Ryan Howard and family are finally yelling..chi ching. The man signed a big pay-day. And by big, I mean the second biggest per year salary in Major League history. Howard, starting in 2012, will be making on average 25 million a year for 5 years. And there are ways that he could make even more than this. This is the second highest salary ever per year to Alex Rodriguez, who currently is making 27.5 million per year.
This is what winning does. The Phillies have won the NL Pennant 2 consecutive years. Howard has been the big offensive star. And now he is going to be able to hit some home runs off the field. He has the big bucks now. The real question though, is Ryan Howard worth these kind of big bucks? I mean the game’s premier player Albert Pujols is currently making 16 million per year now. This will surely go up soon. The question is how much?
Howard does have some gaudy statistics. He won the NL MVP in 2006 when he smashed 58 HRs. He was the 2009 NLCS MVP. Howard also is just the 4th player in MLB history to hit 40 plus HRs and 130 RBIs in 4 consecutive seasons. And he is the franchise leader in postseason RBIs. So I mean the guy has performed both in the regular season and the postseason. There is no arguing that. But the big first baseman is 30. This deal does not start for a couple of years. So he will be in his mid to late 30s by the end of this contract. Will he still be putting up the monster numbers then?
I would say no. Howard still has probably 3 to 5 more big time years left. So unfortunately for the Phillies, he will be in the middle of this blockbuster contract once his numbers begin to decline. Not to mention he is extremely strike out prone. Over the past 4 seasons, he has averaged 191 strikeouts! That is a lot of swings and misses. I just hope the Phillies have not dropped too much on Howard and Halladay that they will begin losing other key players in the upcoming seasons. This is an extremely talented Phillies team. Many expect them to continue to contend over the course of the next 5 years. They may have went too big on this one though.
Was Howard really demanding the big bucks like this? Would he have walked if they would have offered him an average of 18 to 20 million a year? These are all questions I would like to know. Most big power hitters like Howard decline big time by their mid to late 30s. With the exception of Barry Bonds, look at guys like Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr, and I could go on. As big time power hitters age, they begin to become even more one-dimensional then they were throughout the rest of their careers from the plate. For instance lets take a look at the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas. Frank was a career .301 hitter over the course of his phenomenal career in which he slugged 521 home runs. From the age of 35, until he ended his career at the age of 40, his batting average dropped to a yearly average of .246. So his average dropped over 50 points. How about Ken Griffey Jr? The “Kid” has a career batting average of .284 and has slugged 630 home runs. From the age of 35 to 40, his average from the plate has dropped to .252. Not to mention he has only hit 30 or more HRs 2 times in 6 years.
The numbers do not lie. I think Ryan Howard is a phenomenal player and will be an intricate part of the Phillie’s continued success. But this contract goes too far out into the future in my eyes. By the latter end of this contract, when he is making the most money, his numbers will probably start to decline.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.