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The Deserved Extension

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, April 28, 2010 03:23 AM | Comments: 39
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I’m not an advisor but I’m pleading for everyone to just settle down. We’re arguing about the 2014 payroll. Yes, the 2014 payroll. Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125 million extension kicks in before the 2012 season, but his salary won’t escalate until 2014.

In explaining why they dislike this extension, many a sportswriter has done nothing but blast Ryan Howard, outlining only his deficiencies. Deficiencies, that, unbeknownst to many of them, have been vastly improved upon.

(None of this is directed at Paul Boye, who penned one of the few impartial analyses of the Howard extension.)

Do you know how many people still consider Howard a fat, slow, poor fielder? First impressions are lasting impressions, sure, but if your job is to watch, analyze, and write about baseball, you would think that a formed opinion would be based off of who a player is, not who you perceive a player to be. When did we all turn into Joe Morgan? When did the necessity to prove a point cease in the name of hyperbole and generalization?

The Sam Perlozzo Effect

Ryan Howard lost 40 pounds prior to the 2009 season. He worked with Sam Perlozzo that offseason and learned how to better man the first base bag, embarrassed about his display in the field during the World Series season.

Howard still struggles making the throw to second base, but his range and ability to scoop the ball has improved greatly over the years. He is no longer a one-dimensional player. The Big Piece can now field his position with effectiveness, and, while he will not match the defensive wizardry of Albert Pujols or Adrian Gonzalez, Howard is no longer a defender to be laughed at.

In addition, The Sizable Portion’s new body-type has allowed for more speed and athleticism. It is ironic that this article will post on the day after a humiliating non-hustle play that saw Howard thrown out at second by Giants rightfielder Nate Schierholtz, but that play was more a result of Edgar Renteria deking Howard than anything else. This used to be a guy that could not score from first on a double to the right field corner. But not anymore; Howard now moves well for a man of his stature, as hard as that may be to grasp.

The Sam Perlozzo Effect enabled Phillies management to feel better about doling out $125 million from 2012-16. Howard wasn’t getting progressively fatter, or slower, or worse defensively. He was improving in all three categories. Ryan Howard is not Mo Vaughn. I don’t care how closely related the two are on Baseball-Reference.

Placing the Blame

If you’re going to argue against the extension, it makes little sense to place the bulk of criticism on Ryan Howard. If you have to point fingers, point them at the front office that emptied its pockets. Cherry-picking stats that speak negatively of the player makes little sense.

  • Wanna talk about how Howard cannot hit left-handed pitching? In his career, Howard’s OPS vs. lefties is .750. Adrian Gonzalez’ is .739. Carlos Pena’s is .761. It’s not as if this is a huge flaw that Howard has and others do not.
  • Wanna say that Howard isn’t as valuable as a slick-fielding slugger like Gonzalez? Well, Howard has been worth over two more wins above replacement than Gonzalez over the past four seasons, while playing fourteen fewer games! WAR is a stat that encompasses hitting and fielding.
  • Speaking of defense, Howard’s UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) was 7th best in the bigs last season for first basemen, better than Gonzalez and Mark Teixeira. Granted, UZR doesn’t translate as well to first basemen as it does to other positions, but his UZR still exceeded that of two notoriously effective fielders. We’re not imagining Howard’s improvement with the glove.

This brings us to…

Finances

This will not impact the Phillies until 2012 at the earliest, but the salary will not escalate until 2014. Right now, in 2010, do you really care about how the rest of the roster will shake out in 2014? From an organizational standpoint, the future should always be considered, but from the perch of a fan or anyone enjoying the Golden Age of Phillies baseball, is the 2014 payroll really a major concern?

Werth?

Think logically. The Phillies were not going to be able to re-sign Jayson Werth anyway, and Howard’s extension has no bearing on that fact. Werth is arguably the best free agent outfielder of the 2010/11 class, and he will command $15-17 million a year for four or five years.

That is out of the Phillies’ price range. They are already committing $135 million to FIFTEEN PLAYERS in 2011. $135 million. Fifteen players. That is four million less than what the entire roster is making this year! You really think they can afford to make that $150 million to sixteen players?

There is no connection between Howard’s extension and the pipe-dreams of re-signing Werth because the problem with Werth returning is a short-term issue, not a long-term issue. If it were a long-term issue and Howard’s $25M salary in 2014 prevented Werth from returning, a legitimate gripe would exist.

But one has nothing to do with the other, so we can end that debate right now.

Worth?

With the Werth Debate out of the way, let’s get to the Worth Debate. Was Ryan Howard worth $125M over five years, or $179M over eight when you consider his current contract? Is he deserving of the game’s second-highest annual salary?

Well, he’s not the second best player in the major leagues. There is no way to say he is. Even when you consider run production and eye-test value, a number of players come to mind before Howard in the discussion of “Who’s the Best?” But the Phillies chose to reward him as if he were, and they are certainly in the financial position to do so.

Keep in mind that the Phillies will sell out mostly every game between now and 2014. This team will remain competitive. It will remain exciting. It will house one of the best rosters from top-to-bottom every year. Therefore, it will maintain the high revenues that will allow it to spend money in other areas.

The flipside to that is, yes, they will maintain high revenues, but they could use that $25 million a year in other places come 2014. You’re right, they theoretically could, but the point of this entire argument is that WE ARE TALKING ABOUT 2014! And when you consider that Howard is an integral part of the Phillies lineup that will maintain that competitiveness, excitement, and talent, locking him up was a necessity, not a sufficiency.

The Psychology of a Slump

A ton of things could go wrong. But a ton of things could…not go wrong. If Ryan Howard were hitting .388 right now, as he was two weeks ago, the amount of complainers would be cut in half.

The fact that the timing was off – that the contract extension was announced in the midst of an infamous Ryan Howard Cold Spell – caused more of an overreaction than it would have if he was still in the middle of a torrid streak (that we all know is unsustainable, but) that we have yet to see regress.

I’m not saying every “Extension Opposer” is guilty of letting Howard’s last few games creep into their despise of the contract, I am merely saying it is unwise to ignore that particular bias completely.

The RBI Debate

I am a saber-minded writer. I embrace the amount of information my generation has at its disposal and think it would be ridiculous to dismiss any new metric that betters our ability to judge and evaluate an athlete. I love stats because they allow us to tell stories and prove points.

I love WAR becauses it takes fielding into account as well as hitting. I love FIP because it removes the components that are out of a pitcher’s control. I love the more complex stats that I won’t bore you to death with in this space because any time you can back your stance up with cold, hard facts, that stance becomes stronger.

But just because I embrace more advanced evaluation systems does not mean that many basic baseball stats should be thrown out.

It has become an internet trend to say that RBIs mean nothing. This is an overstatement. RBIs are not and should not be the sole criterion of judging a player’s worth, but they also should not be completely discounted or deemed to prove nothing.

The argument against RBIs is that it is a stat based on context and opportunity (i.e. Ryan Howard has more of a chance to compile more RBIs hitting behind productive hitters like Rollins, Victorino/Polanco, Utley, than Adrian Gonzalez does batting after Jerry Hairston Jr. and David Eckstein.)

This makes logical sense – the better the players are that precede you, the better chance you have of putting up high RBI totals, as Howard has done. But that does not take away from the fact that Howard actually produced in those opportunities, driving in 572 runs over the past four seasons – an average of 143 per season.

3-Run HR > Single

Could any sweet-swinging first baseman step in and do that in this lineup? No.

Fellow writer Nick Staskin and I debated this very topic on Twitter, where he mentioned that Kevin Youkilis and his .362 batting average with runners in scoring position may have driven in 200 runs in this lineup.

But there is a difference between a single with first and second and a three-run homer. Youkilis may have had a RISP batting average of almost 100 points higher than Howard in ’09, but Howard had a RISP slugging percentage greater than Youk, even with the much worse average.

62% of Howard’s hits with runners in scoring position were extra-base hits. Fifteen of those hits were homers. Only 35% of Youk’s hits with RISP were extra-base hits. Like I said, there is a difference between a single and a three-run homer.

How about Joey Votto? He hit .336 with RISP in a much worse lineup than the Phillies or Red Sox. Does that tell us that he would have driven in as many runs in ’09 as Howard?

The answer is similar: no, because, while the average may be higher, only 40% of Votto’s hits with RISP were XBHs and only four were homers.

Conclusion: The RBI totals are not simply opportunity-based for Howard, the production also plays an integral part. When Howard comes through, it’s in a BIG way. It usually is not a single that loads the bases, it’s an extra base hit that knocks in multiple runs and significantly impacts a game.

That’s what he is: a game-changing player. Yes, RyHo has a ton of RISP opportunities, but he also makes the most of many of those opportunities and has produced some of the most memorable moments in Phillies history.

As Paul Boye noted, you pay for production you expect, not what you have received. So, a decline is a scary thing. Based on his perceived body type and his Baseball-References relatives, Howard could decline during this contract.

But he could also not decline and produce a ton of runs from now until 2016. He could just as easily continue to put together mammoth Septembers and lead the Phillies into many more Octobers.

Previous players have declined in the 34-36 age range, but they have lacked the overall combination of talent, work ethic, commitment to improvement, and relative good health that Howard has exhibited. Mo Vaughn? Richie Sexson? Really?

The extension ensures that the most prodigious power hitter in team history will remain in a Phillies uniform until he’s damn-well ready to call it quits. The timing and sense of urgency may have been a bit odd, but the intentions were pure.

It’s $125 million to keep us hopeful. To keep us confident. And to keep us all on the edge of our seats.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

 
 
  • [...] first, I thought, “Yaaaay, our merry little band stays a little bit more [...]

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I still don’t really know how I feel about this contract extension…since Ryan is one of my favorite all-time players, and he’s undoubtedly a much more well rounded player than he was a few seasons back, but a decline is always possible.

    As great as the idea is to try and keep the gang together as long as possible, there’s a risk that this could backfire like the Wheeze Kid era Phillies back in the mid-80′s.

    BUT, on the other hand… most of our core players are just entering their 30′s as opposed to being well into them, which I think was the case with a lot of the Wheeze Kids.

    The problem is that we really don’t have too many people in the Minors to fill all of the teams needs, once age starts to catch up with the core.

    The front office really needs to get some more infielders drafted, and hopefully soon.

     
  • Posts: 0 Sweet Dee

    Again, well researched and incredibly informative to “pit” this one against Paul’s. Should be interesting to hear what everyone else has to say.

     
  • Posts: 0 fred

    Sorry but commitment to improvement ? You do realise Howards numbers have declined every year since 2006 with a slight upturn last season ? Defensively yes he has improved, but the improvement is likely to be short lived as he gets older and less athletic. How many athletes improve their physical shape as they move through their 30′s ? It isnt a question of work ethic, but simply father time taking its toll. Also, the comparisons to Votto and Youkilis are futile as Howard is clearly better than them. However, he is being paid like the 2nd best player in baseball when he is neither the second best player at his position (pujols, teixeira, a.gonzalaz) or on the team (utley, halladay). Howard is a very good, perhaps great player but he is not worth being paid like the 2nd best player in the game when he is 32-37 when he hasnt been that good during his prime.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    That’s the problem…the Phillies already had Howard under contract for his best years (through the end of 2011). To think that Howard (or any player) will maintain or even improve their performance after the age of 32 is purely wishfull thinking. The players that have done it were those who were linked to PEDs. The Phillies made this decision from their (understandable) fondness of Ryan Howard – not from a sound baseball point of view. It’s not a good contract, and four years from now everyone will realize that.

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Nice counterpoint to all the naysayers. Fangraphs calculates a Speed Score, and who led all MLB first basemen in 2009? Howard.

    Regarding RBIs, I also think many go too far in completely discounting them, while at the same time denigrating Howard’s numbers as a function of his lineup. I did a summary here… http://www.thegoodphight.com/2010/4/27/1446634/an-rbi-machine-in-any-lineup

     
  • Posts: 0 therookie300

    A very good point made about 2014. What is the roster going to look like in 2014? Well Howard will be there and so will Utley, Rollins(assuming he resigns), Halladay, Dominic Brown, Ruiz(assumption again), Happ, Hamels(as long as he isn’t run out of town) and maybe Victorino. I only think the first six are most likely to be part of the 2014 roster. Some of them will be making big money, but the revenue this team is generating they will be able to afford those contracts and fill in the needs at that point. Some minor league players might come along in that time to fill slots cheaply. Although they have to draft some talent for that to happen first. Or maybe some people in the minors step up their game, Anthony Hewitt.
    The point is that it will be hard to project what is going to transpire in 2014, but one constant is that we will have a run producer in the middle of the line up. And keeping him here will keep this team competitive and keep people coming to the ballpark to watch. Thus revenue should still be there in 2014 to fill the needs.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Howard is being paid like the second best player now? No, he isn’t and won’t be until 2014. By then, Pujols, Gonzalez, and probably others will reach new contract agreements, and Howard will probably come out as number 4 or 5.

    Let’s wait a while before we all call for Amaro’s head.

    Also, the argument that those who performed well into their late thirties were PED users is wrong. You’re forgetting lots of greats, like Aaron, Mays, Ted Williams, etc., who weren’t linked to drugs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Nick Staskin

    Why is Howard better than Youk? because he hits more home runs? By that account Cecil Fielder was one of the top guys of the 90s.

    Howards 2006 season was monster, but like I said last night the possibility for .250/.315 is definitely there. In 2008 he went .251/.339 and his walks have gone down every year.

    To say that the team will continue to sellout is being a bit of an optimist isn’t it? Prior to last yr CBP didn’t sell out every game. So if attendance dies down a bit and Howard continues tp regress with getting on base what’s to say the phillies won’t be paying for Arod money for an Adam Dunn like season?

     
  • Posts: 0 Nick Staskin

    To sum up my argument, this is from 2007-2009

    Adam Dunn’s average season (on the Reds, DBacks, Nats)
    39 HR 104 RBI .256/.390/.922 168 K 113 BB
    Ryan Howard’s average season
    47 HR 141 RBI .266/.363/.929 195 K 88 BB

    But he is worth all that extra money??

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Nick, a couple things:

    1) 2008 was by far his lowest BABIP, at .285, and appears to have been a blip. Both 2007 and 2009 were around .325.

    2) the only reason his walks have gone down is that pitchers now IBB him much less than they did in 2006-07. That’s not good, but at least his “uninentional” walks have stayed fairly constant: 71, 72, 64, 67.

    3) Youkilis has knocked in 16.5% of the runners on base in 2006-09, which is 45th best out of 212 players with 1000+ PAs. Howard has knocked in 18.8% (3rd best). In 2007-09, Youkilis is 31st with 17.1%, Howard is 1st with 19.1%.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I don’t know how I feel about the signing, and probably will change my opinion 100 times before the contract is up. I can’t even guess what is in Ruben’s head, but my opinion is this is a solid business decision.
    Kids and the casual fans dig the long ball, and love Howard (my daughter knows the Phanatic and Howard – the rest of the team are guys who play for the Phils). While Utley and Rollins are the heart and soul of the team, Howard is the face of it. There are more than a few guys who could come close to filling Howard’s production, but not his image. As long as he hits moonshots and the Phils stay somewhat competitive, the team will make money, and Howard will earn his keep.
    Also – stop comparing the contract to A-Rod’s. While the annual numbers match, A-Rod signed a ten year contract, not a 5, for twice the total value. The risk isn’t even close to comparable, and the Yankees truly bid against themselves. Maybe it wasn’t a big discount, but Howard would get a comparable contract somewhere else – no one was giving A-Rod anywhere near those years (plus he’s a cheat and a poor sport).

     
  • Posts: 0 therookie300

    Just to throw it out there, steroids were available when players such as Aaron and Mays were playing the game. Who knows what players took before anyone gave a damn about PEDs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I’ve been one of Ruben’s and the Phillies’ staunchest supporters. I trust that they are making good decisions based on all the information available to them. They have shown me that they know how to put together a winning team as is evidenced by the recent success.

    While I may have some reservations about this deal, I think George is right when he says that we should “wait awhile before we all call for Amaro’s head.”

    Like I said yesterday, I give the Phillies and Ruben props for having the balls to do this. It’s bold. It makes a statement that screams, “WE ARE A WINNING FRANCHISE!!!”

    I can’t argue with that….even if the last year of Howard’s contract has the potential to look ugly as we all sit here 6 years prior to that time.

     
  • Posts: 0 furiousball

    Couldn’t agree with you more on this article. A lot of the contracts that are being referenced for big men at the corner are riddled with (suspected) steroid-induced declines (Giambi, Vaughn). No one here is a fortune teller, only time will tell.

    However, I couldn’t disagree more on this point… “but that play was more a result of Edgar Renteria deking Howard than anything else”

    YOU ALWAYS HUSTLE! ALWAYS! If Ryan was running into second he would have been safe.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    Well it seems we complain when they don’t spend money and complain when they do.

    I am happy for Ryan glad to know he will be a Philly for the rest of his career.

    He is a great all around presence and player, period!

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Great, great article.

     
  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    I have strong mixed feelings — ambivalence. First, I love Howard as a player and a Phillie and want to keep him on the team. So far, he is the greatest power hitter in this team’s history. And, I believe he will maintain
    this level for at least five more years. Second, I also believe major league baseball is pricing itself into oblivion. The Howard contract will be exceeded by the time it is in force by a number of larger contracts for other outstanding players. All this means is that it will cost me — the average fan — too much to take my family to a game. On the other hand, I want the Phils to win and win now, at virtually all costs. It’s a double-edged sword. I am going to stop banging my head against the wall, because it feels so good when I stop.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Also wanted to add that both the pro and anti signing articles were nicely done. Far better than anything else I have read or watched.

     
  • Posts: 0 jwolff324

    I will start by saying I believe the contract itself is pretty horrible and I don’t understand the timing at all. That being said, here are my gripes.

    1. Comparing the last 4 years of WAR between Howard and Gonzalez is a stupid comparison. Gonzalez turns 28 in May, whereas Howard is turning 31 in November. Gonzalez is better than Howard right now, and he is entering/in the middle of his prime, and Howard is on the back end or even exiting his.

    2. Claiming Howard has improved in his deficiencies is just blatant ignorance. His walk rate has gone down each of the past 2 years, while his K rate has still remained above 30%. His OBP was still only a .360 last year, and .339 in 2008, both much lower than .425 and .392 in 2006 and 2007 respectively. His defense, while vastly improved, also is not all that important for 1B is an easy position to play and would not be hard to find a replacement.

    3. This deal annoys me in a few ways financially. First, if they are only worried about winning now (shown by this contract considering it will hurt us down the road) then why did they not keep Cliff Lee this year for a measly $9 million? Also, if we are willing to pay Howard $25 million a year, why not wait until after next season, when we won’t have Ibanez, Howard, or Lidge’s contract, and if they don’t re-sign Werth (which I assume they will not), and give Pujols $30 million a year? Pujols at $30 million is a bargain compared to Howard at $25.

     
  • Posts: 0 jwolff324

    His splits against lefties are horrible too, which makes him a liability late in games.

     
  • Posts: 0 derekcarstairs

    While it is true that RBIs depends, in large part, on the performance of other team members, RBI% is team independent and should be regarded as one of the most important offensive stats (BP’s OBI% is the percentage of runners on base driven in. This stat gives no credit for homers. RBI% is determined by combining OBI% with HR%.).

    Guess who the leader is in RBI%.

    In the four full seasons that he has played, Howard is Number 1 in RBI%, better than Pujols, Gonzalez, Fielder, ARod, Manny and everybody else.

     
  • Posts: 0 steve

    I feel that they did this extension now to avoid a potential FA bidding war and as a way of understanding what their future finances look like. They won’t pay Howard $25 Mil until 2014 and backloaded the contract.
    So if the Phillies want to re-sign Werth they have to bite the payroll bullet in 2011 but after ’11 $48M comes off the books that could be distributed between Werth, Rollins and the bullpen. D-Brown comes up and replaces Ibanez on the cheap; while the rest of the team is locked up except for an ARB 4 bump for Hamels. So what if they offer Werth 4yr/$60M (in ’10 he makes 10M, ’11 and ’12 he makes 16M ea/yr and in ’13 he makes 18M)
    After 2012, Blanton and Victorino come off the books and I see both of them walking with the money saved on them going toward Hamels and possibly Aumont stepping into the rotation and an Anthony Gose/Tyson Gillies filling in at CF. The key to all of this is replenishing the farm system so that we can bring up cheaper talented guys to fill in around these core guys. Don’t blame Howard’s contract for them not being able to sign Werth, blame the contracts of Ibanez and Lidge.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Nobody’s has complained that the Phillies are spending money. People are just questioning if they are spending it wisely. There’s a big difference.

     
  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    I really find it hard to comprehend how people can say “Ryan Howard has declined the past three seasons” based off of ONE NUMBER!!!

    Yes, his walk rate has dropped the last 3 years, but so has his strikeout rate. Wanna look at that side of the coin, or wanna just look at the negative one because it helps you prove your point a little more? This is what I mean, detractors look only at deficiencies instead of the case as a whole.

    Secondly, I don’t get how anyone can say he’s “declined” when his OPS was 50 points higher in 09 than it was in 08…is walk rate the only stat that matters in baseball? Does a drop in walk rate mean a player is declining.

    He slugged 30 points better and his on-base percentage increased by 21 points, and his strikeouts rate decreased by 8% in three years…and he improved defensively and on the basepaths…

    But you’re right, walk rate is the only stat that means anything in the game of baseball.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    True that, Ted Bell

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Again, great comments by Corey. I agree with you.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian Sr. of CO

    Fred, you say ” You do realise (realize) Howards numbers have declined every year since 2006 with a slight upturn last season” My question is you do realize that Howard is kept in Philadelphia as a home run threat correct? Excluding 2006 alone, he has never hit for average, and even in 2006 he was mediocre at best as a defensive player. Look at the stats that make Howard the player he is…

    2006 – 104 R; 25 2B; 1 3B; 58 HR; 149 RBI
    2007 – 94 R; 26 2B; 0 3B; 47 HR; 136 RBI
    2008 – 105 R; 26 2B; 4 3B; 48 HR; 146 RBI
    2009 – 105 R; 37 2B; 4 3B; 45 HR; 141 RBI

    So I understand you say his numbers have declined, if you look at homer runs and Batting Average alone, but you do have to look at what he is there for, and how he has improved. He USED TO BE a human E-3 light. Now, not so much. Ok so his BA went down. Look at the numbers above. So Im not a very smart man, but it appears to me 105 Runs scored in 2008 AND 2009 is MORE than 104 in 2006. the 26 doubles in 2007 and 2008 and the 37 (THIRTY SEVEN) in 2009 are MORE than 2006. Want to look at the triples? Ok so the Homers went down. Uh oh, Albert Pujols numbers went down, wow he must suck. How about Stolen Bases? 0 in 2006 increased gradually to 8 in 2009.
    Honestly, can you really expect any player not on steroids to hit 58 homers EVERY year? I dont think so. Not even Pujols does that. Fact is, you know just as well as I do that Pujols will sign a contract worth at LEAST 35Mil a year (thats 10 Mil more per year). Could we have gotten Howard cheaper? Maybe, but chances are, with Pujols’ contract coming up the end of this year, if he signs for 35Mil a year, Howard will ask for MORE. And I definately would NOT give Howard Pujols type of money. Matt Holliday created this mess. Look, I honestly dont thing ANY player deserves even a million dollars a year for playing a GAME, but thats not my choice. I for one dont mind the Phillies FINALLY spending money to keep a Championship in Philadelphia with the core of position players who brought us the Championship in the first place.

    Also Wondering if you watched the 2009 NLCS…Who was the MVP?

    Trivia Question, who is the quickest player in MLB history to ever hit 100, 150 and 200 homers?

    FYI, Ryan Howard did all of that. Meanwhile he has worked VERY hard to lose 40 pounds (have you tried to lose 40 pounds? thats NOT easy.) His speed went up (see triples and stolen bases) and his agility is FAR better than 2006, Watch him during the games. Is he the best? No, Pujols is far better (then almost anyone in history). Recgonize that the Pujols contract will probably dwarf Howards contract. He is slumping right now. He ALWAYS does. When he breaks out of this slump, he will carry the team, just as every other season.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian Sr. of CO

    I am intrigued to read Fred’s comment after he reads Corey’s post, and mine.

     
  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    And by the by, whoever asked the question, “Why not wait and just sign Pujols to $30M a year?”

    If you think the Cardinals will A) let Pujols hit the free agent market, or B) will fail to re-sign him, you are dreaming.

    Just dreaming.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian Sr. of CO

    C.) if you think Pujols will sign for $30M a year, I have a wonderful bridge for you to buy. If the Cards signed Holliday to a 7 year 125Mill contract, expect a 5-7 worth expect more of a 35Mill a year range for Pujols.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    Anyone else looking forward to Cole no-hitting the Giants tonight, while the Phillies chase away Timmy in the 4th?

    Over/under on Ryan Howard Homers tonight at 3

     
  • Posts: 0 jwolff324

    I didn’t ignore his strikeout rate going down, however, his strikeout rate has stayed basically consistent throughout his career besides a spike in 2007 when it went up to 37.6%. All of his other seasons have been between 30.2-32.6%. I wouldn’t consider that improving, it’s staying the same.

    I am glad you chose to ignore the rest of my post though and just focus on the walk rate. As for OPS, it was in fact better in 2009 than it was in 2008. However, his 2009 OPS was lower than 2007, which was lower than in 2006.

    I guess it comes down to what you value, but this is a bad long term contract that came at a bad time. Pujols getting $30 mill a year would’ve been perfectly reasonable last week. The Phillies just drove the market up unnecessarily though by signing Howard at $25 mill a year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    If his OPS went down from 07 to 08, then up from 08 to 09, that is not a decline.

     
  • Posts: 0 jwolff324

    Think what you want, but it’s not a coincidence that experts such as Keith Law, Rob Neyer, etc. agree that the deal is a pretty bad one.

     
  • Posts: 0 derekcarstairs

    In my opinion, wOBA is just about the best single stat for measuring how good a hitter is. Howard is 12th in career wOBA among active players. That shows him to be a special hitter, not just a home run guy. Most of the guys ahead of him are future HOFers.

    Howard’s career wOBA is .394, and his 2009 wOBA is .393. Howard has not been declining.

     
  • Posts: 0 fred

    Brian, I appreciate that HR and BA aren’t the only stats around, but they are nonetheless significant. And also, whilst Howard has done very well to hit more home runs quicker than anyone else, part of my argument was that we aren’t paying for what he’s done but for what he will do aged 32-37. I know Howard was NLCS MVP, no ones disputing Howard isnt a valuable player, just that this is a horrible contract for a players declining years, which when he is in his mid to late 30′s he will almost certainly be not worth anywhere near $25 mil. If your going to bring up being NLCS MVP, then why not go ahead and give Hamels a fat deal for being both NLCS and WS MVP in ’08 ? I prefer to look at a players body of work over a 162 game season than a 7 game series, and on that basis Howard is not the 2nd best player in the game ! Also, please explain to me the timing of the deal, as with 2 years till he would’ve hit free agency did they have to pay him now ? It’s not as if Howard gave them a discount ! I respect your argument Brian but Howard is simply not worth that contract. Have a look at this table, stats taken from Howards ‘rebound’ year in 2009 http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=83295, where Howard ranks 9th in VORP, 3rd in HR and 10th in Eqa. Both Eqa and VORP dont even take defense into account, so as an offensive player Howard is not even a top 5 player at his position anymore.

     
  • [...] not Ryan Howard will be able to produce throughout his contract extension At first, I thought, “Yaaaay, our merry little band stays a little bit more [...]

     
  • Very nice point.

     
 
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