The Howard Deal
– It’s a lot of money, and I’ve heard from more than a few Phillies fans wondering if it’s too much money considering Howard will be 36 when the deal ends in 2016 … 37 if the club option is picked up for 2017. It certainly might be. It might not be. Who knows? But one thing to ask is this: do the risks of a $125 million committment outweigh losing Howard after 2011? Sure, the Phillies would have loved to have signed Howard to a three-year, $75 million extension (or something more team-friendly). They would have loved it. But Howard never would have signed it. He knew a big payday awaited him, and he would have taken it. It seems the Phillies had one of two choices: sign Howard to a big deal, or let him walk after 2011. (And then we’d get to hear from Phillies fans about how cheap the Phillies are, how they’re not the Yankees, whine, cliche, moan, etc.) So pick one: Howard gets a big payday with obvious risks (see Mo Vaughn), or he’s gone after next season. If you’d rather see him leave, hey, I understand that. But I don’t believe there would have been a middle ground (i.e. an overly club-friendly contract.) Of course, why sign him now? Couldn’t they have waited to see what happened with Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez? We’ll ask Ruben Amaro Jr. that in a few.
– I’ve gotten the sense recently that the Phillies think they can sign Jayson Werth to a contract extension. It might be because they realize they have to have at least one right-handed bat in the middle of their lineup. But I don’t think today’s deal means Werth is gone. Now, if Werth wants a five-year, $100 million deal, yeah, the Phillies probably won’t sign him to something like that. But if it’s a fair deal — the Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins contract extensions seemed to work out for both parties — then I see a chance at Werth sticking around. They could use him, too.
I will be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly” beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square. I’ll also be signing books beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park. The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.