Is anyone in Philadelphia phalling for the phluf phlowing phrom the mouth of Ruben Amaro, Jr.? Amaro was quoted in the Reading Eagle on Sunday, saying this about Ryan Howard’s contract compared to Prince Fielder’s and Albert Pujols’ contracts:
“I’m kind of happy,” Amaro said. “Really happy because if I would’ve had to put eight or nine years on Howard’s deal right now, that would be a little disconcerting. Right now we have Howard for the next five years. I kind of like that rather than giving an eight-, nine- or 10-year deal.”
Seriously? You’re happy that you’re paying a higher annual salary for a lesser player? I don’t think Pujols will be worth his salary in 2015, let alone 2022, but check this out:
Pujols: 10-year, $240 million – $24 million/year
Fielder: 9-year, $214 million – $23.7 million/year
Howard: 5-year, $125 million – $25 million/year
Howard just turned 32-years-old in November, so he’ll be heading into his decline years halfway through this contract, which was signed in April of 2010 as an extension. However, is Howard already in a decline? Howard signed his extention after an incredible 2009:
.279/.360/.571, 105 R, 37 2B, 45 HR, 141 RBI, 186/75 K/BB with a WAR of 4.4.
Then, the extention came.
2010: .276/.353/.505, 87 R, 23 2B, 31 HR, 108 RBI, 157/59 K/BB, WAR 2.0
2011: .253/.346/.488, 81 R, 30 2B, 33 HR, 116 RBI, 172/75 K/BB, WAR 2.7
Very slowly, Howard’s batting average has gone down, his on-base percentage has gone down, and his slugging percentage has gone down. Add in the fact that he is now coming back from a debilitating injury to the foundation of his swing, a torn Achilles tendon, and you can wonder what 2012 will bring for the slugger. While Howard’s career strikeout rate of 27.4% includes the 25.3% that he posted in 2010 and 26.7% that he posted in 2011, he remains someone that strikes out well above the league average, which is a scary part to his aging process. Are there Adam Dunn-2011 seasons ahead?
The issue with Philadelphia is that with their new stadium came revenue. They’ve done well by investing the funds back into the roster, but have they done it correctly? You never know how young guys are going to work out, but occasionally, teams need to hang onto them or at least give them a chance. Howard deserved an extention, but probably not the length or money involved due to age and skill-set alone. With John Mayberry, Jr. and Domonic Brown, the Phillies knew that they had talent to build around, even in April of 2010. What have they done by locking up Howard, trading the first baseman of the future (Jonathan Singleton) for a right fielder (Hunter Pence), and blocking prospects by making trades and questionable signings?
Look at the latest! The Phillies must loathe Domonic Brown. They signed Juan Pierre to a Minor League contract, which, while it isn’t guaranteed, would positively block Brown from earning a roster spot. At 6’5″, 205 lbs and 24-years of age, Brown has posted an .834 OPS over six Minor League seasons, including a .390 OBP and .843 OPS in Triple-A. Pierre’s career OBP is .345, his career OPS is .708, and if you’re getting him for his speed…he was 27 of 44 stealing last year, 61.4%.
Ruben Amaro, Jr. needs to look around the National League East. The Marlins are building, the Braves are still there, and the Nationals look legit. He really needs to phocus on phinding talent within and building around it. Pretty soon, phans will phind out that his contracts and the way that he has built the roster will be a pharce.