Much is being made these days about Ryan Howard and his production, injuries, and most of all his contract. Many try to argue that Howard was paid too early with 2 1/2 years left on his original deal. They also say that his production doesn’t justify the contract he is currently signed to. The argument could be made that he hasn’t been healthy the last two years which has caused for a drop in production. Some people feel that, at the time, since he was overwhelmingly under paid that he deserved this huge contract especially after his rookie of the year and MVP seasons.
Here is a post on csnphilly.com by a person who goes by the name Ed, “In 2006 Howard batted .313, hit 58 homers, and drove in 149 runs. His pay for that year was $355,000. Were you clamoring for the Phillies to fork over what that kind of season was really worth? Howard received a raise to $900,000 and hit 47 homers and drove in 136 the following year. And what about those years Howard was stuck in the minors because of Jim Thome and he wasn’t called up because the team didn’t want to start his “clock”? That’s the way baseball works. The clubs have the whip early in a player’s career and take full advantage of it. Later, the player has the edge. Players like Howard are underpaid early and overpaid late, but if the career is long enough, it evens out. You just want Howard to give back tens of millions of dollars. Would you do that? Does an actor who gets paid $20 million for a picture that bombs give back some of the money? Does a CEO who tanks his bank and the entire economy willingly give back his some of $150 million compensation package? And remember baseball contracts are guaranteed. It’s the NFL where contracts are not guaranteed and players are forced to restructure, primarily for salary cap reasons. A deal’s a deal. Howard lived up to his end when he was younger, and now the Phillies will live up to their end as he gets older.”
To me this explanation was as good as your gonna get. In baseball you see the same thing happen every year with players getting that huge contract in free agency but only to disappointingly under produce the next season. Most of these players who receive these contracts are 30 years or older. Some examples of recent players that this has happened to are Barry Zito, Josh Hamilton, Vernon Wells, Carlos Lee, and Alex Rodriguez, although I don’t think any player will ever be worth what A-Rod was given as that contract was simply ridiculous and almost guaranteed not to work out. Some players just get old, father time, while others just can’t live up to the expectations.
The Phillies are in a rough spot with Howard as there isn’t anyone right now who will take on his contract. They could buy out Howard’s contract but it would be too soon for that, You can’t put Howard on the bench because he is making $25 million a year. So it’s a wait and see and hopefully he is able to fight through the pain and produce again.