It was a big week for Ryan Howard, and Ben Zobrist who both received contract extensions from their respective teams that Phillies and Rays. We’ll take a look into those deals, as well as analyze all the latest injuries, transactions, call ups and demotions.
Ryan Howard Agrees to Five Year Extension
The Philadelphia Phillies rewarded their slugging first basemen Ryan Howard this week, with a lucrative 5 year extension worth $125MM. Included in the deal is a $23MM option for 2017 with a $10MM buyout. With Howard being under his current contract for the next two years, meaning the extension won’t kick in until the 2012 season, when Howard will be 32 years old.
It came to a surprise that the Phillies decided to extend Howard’s contract as early as they did, with two years remaining until he reaches free agency. And for that reason, many feel that the Phillies did not get a discount with Howard as once the extension kicks in, they will be paying Howard $25MM annually.
ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks that the Phillies made acted too quickly on Ryan Howard. Comparing the Howard extension to when the Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano. Olney thinks that it is questionable to think that Howard will be able to produce once he hits his mid thirties.
Olney also questioned whether or not the Phillies would have been better off trading for young first basmen, suggesting that the Reds Joey Votto could have been an option. Such a scenario would have been cheaper for the Phillies, and would have guaranteed a player that would not have to risk having that player regress once he hits his mid-30s.
At first, I thought, “Yaaaay, our merry little band stays a little bit more together.”
And then, I actually thought about the phrase “five years,” and considered the concept with with a little more scrutiny; something that normally happens when I think about something for more than two seconds.
The problem with five years is that its five years. What is the shelf life of a Ryan Howard? Is this even something we should talk about? Is this legal? I feel like we’re planning Santa’s murder.
But what can we really expect from the post-30 era of Ryan Howard? The front office must see something we don’t, or maybe this is one of those rare occurrences where the fans know more about what’s going on than the organization itself. Maybe if Phillies higher-ups read message boards instead of coming up with the next hilarious “F=PH” joke to use in a fundraiser they’d have a better grip on reality.
The point Justin Raised, is a valid one. Because in this day and age, you just simply don’t see teams shell out that much money to players over 30 years old. And, if you look at power hitters like David Ortiz, and Alfonso Soriano who have decreased in production once they hit the age of 33, it is clear that their is some risk in investing in a power hitter for the long term.
With Howard signing his extension, that takes him out of what is expected to be a star-studded class of First Basemen free agents in 2012. When Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Adrian Gonzalez are all eligible to become free agents.
Rays Extend Ryan Zobrist
Rays utility man Ben Zobrist cashed in on a good 2009 season, by agreeing to a five year extension with the Tampa Bay Rays. The deal has a guarantee of 3 years, and another two option years. If both options are exercised, the total of the contract will be approximately $30MM.
Zobrist, quietly had a MVP type season for the Rays last year, as he had a line of .297/.405/.543 while hitting 27 homers and driving in 91 runs. However, this year has not been going so well for Zobrist as he is hitting .241/.327/.356 with no home runs and 10 RBI’s.
The slow start has many Rays fans concerned that Zobrist, is not the player we saw in 2009, and his poor power numbers to begin the season would go in line with that statement. The Rays may have rushed to judgment when it came to extending Zobrist as before 2009, he was not nearly as productive as he was. However, the Rays did give themselves an out in his contract with the two option years.
But, in any case this deal will be “win-win” for the Rays. As if Zobrist does not show the same production he did in 2009, the Rays have the two option years, and at worst that contract is pretty movable through a trade. And, if Zobrist regains his 2009 form, the Rays would be getting a discount on a player as valuable as he could be for them.
Red Sox ink Cuban catcher Ibarra
The Boston Red Sox have signed Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra to five year major league contract. The deal is for a guaranteed $3MM, but with incentives the deal could reach up to $4.3MM. It is expected that the Ibarra will report to the teams minor league complex before the Red Sox decide where to sign him.
While In Cuba, Ibarra,22, Played catcher, first base, second base, and third base. CubanBallPlayers Ibarra as a leader on and off the field. Saying that he is a very vocal player, and plays the game the right way. They go on to mention that he has a very “elegant” batting stance, and hits to all fields.
Mike Silverman, of the Boston Herald, reports that the Red Sox are pretty high on the potential of Ibarra. They are really impressed with his offense production, and his strong arm. However, since Ibarra ha snot focused on catching for a couple years now, it will likely take a couple years to develop him.
Cardinals Bring Back Aaron Miles
In maybe of showing of courtesy to one a player who was very productive witht them when he was a Cardinal, the St Louis Cardinals have decided to sign second baseman Aaron Miles to a minor league deal. Miles, will report to extended spring training before being assigned to team.
It was quite the eventful offseason for Miles, as he was one two previous teams this year. He first, was traded from the Cubs to Oakland along with Jake Fox in exchange for Jeff Gray, and Matt Spencer. Then, a few months after that he was traded to the Reds in exchange for Willy Taveras.
The rapid decrease in production from Miles is pretty curious, because considering he is only 33 he still should not be decreasing in play at such a rapid pace. In 2008, when he was with the Cardinals, Miles had a strong line of .317/.355/.398. Then he after the 2008 season, he went to the Cubs, in where he struggled with injuries and other personal issues and it showed as he only hit .185/.224/.242.
This move could best be compared to what the White Sox did last year with Scott Podsednik. As, they gave him a minor league deal and through his time int he minors it was like a tryout to see if he can still play. And, the Cardinals will probably follow that process and see if he still has something to offer for them in the majors.
Diammondbacks Acquire Bullpen Help
What if someone told you that the Arizona Diamondbacks are second in the league for most runs scored, and first in the league in Home Runs. Would you go on to say that they must be enjoying a very successful early season start? Well, you would be wrong, because event though the Diamondbacks are putting up great offensive numbers, their bullpen can not hold the lead late in games. As, after yesterday’s lost against the Cubs, their Bullpen now has an ERA close to 7.
But, the Diamondbacks have acquired right handed relief pitcher Carlos Rosa from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for shortstop Rey Navarro. It is fair to say that Rosa is still unproven in the majors, as he only has 9 career appearances. However, he does have a respectable ERA of 3.21 for his career.
At this stage in the season, teams are not going to find quality relief help. Which is why, you see moves like these, Where a team like the Diamondbacks takes a risk on a player like Rosa, hoping that he can fix an area of need for them.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated outfielder John Raynor for Assignment. As Dejan Kovacevic puts it, Raynor fell victim to the Pirates “epic pitching problems” as the Pirates had to make room to bring pitcher Jeff Karstens . However, Pirates GM Neal Huntigton still hopes that his club can be able to keep Raynor, who is their Rule V pick from the Marlins. Last year in triple A, Raynor hit .257/.327/.36o while showing signs of good speed. In order for the Pirates to keep him, he would have to first clears waivers. And after that the Pirates would then have to him offer him back to his original team, the Florida Marlins, or they could try to work out a trade with the Marlins in order for the Pirates to retain Raynor.
- The Los Angeles Angels have claimed infielder Kevin Frandsen from the Boston Red Sox. Frandsen was acquired by the Red Sox in a trade with the Giants, however he was later released after the Red Sox had to make room for reliever Alan Embree. Frandsen, hit .297/.352/.458 in triple A last year while playing all four infield positions.
- The San Francisco Giants have signed shortstop Angel Berroa to a minor league deal.Berroa, signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this winter, but was released before the season started. After hitting .287/.338/.451 in 2003 with the Oakland Athletics to win the rookie of the year award, he has never been able to live up to those numbers. As in his following 2033 plate appearances he has struggled, hitting .249/.291/.353 while spending time with the Royals, Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets.
Topics: Aaron Miles, Adalberto Ibarra, Angel Berroa, Arizona Diamondbacks, Ben Zobrist, Boston Red Sox, Carlos Rosa, John Raynor, Kansas City Royals, Kevin Frandsen, LA Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rey Navarro, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays