Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Big Numbers & Coming Up Small

Before yesterday Ryan Howard didn't have to worry where his next meal was coming from. Today his only worry is whether or not he should just buy the restaurant.

The Phils signed the big man to a $125 million five year extension with an option for a sixth year. The deal makes Howard the second highest paid player in MLB. It also makes you wonder about Ruben Amaro, David Montgomery & Co..

With Jayson Werth poised to become a free agent and Jimmy Rollins' contract set to expire after next season, did the Phils overspend to basically sign Howard for life? He'd just signed a three year deal a year earlier. Another three year deal would have made more sense, but, then, maybe Howard made it clear he wasn't going to sign for anything less than five years. He'll be 37 at the end of his contract, an age when many ballplayers are in decline. Look no further than left field for some evidence (and while you are glancing in that direction think about why it is important to re-sign Werth). Moreover, big men seem to decline more rapidly as they enter their mid to late 30's.

No doubt Howard puts fannies in the seats. And no doubt he looks a little trimmer this season and until the last week or so was making more contact. This deal is definitely about offense, but the most improved part of his game thus far in 2010 may be his defense. He is diving, scooping and throwing a lot better than ever before. Good thing. He'll be around a long time.

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You thought maybe Roy Halladay would go undefeated? It's too bad he had to pick last night's game to show he is only mortal because the Phils needed their stopper to halt their little funk. The record shows Halladay hasn't had success against the Giants in a few interleague outings prior to last night. In the end, however, it was the Phils' chronic failure to hit in the clutch that sealed their fate last night. They aren't getting any production with runners in scoring position. Cy Young and Sandy Koufax couldn't overcome a lack of clutch hitting every time out either.

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