Ryan Howard’s Eye-Opening Deal

It is not really surprising that Ryan Howard signed a long-term deal with the Phillies, but what is surprising is that he managed to earn 25 million over 5 years starting in 2012. While Phillies management thinks that they are helping themselves by ensuring that they have a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup, all they are really doing is hurting themselves long term. Ryan Howard’s enormous deal begins when he will be in the tail end of his prime years and runs through age 37. For a player that earns most of his value through the long ball and does not have good contact rates, even as a young player, you have to be concerned with the large amount of money that Howard got. In order to live up to his new contract, he will have to have to repeat his 2006 season five times. In 2006, he posted a 6.8 WAR and had career highs in many categories including home runs, wOBA, BB%, and slugging%. Remember, Howard will have to do this during age 32-37 which will not be easy. We know that his 45+ home run power is not likely to be there in his mid-30’s but a glaring concern has to be the lack of plate discipline that Howard has shown throughout his career so far. He swings at pitches out of the zone 26.4% of the time in his career, his contact percentage inside the strike zone is 78.6% compared to around 88% which is league average, and he is only making contact on 39.5% of the 26.4% of pitches that he swings at outside of the zone. This results in a career 32.2% strikeout percentage. So I leave you with this question, if his plate discipline is already sub-par and the decline of his power is inevitable during this contract period, how do we expect him to produce enough offense to live up to this contract? Well, the answer is easy. He won’t. I see this deal being eerily similar to the 8 year/136 million dollar deal that Alfonso Soriano got from the Cubs in 2007.

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