The Phillies sign Ryan Howard to a bad contract.

The Philadelphia Phillies announced today that they have reached an agreement on a contract extension with Ryan Howard (their first baseman…not The Office character) worth $125 million over 5 years. This now makes him the 2nd highest paid player in the majors, which is funny because he’s not even a top 5 first baseman.

I would love to just write “HAHAHA” all over this post, but that wouldn’t be too informative. Instead I will proceed to trash Ryan Howard, vicariously trashing Ruben Amaro.

This is a decision they are going to regret, and here’s why:

Age
Ryan Howard is 30 years old this year, and the contract will end when he’s 36 (it kicks in after his current deal is done). Not many players age gracefully into their mid 30’s. Some point to his durability, arguing that his healthy track record should alleviate concerns that he’ll break down when he’s 34, 35 or 36. I can’t help but wonder if this will eventually put too many miles on his odometer. Yes, he has never had a serious injury, but when you go on the 15-day DL for a calf strain, you’re also letting every other part of your body heal.

One of the greatest inventions time wasters ever is baseball-reference’s Similarity Scores list . It’s a 15 year old stat invented by Bill James (read about it here) that compares a certain players career to that of another players in order to find ‘similar careers’ . Do you know what players compare to Ryan Howard at the age of 29? Mo Vaughn, Cecil Fielder and Richie Sexson. Gross.

Fielding
Ryan Howard is an average first baseman. His UZR over the passed 4 seasons has been downright pedestrian (-1.1, -1.5, 1.9, 2.1)  If you don’t care to learn about UZR, know this: it’s rated on runs. So last year his defense saved 2.1 runs. Which is better than giving up runs, but not by much. This can only get worse, and there’s no way to hide his defense in the National League. There’s no DH here like there was for David Ortiz’s WHOLE career. But, his inability to DH won’t really matter much, because…

Hitting
Even now, in his prime, I wonder how Ryan Howard possibly gets balls to hit. His contact rate (the ability to make contact with pitches) has been bad for 4 years (69%, 62%, 67%, 70%). Where does this rank with the rest of the first base elite? Albert Pujols’ contact percentage in 2009 was 89 percent! Mark Teixeira? 81 percent. Miguel Cabrera? 82 percent. Prince Fielder? 77 percent. Where does this go as his eyes get worse with age? What happens when his bat speed slows down? All downhill.

Everyone knows Ryan Howard strikes out way too much, this is not a secret. What’s is disconcerting is that he is now walking much less. His walk totals have been dropping consistently since 2006 (108, 107, 81, 75).

Another concern with Howard is that he can’t hit lefties at all. Not one bit. He hit a paltry .207 against left handed pitchers in 2009, with 6 HR’s and a .356 SLG %. That’s Adam Everett territory! This is essentially going to take an at-bat per game out of Ryan Howard’s hands. No manager will bring in a right handed pitcher to face him, and he’ll end up seeing a steady stream of left handed pitchers out of the bullpen.

This was a bad, bad deal.

A big thumbs up to the Philadelphia Phillies!

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13 Responses to The Phillies sign Ryan Howard to a bad contract.

  1. You couldn’t find a person who believes Ryan Howard is the second best player in baseball but it doesn’t matter because the Phillies are selling tickets and nobody markets better than a big slugger. I did learn some new and interesting stats while reading this article but it was left out that Howard averaged 50 HRs and 143 RBIs over the past four years and you can’t forget about his teams recent playoff success. Baseball is all about the market and the big fella sells tickets. If Cecil Fielder was playing vs Mo Vaughn in an overweight old timer pickup game I would still to this day PAY to watch it

  2. I’m in no way denouncing Ryan Howard as a solid, productive baseball player. His surface (read: fantasy numbers) are pretty obscene. The man DOES sport a .955 career OPS. His career as a productive hitter are coming to an end sooner rather than later.

  3. The author of this post is straight up retarded, RETARDED, Ryan Howard has been an extremely consistent and productive player Since he’s been in the majors. EVERY year he has been tops in the leagues in HR and RBI (look it up from the past 4 years or so, he has MORE than ANYBODY INCLUDING PUJOLS!!!!). YOUR argument was setup like a snake (Author), how about you compare RYAN HOWARDS first five years in the majors to the first five in Sexson, Feilder, or Vaughn. Howard was a late bloomer, obviously at his age his total carear numbers will be down compared to somebody who’s been playing longer. YOU AUTHOR are a snake writing on a fine line. I’m curious of your rebuttle (if you have one) email me

  4. What the fuck is a snake?

    I am not denouncing Howard’s productivity as a hitter. I’ve mentioned this in the comment right above yours. His numbers are fantastic. The point of this ENTIRE post was to show that Ryan Howard will not remain a productive hitter late into his career, and subsequently late into this contract extension he just inked for the Phillies. A point at which you, at no time in your reply, argued at all.

    So, my question for you is. What the fuck is your point?

  5. Furthermore, he isn’t a ‘late bloomer’ he was playing full time by the age of 25, and the only reason why he wasn’t up sooner was because Philadelphia had Jim Thome at first.

    You gotta come harder than that man, I know more about baseball than you do, trust me.

  6. In no way does this article bash Howards previous performance. It is just saying that paying Howard HUGE money until hes 36 is a bad investment. I would bet that Dave M is the type of guy who takes “Yo Mamma” jokes personally

  7. Back at the baseball shit again… You are supposed to be the “sports” guy on here right? Ok then why was there no mention of the NFL draft or nothing really NFL related at all. Big moves have been going on and all you post is Boring ass shit on MLB contracts. I am sorry if i offend you but mix shit up a bit. Baseball is not the onlything out there in the world of sports. Big shit is going down in boxing too. again i say fuck baseball talk about some other sports for a change

  8. I’m not a big boxing guy, therefore I can’t speak with authority on the subject. Besides, what should my post be? How Floyd Mayweather is going to beat the fuck outta Mosely? That’s not informative, that’s just a fact.

    Regarding the draft: It’s a fucking crapshoot. Noone will know for about 5 years how well this draft went. On that note: I am going to write about the absurdity that is ‘character issues’ revolving around LaGarrette Blount.

    You don’t offend me.

  9. if you write about blount you have to post the video of him slugging that guy… and the Mosely Mayweather fight should be good. both are great boxers…. the draft is somewhat of a crapshoot but it is still huge when some bog deal players go to shitty teams. plus you have not said a word about some of these insane trades in the nfl

  10. This guys a moron.. yeah he’s not a top 5 first baseman?? Idiot….Im guessing he’s a Met or Braves fan…too stupid not to be

  11. I’m an Athletics fan.

    Shall I prove you wrong? I should.

    2009 First Basman Rankings according to WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player)

    Albert Pujols – 11.8
    Adrian Gonzalez – 8.6
    Prince Fielder – 6.6
    Kevin Youkilis – 4.7
    Mark Teixeira – 4.4
    Joey Votto – 4.3
    Ryan Howard – 4.2

    That’s 6 guys ahead of Ryan Howard, and three of them have a decent sized gap. You morons have anything else for me? This is too easy.

    And….god damn is Albert Pujols out of his mind.

  12. On another note: Maybe you’re thinking to yourself “Hey Warbucks, I don’t really like WARP as a statistical gauge of a players worth. Mainly because WARP takes into account defense, and I don’t quite trust defensive metrics. Fine then! I understand. So I went back and looked atthe 1B VORP standings from 2009. Where’s our boy Ryan Howard? NINTH! Fucking NINTH!!!!!

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=68913


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