard. While Jayson Werth is a far more well rounded player, Ryan Howard merely coming to the plate makes many pitchers crap their pants. Neither of these guys should leave if at all possible, and I can’t honestly pick one over the other. While Werth is probably more valuable to the team overall, Howard’s immense power is absolutely game changing, and you can see it every time an opposing team quick tries to scramble to do something about him. Werth on the other hand is more like the glue that holds the team together, but Howard would be the wood.

  • Posts: 0 Chris.I

    Ruiz signed to a 3 year 9 Mil deal. Thats awesome

  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    Ruiz for 3 years at 9 Million is a STEAL if you ask me, especially when you consider that being a catcher is one of the most demanding and injury prone positions. Carlos Ruiz is one of the best defensive catchers currently playing, and his clutch hits absolutely cannot be understated at all.

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