The Phillies have decided to live and die by the long ball. Today, RAJ and the Phillies brass made a 5 year/ 125 Million dollar commitment that includes an option for a sixth year that includes a 10 million dollar buyout. Where I am excited to have one of the game’s best offensive producers locked up for the bulk of his career, I question the move. Ryan Howard, as I have stated in previous entries, was one of the Phillies biggest chips going into the offseason. Now, the Phillies have even less leverage going into an offseason where they could possibly lose their only consistent right handed power threat in Jayson Werth.
Howard’s contract, if you haven’t already seen, breaks down like this:
- 2012: 20 Million
- 2013: 20 Million
- 2014: 25 Million
- 2015: 25 Million
- 2016: 25 Million
- 2017: 23 Million Club Option (10 Million Buy Out)
The deal also includes a limited trade clause, but with the amount of money involved, the only way the Phillies could trade him would to pay ATLEAST half of the contract.
The thing I question is this. RAJ stated after the Cliff Lee trade, that the deal had nothing to do with money and completely to do with talent depth in the minors. The Phillies currently have the infield locked up thru atleast 2011. The outfield is going to go thru changes between now and the end of 2011. The starting rotation is 80% locked up thru 2012. Ultimately, where will any of this talent get the chance to play at the major league level barring injury?
The Phillies already have 97.5% of this years payroll committed to 2011 with four key positions vacated. They also have to worry about SS in 2012. Do they resign Jroll long term or turn it over to top SS prospect Freddy Galvis, if he is even ready?