(Apologies to the three of you who read this shitty blog via RSS feed. This is a repost, because some of the HTML in the old version of the post got messed up when I tried to edit something. Since I know nothing about HTML, I figured the best solution was to burn the whole thing to the ground and start over. ANYWAYS- the Phillies will Howard an awful lot of money when he's 34, 35, and 36, and....)
That's kind of dumb. It's roughly what A-Rod (by which I mean PAY-Rod, GAY-Rod, A-ROID, and FISH FILLET-Rod) is making at that age, but 1) A-Rod is the better player 2) A-Rod plays a more valuable position 3) A-Rod keeps himself in peak physical condition and 4) the Phillies aren't the Yankees. With slight modifications, similar arguments apply to the massive contracts currently held by Mark Teixeira (also a 1B, obviously) and Matt Holliday (not a Yankee, obviously). Except for Alfonso Soriano, who holds the worst contract in baseball right now- yes that's right I went out on a limb and said it- no other hitter in the game holds a contract that will pay them that kind of money at that age (Miguel Cabrera and Joe Mauer will be younger during the tail end of the deals they recently signed). It's simply way too much to invest in an aging 1st baseman. Jon Heyman- your poorly formulated thoughts?
Howard's contributions can be overlooked at times because of the overwhelming presence of Pujols, who's clearly the best player in the National League,
Look, I'm pretty sure Ryan Howard is neither overrated nor underrated but properly rated. If anyone's overlooking his contributions, which I don't think anyone in the national media is, it's not because of Pujols. It's because Howard isn't even the most valuable hitter on his own team.
and also because Howard is only part of a fabulous nucleus in Philly that includes Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth.
Unlike Howard, Jimmy Rollins might be the most overrated player in all of baseball right now. If I hear one more announcer or talking head start blabbing about what a SPARKPLUG Rollins is, or how he's Philly's EMOTIONAL LEADER, I'm going to be sick. He's a leadoff hitter with a career .330 OBP. His power is overrated (career best HR totals: 30, 25, 21, 14, 14, 12), his defense is overrated, everything about him is overrated. Wait- what were we talking about again? Oh yeah. So throw Rollins out of that group. But Utley is by far more valuable than Howard, and if Werth backs up his strong 2009 with a strong 2010, you could make an argument that he's more valuable too. So that's just one reason you might not want to pay Ryan Howard $25 MM during his age 36 season; even now, he's not the most valuable hitter on your team.
Howard does have a few negatives, such as his high strikeout totals (an average of 189 the past four seasons),
Kind of a big deal, especially when you're hitting cleanup.
his weakness against left-handed pitchers (last year his OPS was 1.088 vs. right-handers vs .653 vs. lefties),
Definitely a big deal.
his age (30) and the possibility he'll decline during the contract as he gets older.
Oh, the "possibility?" You think he might not hit as well at age 36 as he did at ages 25, 30, or even 32? A bold prediction, Jon. You truly have the wisdom of King Solomon.
But the belief among skeptics of the deal that this was an obvious overpay isn't reflected one bit among baseball people.
Isn't reflected among stupid baseball people.
In fact, a few inside the game remarked that the package was strong though not unreasonably so and one actually opined that it was light.
That guy probably works for another NL East team, and was being sarcastic.
I agree with the prominent competing agent who said, "The $25 million AAV (average annual value) reflects fair market value.''
Oh wow, can you believe it? An agent (who probably represents Adrian Gonzalez, or Pujols, or Prince Fielder) thinks this was a fair deal! COLOR ME SHOCKED. I can't believe it. If you want to evaluate the reasonableness of a contract that will pay a fat first baseman $25 MM when he's 36, that's who you should go to for objectivity- an agent. Well done, Jon. And look, it really doesn't reflect market value. Take Yankees out of the picture, and the contract is one of a kind. Cabrera isn't locked up at that age via his deal. Mauer is, but he's a catcher for the time being. Todd Helton is just now finishing up a contract that certainly paid him too much at those ages, but that was signed in 2001 when money was a little looser. The Rockies (and any team not called the Yankees) won't soon be offering that kind of deal again. The best bet for a current comp to Howard's deal is Holliday's, but it's for less money and at least he plays in the OF (and plays it pretty well). There really isn't a market for fat non-Yankee 34, 35 and 36 year old first basemen. This deal just set it.
As boring as it sounds, it was a good deal for both sides.
Well, it's definitely a good deal for Howard.
There are those suggesting Howard won't be the player at the end of the deal, when he'll be 36, that he is now, and that isn't an unreasonable prediction.
Actually, those people are exactly right unless Howard takes steroids and turns into Barry Bonds. Also- nice sentence, asshole.
But A-Rod, for example, will be 42 when his contract will be up,
I already addressed this. Better player. Different position. More likely to age well. Most importantly, money coming from Yankee coffers.
and besides, that guess can be made about many long-term deals. One GM said five years isn't outrageous at all and actually praised Howard for not being greedy and insisting on seven or eight.
Look, Howard could have done that. And the smart thing for the Phillies to do (and what they should have done here) would be to tell Howard to pound sand. Some other idiot team can overpay him when he hits the FA market after next season. That's the dumbest part about this whole thing, really- the Phillies overpaid Howard a full 18 months before he would have hit free agency. Do they understand what leverage is? You overpay someone when you absolutely need them signed right then. You do not overpay someone when you're already in control of their services for their next 1200 at bats.
That Howard received $2 million more than Teixeira also seems about right under the circumstances.
Teixeira has a more diverse set of skills,
He's a switch hitter. He hits for both average and power. He plays great defense. All reasons he's more valuable.
is slightly younger and signed in New York as a free agent, but he couldn't make a case that he has the same offensive impact as Howard, a classic slugger.
Yes, Howard piles up the HRs and RBIs better than Teixeira does. That certainly makes him a better fantasy player, but I don't think it speaks to his actual value very well considering his home park. Yankee Stadium may have a short RF porch, but Citizens Bank Park is a fucking joke from foul pole to foul pole. I hope that place burns to the ground tonight. Omar Vizquel could hit 15 HRs this season if he were to start for the Phillies. But there's no way that could happen, because the Phillies already have the best SPARKPLUG OF AN EMOTIONAL LEADER in the game at shortstop.
But here are a few more reasons Howard is worth this investment:
1) He's showed his value by finishing first, fifth, second and third in MVP voting the last four years.Haha, this is great. Let's see- dipshit MVP voters like Jon Heyman have given Howard a lot of MVP votes. Therefore, dipshit writers like Jon Heyman can cite those votes as a reason to pay Howard $25 MM a season when he's 34, 35, and 36. What a nifty, convenient system.
There is a group of numbers people who think these finishes don't count, but there is no reason to think Howard was vastly overvalued in the voting.
No one thinks Howard is a bad player. No one thinks he isn't one of the best power hitters in MLB. And pretty much no one except Cardinals fans wouldn't want to have Howard on their team. But not at that price, at that age.
2) He also has averaged 49.5 home runs and 143 RBIs over the past four years, far more than anyone else.
OK, again, time for some perspective. He's a great hitter and produces a lot of runs. He's just not worth that amount of money at that age. Also- Phillies lineup + Citizens Bank Park + batting behind Utley = tons of RBIs. But I'm not significantly more impressed with his 143 average than with, say, Lance Berkman's average of 106 over the same span.
Everyone agrees that home runs are an important stat, but to those who believe RBIs are only a reflection of one's teammates, and thus pure luck, here are the top five RBI leaders since 1900: Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig and Stan Musial. Five very lucky fellows.
Whoa! Watch out for that straw man! Better tear it down and burn it- make sure it can't hurt anyone. Give me a fucking break. No one with a brain says RBIs are "pure luck." We don't need to get into this. It's like when Joe Morgan waxes poetic about how no one respects stolen bases anymore. Plenty of people respect them- they're just not foolishly overvalued like they used to be.
3) It isn't unreasonable to suggest Howard might decline during his extension.
This is a separate thought, and doesn't belong on a list of reasons Howard is worth what the Phillies will end up paying him.
As a matter of logic, he probably will.
As long as he's not Barry Bonds, he definitely will.
But the evidence isn't strong that he's declining yet, (his 2009 slugging percentage of .571 wasn't significantly different from his .582 career mark), and even if he does suffer a slight drop off, it's from a tremendous height (his 198 home runs over the past four years are 29 more than everyone else).
Right. He's not declining yet. Because he's only 30. This contract doesn't even start until 2012. And it will comically overpay him in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Odds that he's still slugging anything in the neighborhood of .580 then: poor. You know, everyone is saying that the world is going to run out of crude oil at some point, but I went to the gas station yesterday and filled up my car. Therefore: we probably will never run out of crude oil.
Plus, he's shown he's serious about his game and his body. He has lost an estimated 30 pounds and remarkably turned himself into at least an average defensive first baseman from something a lot less than that. So in that way, he's actually on the rise.
On the rise and about to crash into his very low (for a pro athlete) athleticism ceiling.
4) He's a winner and a major part of one of the strongest lineups in baseball. Why mess with a good thing?
Awesome point. You're a fucking idiot.
5) The market could explode.
It won't. If Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder hit the FA market after 2011 and sign contracts that pay them this kind of money when they're 34, 35, and 36, I'll eat my oversized foam cowboy hat.
The economy is improving, baseball is doing great and the appetite for superstars on the free-agent market is always strong, even in down times like the past couple years. "You can't really pinpoint what these guys could be getting on the open market,'' Boggs said, honestly.
Boggs is John Boggs, Gonzalez's agent. HMMMMMM. You think he likes the deal Howard got? In conclusion, don't ever let Jon Heyman run your baseball team.