From the good folks at ESPN regarding Mighty Ryan's $125 million over 5 years (with a 6th year option to make it $138 million).
Albert Pujols, another power-hitting first baseman, is due for free agency following the 2011 season and as a three-time MVP is certain to warrant a bigger pact than the one Philly gave Howard. Whether this prices Pujols out of St. Louis or not is a story yet to be written, but if it takes $150-200 million to retain the game's best hitter, we have to think it could impact the other 23 spots on the Cardinals roster. We say 23 because Matt Holliday is inked long-term, too.
Howard's deal could also force the Milwaukee Brewers to trade Prince Fielder, who is considered a better all-around hitter than Howard, and is five years younger. GM Doug Melvin could field calls for Fielder this summer.
The consensus around baseball seems to be that the Phillies overpayed for Howard, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr. thinks otherwise. "We're typically not a club that sets markets," Amaro said. "And I don't view this as a market-setting deal. But we feel like this is an equitable deal for both sides."
Keith Law: A bad deal for Philly?
"This is one of the worst extension of its kind -- it's an overpay in both years and dollars. Howard is one of the last guys in the middle of the lineup I'd give that kind of money, too. He's 30, has a bad body, is not a good defender, and has struggled to make contact versus lefties -- he's gone backwards in that area over the past couple of years. If you were locking him up through age 31, it's not so bad. How happy are if you're Albert Pujols? If Howard is worth $25 million, Pujols is worth $50 million a year."
Buster Olney: What is Howard worth on the open market?
"Here's one simple barometer on whether or not this was a good deal for the Phillies: If Philadelphia were to put Howard on the trade market today, with almost seven years and $164 million remaining on his deal, how many offers would they get? The answer, in all likelihood: Zero."
Now that I've got some big names agreeing with me on the over-ratedness of Ryan Howard, you might say it feels good to be me, but frankly, I don't know if I can feel good about this whole situation with Albert Pujols. The man needs to stay a Cardinal. I don't even want him on the Red Sox - it's just an unholy tossing of money at someone, and frankly, other than Los Angeles and Anaheim or a $300million a year Yankees team - shades of the Onion anyone? - who else can sign him? Who's capable of an outpouring of $200million over time. We've already seen what that albatros did to Texas with A-Rod draining them of life and winding up in New York all the same. The Mets can't rebuild at that price. Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana are too pricey and it's not like David Wright is going to be cheap. On top of that, they need 3 pitchers minimum.
And every time it seems like Phat Albert might be mortal, he goes the other way. Last night, it was a 3-4 performance with an RBI and a run, so he's batting .325 (Howard is 60 points less) with an OPS over 1.000 (Howard is under .800) AGAIN. This is mediocre for him. It's all just so natural. In addition, Pujols has 7 homeruns to Howard's 3 (RBI's are also 18-16 in favor of Pujols).
The only question is can he hit .400.
And while his whiffs are up this year 14 (the only category that Mighty Ryan is beating him in with 15), frankly, it has been cold and nasty, so once he gets in rhythm, the sky is the limit.
Let's just hope that it doesn't leave St. Louis out in the cold.