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 Manny

    Now this is a great deal!

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    I guess we are bored , who you keep, Howard is a stud , a rare player who can carry a team, versus a very good outfielder, Howard types
    come along only so often, the last player we had like him was schmidt. And mike couldnt carry a team like howard can.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Way to go Chooch!!

    Ok…these 3 arb guys have new 3-yr deals..Great!!….now lets; focus on Jayson.

    And I hear all of you when you say that Howard is unique and can carry a team.. there is something to be said for that…

    I just think Werth is a more versatile player…this more valuable…but what do I know??

  • Posts: 68 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Phylan – Protection is by no means overrated. Ask Matt Holliday, Adrian Gonzalez’ batting average, ask David Ortiz, ask Andre Ethier before Manny. There are countless more examples.

  • Posts: 0 mattjg

    Corey – Those could just as easily be explained by change in leagues, Petco (It’s Huge!), steroids/Mo Vaughn body-type, and a player entering the prime of his career. If protection is important, why does every objective (i.e. non-anecdotal) study fail to find evidence of its importance?

    On the one hand it makes sense that pitchers will be more hesitant to walk guys in front of power hitters, but it’s just as likely that pitchers will focus harder on making sure that guy doesn’t reach base via walk OR hit.

  • Posts: 0 rjb360

    mattjg: You keep saying that “every objective study” says protection is a myth without providing any evidence. Could you please point us to these studies? Because I’ve never seen them.

  • Posts: 0 The Second John

    I agree with Chuck in that Howard is not worth 9-10 million dollars more than Werth. If that was the case, I would definitely choose Werth.

    In terms of prospects, for 1st base, they have Jon Singleton but he is very far away. He still has lots to prove. For RF, they have Santana, but like Singleton, he is still far away. So that means they have no prospects to replace either.

    I don’t think that Werth and Howard will take a hometown discount for more than 5-6 million dollars. I would love to be wrong, but it’s these players only one chance at a HUGE contract.

  • Posts: 0 Phila. Raider

    First of all noe fan thinks of one or the other. A fan wants both and tells management to pay the money to win. So you are WRONG. Next it would be foolish to allow the greatest offensive player (run producer) to every wear this uniform leave. He is a better offensive player than the great HOFer, legendary Michael Jack Schmidt. Hits for higher average, hits more home runs and drives in more runs. There is no way Utely or Werth has the ability to do the same in the same position. Or they’d be there; Utley was here first. He is an ALL TIME GREAT PHILLIE TODAY. Two Pennants and a World Championship. NO EXCUSES, I AM A FAN!!!! I DON’T CARE ABOUT ANY BUDGET. I WANT TO WIN AND HE MAKES THE PHILLIES WIN SINCE HE HAS BEEN HERE SO PAY HIM. I PAY THEM EVERY YEAR THEY OWE ME A WINNING TEAM WITH THE BEST POSSIBLE ROSTER. RYAN AND JASON ARE PART OF THAT UNLESS THEY CAN DO BETTER.

  • Posts: 68 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    There cannot be an “objective study” for something like protection because it would obviously differentiate based on the player. i.e. Albert Pujols doesn’t need as much protection as Adrian Gonzalez. There’s no such thing as an objective study because theres no control group.

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    trade Werth and Lidge to the A’s for….

    Michael Taylor and closer Andrew Bailey? Totally kidding, but that would be great

    Lidge and Hamels will bounce back this year

  • Posts: 0 mattjg

    Corey, I posted a few links, but for some reason that comment is awaiting moderation (I guess because it has links?).

    The studies have been done in a variety of ways, including comparing the stats of a player when he hits in front of a slugger with the stats of the same player when he hits somewhere else the lineup, in front of a lesser player. The studies all have some flaws, but the takeaway is that protection, if it exists, is a lot less important than a lot of people believe. My original point was only that there is no way that Howard boosts Utley’s and Werth’s BA’s by .20 and .10 respectively. Howard may protect them to some extent (but then again, Werth would likely protect hitters in front of him–albeit to a lesser extent–since he’s no slouch) but both Utley and Werth are outstanding hitters on their own and their drop-off in production (if any) would not be significant without Howard in the lineup.

  • Posts: 68 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Oh, Matt, you’re definitely right about that point. Howard doesn’t add .20 points to Utley or .10 to Werth. That was a clear example of hyperbole.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    matt – by objective are you speaking in terms of “frequentist” or “bayesian” analysis?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    My dream scenario if Werth gets resigned and not Howard: Move Utley or Polanco to first, the other gus plays 2B and do what you can to get Adam Zimmerman with a package involving Howard. Thats my plan.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I have to agree with Dipsy (wow..mark this date…we agree on something!!)…

    …Polanco is one of those kind of players that’s extremely versatile…

    He can obviously play second…and I’m sure could play first ..2012…that dreaded 3rd year that everyone has been bitching about…

    IF you had to choose…and I believe that Ruben does….then Werth would be my first choice as well.

    As I said … Ryan Howard is not $8-10 million more valuable than Jayson Werth…cause that’s probably the yearly difference in what their new salaries will look like.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Does that mean the Nats will have found a way to combine Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman? Because sign that player immediately, Rube.

  • Posts: 0 The Second John

    Phila. Raider, as much as no fan wants their team to have a budget, you have to accept the fact that there WILL be a budget, and most likely, the franchise will have to choose between Ryan Howard.

    Dipsy, that’s not a bad idea, but will the Nats take on Howard’s salary?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    hahahahahahah. I have a friend named Adam Zimmerman. Ryan…excuse me. Thats funny.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    First of all I want to see some more from Werth. See if he can hold up against the RHP. But in general I would favor keeping Werth and using the saved money to get a good 3B – Polanco moves to second – Utley to first. Brown to replace Raul.
    Howard is one-dimensional as stated (he changed in 07 when they started to shift on him – go back and check it out – they did not shift on him in 06. I would rather have the ball in play than the choice of HR/BB/K (lots of K!).
    Howard is a great player but if it comes down to one or the other I say go with Werth – his skill set will last longer. Howard will end up DH in the AL in any case – that fits his profile.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    You’re preachin’ to the choir with me Bob in Bucks…

    And I love Ryan Howard…i just think that long-term Werth is better for this team.

  • Posts: 0 beta sigma shag

    Dipsy you actually shocked me. I have not read the other comments, because I am running late, but from the slant on your intro to each player, it seem bias towards Jayson. If that was on purpose, congrats, great writing.
    I tend to agree with you if you can only have one, you take Howard, IMO it is a no brainer. He will have to take a home town discount, of about 2 or 3 million a year I think. Say 4 years 87-90 million instead of 4 years 100 million.
    But being the eternal optimist I think you can afford to pay Ryan 23 million a year, and Jayson 12-14 million a year.
    I have said before, and I do not know it can happens, but, sit them down and say what will you two take to stay in Philadelphia, and do you both want to stay here.
    I also hate it when 4 years 13 or 14 million a year is not considered big money contract. If you figure all bonuses and playoff bonuses, that is almost 60 million a over 4 years. I think anybodies family would be pretty set for life after that. I also think if Ryan wants to stay, he would be willing to give a bigger home town discount because he would already have made over 50 million in his career.

  • Posts: 0 Badfinger

    Crediting Ryan Howard for adding points to other people’s batting average is extremely disingenuous. The only person he can add or subtract batting average from is himself. They also play different positions. Howard plays average-at-best defense at the easiest defensive position. Werth doesn’t play a premium position, but the fact that he is above average offensively AND defensively boosts his value significantly. It’s a hard decision, but it’s even harder if people believe slanted arguments like that.

    Re: your trade- It’s laughable to think that the nationals would trade for overpaid 30+yo Howard for brilliant defensively, young, cost-controlled Zimmerman.

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye

    Agree with Badfinger. Lineup protection is assumed and often hollow; there’s no real evidence to suggest that one quality of hitter has any more a positive or negative effect on the hitters around him than any other.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Paul and Badfinger. Its very simple how this freakin works. Stats are impossible and you can’t track it but bear with me. The guy who hits in front of the sicko 50hr/150rbi hitter benefits from the following dynamic:

    1) Hitting off a pitcher who would rather give up a solo homer than a 2 run homer, which leads to…………….
    2) The pitcher not wanting to walk the hitter in front of the slugger, which leads to…………
    3) The pitcher throwing more fastballs. The breaking balls they do throw are more often thrown for strikes as opposed to those that break out of the zone, which are also known as…….
    4) Better pitches to hit.
    Get it?

    Put another way, Chase Utley will consistently hit better with Howard batting in back of him than having someone else in the four hole. Thats baseball. Why do you think managers have been setting lineups that way forever? Cause they’re stupid?

    The Dipsy

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    That’s right, Dipsy…it’s not rocket science….just common sense..some guys benefit more than others…but the model is the same…and the law of averages says it’s gonna work out more than it doesn’t.

  • Posts: 0 Nick

    Some of you guys want to move Utley to first

    I couldn’t ever see that, and it would destroy his Hall of Fame chances.

    Why move the best 2B in baseball (defensively and offensively) to a position where he will become mediocre value?

  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    Look at this line
    Howard(20)+Werth(7)+Lidge(11.5)+Ibanez(11.5)=50 million
    If you resign Werth even if it is for 15 million a year(which I think you could extend him for 12-14 million if you do it before he hit the FA Market) then by the time Howard needs to be signed and you pay him 25 million a year(Which I think you can get for 2-3 million dollars cheaper if you extend him before he hit FA) That leaves you 10 Million to sign a closer and if it is Brown in RF. That can be done, especially if you can bring up a closer from the minors. Which we are suppose to have a few that may be ready in 2 to 3 years.
    If you can get from the minors a RF and Closer paying them 1-2 million a year, that leaves 8 million increase for Hamels and JRoll.
    So how can you not sign both. In this equation is the high end of what you would pay Jayson and Ryan.
    I think both would give a home town discount of 1-2 million a year to keep this team together for 3 or 4 more years.
    Also why would you not assume that payroll will increase the next couple of years since they have increased it in the last 3 years?
    I say sign them both.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Because if Utley (who is not the best defensive 2b in baseball)… moved to 1st base, he could concentrate more on his hitting, and not worry so much about improving his fielding.. .

    Utley is a career .295 hitter, with above average defense.. and he hits for power at a position that doesn’t normally get a lot of HRs

    If he moved to 1st base I would imagine his power numbers go up, and his average would approach .333

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I would also think that if Utley moved to 1st his career would or could be extended a few years..

    because of a less demanding position physically.

  • Posts: 0 Tom D

    Currently Werth is making 7 million a year, and you don’t think he is not making the big money yet. He is probably doing pretty good compared to the rest of the right fielder in the MLB. I say offer him 7.5 or 8 and see what happens.

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