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Saturday, August 02, 2014

TSL: The Rise and Fall of Phillies First Baseman Ryan Howard

Don’t know what’s worse…throwing the PED’s or HOF out there.

But who could have predicted that Howard’s decline would be so abrupt and precipitous? He’s obviously in the last stages of a dwindling career. A combination of injuries and age deterioration has caused Howard’s abrupt demise. The shock of it hit Philly fans like a brick and it has taken them some time to grasp the fact that Howard wasn’t dogging it. He didn’t just suck for no reason. He wasn’t trying to play bad to hurt the city or force a trade. His mythical run has come to an end. In the same manner that Don Mattingly’s back stole the last years of a potentially great career and how Sandy Koufax’s arm troubles limited him to shooting star status as an all-time pitcher.

Or did Howard juice? His career does fit the “profile” of a PED-user.

From ages 25 to 31, he was one of the best sluggers in the game; since then, he’s been plagued by injuries and just hasn’t been getting it done.

Since the start of 2012, Howard has been worth -0.7 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which is equivalent to a below-replacement-level player, and he doesn’t project to improve very much from here on out. Add in the reality that he turns 35 in November and it’s safe to say Howard’s full-time playing days are over.

...Maybe hanging on and reaching that 400-homer plateau will be enough to get Howard into the HOF one day, but that’s not likely, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Hall of Fame Monitor, on which 100 is a “Likely HOFer.” Howard is at 98, just short. On their Hall of Fame Standards, which is more weighted toward career stats, and on which 50 is the “Average HOFer,” he’s at 25, well short.

Repoz Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:04 AM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4763000)
Has anyone done any "checking" on the HOF Monitor and HOF Standards to see if they still apply? I see that B-R made a tweak to the Standards calculation. Obviously the steroid candidates and the current backlog can throw things off.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:46 AM (#4763001)

2 full-time seasons of his career above a 127 OPS+ and we're "Koufaxing" him?

news flash: If you get a gazillion guys on base when you bat, some of them will score.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4763003)
some solid major league hyperbole in this article:

In his MVP season of 2006, Ryan had one of the greatest offensive seasons by a first baseman in history

More mythical numbers from the 6-foot-4, 250-pound sledge hammer who was already, indisputably, the best slugging African-American first baseman of all time

   4. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4763006)
regarding point 2 i think you could quickly point to these guys as better in terms of peak:

eddie murray
fred mcgriff
and obviously willie mccovey

i don't even think it's debatable. howard had one, o-n-e, special season.

frankly, he's about what john mayberry was only the stats look different because of the context. and one could contend mayberry was better given that he had more impressive single seasons and wasn't as bad defensively

in this age of information it's embarrassing that a player of this performance level has received so much undeserved recognition over his career.
   5. I Am Not a Number Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4763008)
Typical flow of events. An essay is linked to at TSL. I read it and disagree with it. I check the authorship. JR Gamble. I say to myself, oh yeah, JR Gamble, I have never agreed with anything he has ever written. And the streak is alive for another day.
   6. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4763009)
Four straight years of hitting forty five home runs or more. At times I miss the old offensive era. I enjoyed Ryan Howard as a theory. Offense only first baseman of a seemingly bygone age. Its been plenty negative for a long time, but the guy had his day. I would have signed the contract, too.
   7. TJ Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4763010)
I woke up to read this? While it may not be the worst thing ever written, it surely is in the top five..

Was there anyone other than Ruben Amaro Jr and apparently this writer who did not see that the Ryan Howard extension had a significant chance of being a disaster? I Harvey's Mayberry reference is pretty good, I would throw in Cecil Fielder as a more recent example as well.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4763014)
tj

if you want a more recent example it would be mo vaughn

vaughn was a superior hitter to howard and was not quite as bad defensively
   9. TJ Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4763015)
Good one, Harvey! Maybe we can have a "Who is more like Ryan Howard than Frank Thomas?" thread. It make trudging through this article worthwhile...
   10. Scott Ross Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4763016)
How about a little love for George "Boomer" Scott?

EDIT: OK, having checked B-ref, Boomer didn't have quite Howard's stick, but man could he pick it.
   11. DL from MN Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4763018)
I suggest Luke Easter
   12. GregD Posted: August 02, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4763024)
Andre Thornton WAR: 24
Ryan Howard: 18.5

One guess as to which has the higher single season peak
   13. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 02, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4763025)
Maybe hanging on and reaching that 400-homer plateau will be enough to get Howard into the HOF one day

He is still 73 short of 400, almost 20%, and is basically toast. He would have to average over 20HR for the next 3 years, a total he hasn't hit in the last 3 seasons. And even if he could do it, no team is even going to give him the chance to try for it.

And all so he can reach the "magical" 400 mark - a number that hasn't been cited as a serious HoF benchmark in my lifetime.
   14. AROM Posted: August 02, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4763030)
400 homers is definitely not enough for a guy whose only case is homers.

So much silly crap here. Saying Howard is the best slugging AA first baseman of Altime is like saying Ken Holtzman is the best Jewish pitcher.

Howard is the most fortunate player of his generation. His teammate Utley has been the far, far greater player during their whole careers. But Howard gets all the credit from the general media and more importantly, his general manager.
   15. John Northey Posted: August 02, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4763031)
I just looked at his stats and thought "isn't that Cecil Fielder"...
Led league: HR 2 times, RBI 3 times, total bases once, K's once, games played once
Yes, both have the EXACT same black ink.

Fielder: twice 2nd in MVP, got votes 4 times
Howard: won MVP, 2nd, got votes 6 times

OPS+ over 150: one time, 4 times over 130 - this is true for both players

First full-time season at age 26 - true for both due to other great 1B (Fred McGriff for Fielder, Jim Thome for Howard)

I'm sure I could find more parallels but geez that was a lot of them. Does this mean we'll see Howard have a son who is a top hitter someday?
   16. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4763036)
worst player ever to win multiple HR titles?
   17. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4763037)
I guess Gorman Thomas.....Harveys! remember Gorman?.....might be a contender....
   18. McCoy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4763039)
worst player ever to win multiple HR titles?

Bug Holliday
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4763044)
worst player ever to win multiple HR titles?

Bug Holliday


Tony Armas might be worse.
   20. AROM Posted: August 02, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4763045)
Does this mean we'll see Howard have a son who is a top hitter someday?


According to wiki Howard has a son named Darian, who is 13. For the comp to hold, Darian has to be strong enough to hit balls out of MLB parks right now.
   21. SoCalDemon Posted: August 02, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4763047)
Re #2: For comparison, Rafael Palmeiro, who everyone thinks of as a compiler, has 11 seasons above 130, including 3 above 150 and a high of 160. If he was borderline(ish) before the steroid stuff, I don't see how Howard gets to 5%, never mind being a serious candidate. He doesn't even reach HOVG status in my book.
   22. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: August 02, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4763057)
fun fact:
ben revere has a higher OPS this season than howard.
   23. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: August 02, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4763060)
2 full-time seasons of his career above a 127 OPS+ and we're "Koufaxing" him?
nice use of weasel words and selective end points there, howie.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4763067)
... says the guy who doesn't specify the 94-89 edge for Revere over Howard so far.

if I want to "weasel word" Koufax, I can say, "only 4 seasons above above a 158 ERA+."

huh, that still sounds pretty impressive, which is the point. you can't put a big dent in Koufax's peak (just his prime/career: "only 6 full seasons above 105 ERA+").

   25. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4763068)
these ryan howard conversations always strike me as a fun reminder of the effects of bias.

ryan howard isn't good now, so he was never good.
ryan howard is overpaid now, so he was always overpaid.


fact is, howard had 4 straight years hitting 45 or more homeruns starting in 06 going through 09.
fact is, howard was declining in 10/11 before he blew out his achilles, but he was still a damn good player.


it's okay if you don't like RBI, it's okay if you think chase utley is/was a better player, but that's not the same thing as ryan howard being terrible.
   26. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4763072)
worst player ever to win multiple HR titles?

I guess Gorman Thomas.....Harveys! remember Gorman?.....might be a contender....


My favorite Gorman Thomas story is one I've posted here before. Someone approached him, circa 1983, with a signed baseball that had the autographs of Ruth, Mantle, Mays, DiMaggio, Aaron, etc. They asked Thomas to add his name, which he did. Afterwards, Thomas said, "There's no telling what that ball was worth before I signed it."
   27. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4763076)
... says the guy who doesn't specify the 94-89 edge for Revere over Howard so far.

if I want to "weasel word" Koufax, I can say, "only 4 seasons above above a 158 ERA+."

huh, that still sounds pretty impressive, which is the point. you can't put a big dent in Koufax's peak (just his prime/career: "only 6 full seasons above 105 ERA+").

#### koufax.

howard had 6 consecutive years playing 140+ games per season averaging a 139 OPS+. from 06-11, his OPS+ went from 167, 144, 125, 141, 127, 126. all of those years he played 140+ games; all of those years he had 600+ plate appearances (insert amaro joke).

yet, you chose to describe that run by saying:
2 full-time seasons of his career above a 127 OPS+ and we're "Koufaxing" him?


which, firstly, is factually incorrect, since he had 3 (06/07/09). but more importantly, it's deliberately misleading. if the case against ryan howard is strong enough you shouldn't have to twist yourself into a pretzel to make it.
   28. Sweatpants Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4763082)
it's okay if you don't like RBI, it's okay if you think chase utley is/was a better player, but that's not the same thing as ryan howard being terrible.
It's okay if you don't like people pointing out Ryan Howard's flaws, but that's not the same thing as people calling him terrible.

He's had a good career. The people to whom he's being compared here - Mo Vaughn, Cecil Fielder, John Mayberry, Andre Thornton - had good careers, too. Vaughn was an MVP just like Howard. Cecil Fielder was a runner-up twice. These are good players. Like with Jack Morris, when people stretch to describe a player as better than he was, those who disagree are going to focus on all the reasons that it isn't true.
   29.     Hey Gurl Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4763085)
Per BB-Ref, Howard made about 16.6M in seasons where he delivered a total of 15 WAR, and around $115M in seasons where he delivered a total of 3.6 WAR.

That is pretty amazing.

Put another way, from ages 24-29 Howard earned around $27M and put up 17 WAR, and since then has made $104M and put up 1.5 WAR. Love it.
   30. bunyon Posted: August 02, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4763090)
That's extreme, shock, but there are probably lots of guys you could say similar about. Basically, by the time a guy is highly paid, there is a good chance he isn't worth it anymore. Certainly not 100% but wouldn't surprise me if it's mostly.
   31. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: August 02, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4763106)
He's had a good career. The people to whom he's being compared here - Mo Vaughn, Cecil Fielder, John Mayberry, Andre Thornton


Andre Thornton was my favorite players growing up. One of my biggest baseball WFT memories was when Duane Kuiper hit his only HR and Andre Thornton hit an inside the park homer run in the same inning.
   32. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 02, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4763108)
Howard was so bad at defense and base running in his prime he needed to hit at a 130 OPS+ just to be an average player.
   33.     Hey Gurl Posted: August 02, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4763113)
Certainly not 100% but wouldn't surprise me if it's mostly.


I'm well aware of that; it's just so stark with Howard. He almost turned to crap the moment he started getting paid.
   34. McCoy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4763120)
Ruben Sierra-first 6 years he put up 17.2 WAR for about 5 million dollars. His next 15 season have a combined WAR total of -.6 and for that he got paid 38.5 million dollars.

Adam Dunn is a more recent players. In his first 5 years he had 13.6 WAR for 5.7 million and in his next 9 seasons he was paid 107 million to put up 3.6 WAR.
   35. Buzzkill Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4763123)
There is absolutely no chance he goes in the HOF. Give me a break.
   36. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4763136)
fact is, howard was declining in 10/11 before he blew out his achilles, but he was still a damn good player.

Fangraphs and BBRef both have him at a combined WAR of about 2.5 for '10 and '11. That's MLB-quality, but it's not "damn good." It's below average.

Howard was a very good hitter up until he blew out his achilles, but he was so bad at the non-hitting stuff, that 30 home runs wasn't enough to make him a good player overall.

   37. cardsfanboy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4763138)
I'm actually reading the article. The writer first bad mouths the 306 members of the hof by saying that only half are true immortals, then he says Howard is going to join the titans as one of the few players to ever hit 40 homeruns, 130 rbi, in 4 or more seasons, joining Ruth(7times), Sosa and Griffey.... not sure that I would call Sosa a titan, especially if I was someone who just two paragraphs earlier dismissed half the hof as non-immortals.

And of course the article points out that "But who could have predicted that Howard’s decline would be so abrupt and precipitous? " and of course the answer is "everyone" Or at least everyone predicted he wouldn't be worth what he was being paid, and in fact wasn't worth what he was being paid even at the time of the signing on a per year basis. (and we'll ignore the PED hint that the writer threw up there)

But the real crime of this article, is again acting like there is, or ever will be one contract on a team that is an albatross.(Just putting up this disclaimer.... assuming a management that is actually trying to win and is willing to put up a reasonable payroll....sorry but if a team isn't putting up an 80mil payroll in today's game... I don't feel for the franchise at all, their owners are criminals) Only incompetent management couldn't still put out a good team with $25mil of a 175 mil payroll being used up by one player. Heck reduce the payroll to 100mil and give management two years and they should still be able to put out a competent or plus lineup with a 100mil payroll. Putting the misfortunes on the Phillies because of Howard is sheer dishonesty, the misfortunes on the Phillies rest solely with Amaro. If he only made one bad signing, this team would be a pretty good team.

   38. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4763141)
"which, firstly, is factually incorrect, since he had 3 (06/07/09)."

point conceded

"but more importantly, it's deliberately misleading. if the case against ryan howard is strong enough you shouldn't have to twist yourself into a pretzel to make it."

if a case for a player is strong, there is no chance of being able to come up with a "weasel" way to counteract it. I was responding to a ridiculously cherry-picked article by cherry-picking myself. how many Hall of Famers without a defensive case to make as well have only THREE seasons above a 127 OPS+?

it's not like I'm knocking him for lack of stolen bases or Gold Gloves. the only case Howard could possibly have is brute force. he was a durable guy in his prime who played on an excellent offensive team, yet he can be "weaseled" in his very wheelhouse. I'm demonstrating what makes the article so preposterous. It's not like I said "only 3 seasons over 150," yet he had 5 seasons of 145-149 - which would be ignoring 5 seasons that are very relevant to an HOF case. or if his 3 best were 185-184-183 or something and not 167-144-141.

once you're an offense-only candidate who is slipping below a 130 OPS+, those seasons don't add a whole lot. so all he's got is a peak that isn't much of a peak, now is it?

as noted, he was a good player. but any idiot who thinks Howard could sniff the HOF without a ticket deserves a rhetorical pummeling.
   39. caprules Posted: August 02, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4763158)
which, firstly, is factually incorrect, since he had 3 (06/07/09).


144 games for a 1B isn't really full time is it?
   40. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 02, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4763163)
how many Hall of Famers without a defensive case to make as well have only THREE seasons above a 127 OPS+?

Lou Brock had none (127 was his highest). He was negative in dWAR in all but two years of his career, so I don't think he has a defensive case at all. (Of course, he did run the bases pretty well.)
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4763174)
144 games for a 1B isn't really full time is it?


Since 2000, Ryan Howard has 5 seasons with over 140 games at first base...here is the list of first baseman with more seasons with 140 games.

1 Derrek Lee 9
2 Todd Helton 9
3 Adrian Gonzalez 8
4 Prince Fielder 8
5 Albert Pujols 8
6 Mark Teixeira 7
7 Carlos Delgado 7
8 Adam LaRoche 6
9 James Loney 5
10 Ryan Howard 5
11 Lyle Overbay 5
12 Richie Sexson 5
13 Paul Konerko 5

Howard's health is not out of the ordinary for his position.
   42. caprules Posted: August 02, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4763186)
Since 2000, Ryan Howard has 5 seasons with over 140 games at first base...here is the list of first baseman with more seasons with 140 games.


How many good, healthy 1B only play 144 games in a season? That's what I was looking for.

I like Overbay, but if he's tied on a list with Howard, that isn't really a great way to show how Howard is great.
   43. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: August 02, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4763187)
once you're an offense-only candidate who is slipping below a 130 OPS+, those seasons don't add a whole lot. so all he's got is a peak that isn't much of a peak, now is it?
that's a better expression of your argument than 'he only had X [weasel word] seasons over [selective endpoint].

144 games for a 1B isn't really full time is it?
i think it's close enough to not be worth debating. 110 or 120 games could be called part time, but 140 is getting up to 'distinction without a difference' territory.

And of course the article points out that "But who could have predicted that Howard’s decline would be so abrupt and precipitous? " and of course the answer is "everyone" Or at least everyone predicted he wouldn't be worth what he was being paid, and in fact wasn't worth what he was being paid even at the time of the signing on a per year basis. (and we'll ignore the PED hint that the writer threw up there)
that's not exactly fair though. howard didn't fall of a cliff because of a natural progression, he fell off a cliff because he ruptured his achilles.

it was almost guaranteed that he would be overpaid, but the fact that he has been terrible was not foreseeable at the time he signed the contract.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:04 PM (#4763192)
that's not exactly fair though. howard didn't fall of a cliff because of a natural progression, he fell off a cliff because he ruptured his achilles.


Not really, he fell off a cliff because he wasn't that good to begin with, was overrated because of his rbi, and had what is considered old man skills. Even without a cliff dive he was a 130 ops+ hitter before the signing, he was over 30 years old and was basically a 1.5 war player at that time. The injury didn't change that. The injury turned him from a guy you could live with on the roster(regardless of cost) to a liability.
   45. bobm Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4763215)
WAA, Koufax versus Howard:

Koufax
                   
Year   Age  Tm  WAA
1963    27 LAD  7.7
1966    30 LAD  7.4
1964    28 LAD  5.2
1965    29 LAD  4.9
1961    25 LAD  3.0
1962    26 LAD  2.6
1959    23 LAD  0.6
1955    19 BRO  0.5
1957    21 BRO  0.3
1960    24 LAD -0.2
1958    22 LAD -0.4
1956    20 BRO -1.0
12 Seasons     30.7



Ryan
                       
Year   Age  Tm    WAA
2006    26 PHI    3.1
2005    25 PHI    2.0
2009    29 PHI    1.6
2007    27 PHI    1.0
2004    24 PHI    0.1
2013    33 PHI   -0.3
2008    28 PHI   -0.3
2010    30 PHI   -0.6
2011    31 PHI   -0.8
2014    34 PHI   -1.9
2012    32 PHI   -2.1
11 Seasons        2.0
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4763225)
WAA, Koufax versus Howard:


Yea, I don't get the argument that is going on here about that, I'll bag on Koufax along with a few other people, but it's ridiculous to compare him to Howard in any rational way.
   47. Batman Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:16 PM (#4763229)
The city where Ryan Howard has played his home games is underrated.

Ryan Howard hasn't made it worse.
   48. DA Baracus Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4763235)
the fact that he has been terrible was not foreseeable at the time he signed the contract.


The inevitability of Howard's decline is what made the contract so laughable.
   49. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4763242)

I remember the glee of Mets fans I knew seeing the numbers on that Howard contract when it was announced. A big, aging heavy guy who already could be neutralized by a lefty getting that many years? lol
   50. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4763274)
If i could use the primer search funtion better i would love to see the transaction oracle on that extension. Feom what i remember it was laughed at before he was hurt
   51. bobm Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4763276)
Not exactly what you were looking for, but...

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/ryan_howard_signs_five-year_extension_with_phillies
   52. bobm Posted: August 03, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4763280)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/oracle/discussion/2011_zips_projections_-_philadelphia_phillies/

Monday, February 14, 2011

2011 ZiPS Projections - Philadelphia Phillies [...]

Even though they are probably the favorites, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia. The Ryan Howard contract still hasn’t started and whereas most teams worry about the back end of 9-figure contracts, the Howard deal is already a concern (or at least should be) in year 0. [...]

17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 14, 2011 at 01:20 PM (#3749773) [...]
Every one of Ryan Howard's top three comps was done as an MLB regular by the age of 31. That's about as bad a set of comparables as it is possible for a player to have. Now, this is a bit unfair, as Esasky's vertigo can hardly be figured in to the equation, Brad Hawpe still might put together a decent season soon, but ZiPS' career projection for Howard is truly terrible, and this must be the reason. Howard has put up a 140 OPS+ in 3700 AB so far in his career. In order to end his career with a 124 OPS+ in 6700 AB (with a 124 OPS+ in 550 AB this year), Howard needs to put up a 100 OPS+ over the final 2500 AB of his career. Basically, ZiPS thinks Howard's toast as a good player, starting in about 2012. [...]

27. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 14, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3749870)
Every one of Ryan Howard's top three comps was done as an MLB regular by the age of 31.


His top 3 BBREF comps are Richie Sexson, David Ortiz and Wilie McCovey
Sexson was still a regular after 30- but terrible
Otiz looked to be in rapid descent but had a nice bounceback last year at age 34
McCovey's peak was 30-32
next you get McGriff and Cecil Fielder
McGriff last along time, but after 30 most years he put up a 110-120 OPS+ (and for a 1B that's just another player)
McGwire, Mo Vaughn
Thin Carlos and Tino M...

I think ZiPs is right WRT Howard [...]

37. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 14, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3750008)
Howard's ZiPS comps are a gigantic bag of awful.

Nick Esasky
Jesse Barfield
Brad Hawpe
Carlos Pena
Leon Durham
Jim Gentile
Richie Sexson
Fred McGriff
Dick Stuart
Gus Zernial
Jay Buhner
Vic Wertz
Norm Cash
Greg Luzinski

All but a couple of these guys aged worse than the Macarena.
   53. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: August 03, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4763285)
Close enough bob...seeing what dan posted is pretty much what i was looking for also you do an amazing job with the br lists and other usefull info thank you!
   54. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:21 AM (#4763297)
I think bunyon wins the Howard contract thread:

So I take it the "limited no-trade provision" is that by 2014 no one will want his contract?


It's like he could see the future.
   55. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:32 AM (#4763300)
Putting the misfortunes on the Phillies because of Howard is sheer dishonesty, the misfortunes on the Phillies rest solely with Amaro. If he only made one bad signing, this team would be a pretty good team.

But what are his bad signings other than Howard?

Cole Hamels might fall apart but so far so good. Lee was 5/$120 for 21 WAR plus whatever he can deliver next year.

I think it's ridiculous to pay closers big money but the rest of MLB doesn't -- Papelbon has a 159 ERA+ and 93 saves and 5 WAR for about $37 M so far. Again might blow up but so far he's doing exactly what they're paying him to do.

Rollins was 3/33 and has 5.4 WAR and counting despite a terrible 2013. Unfortunately the extension is 12 PA from exercising.

Ruiz 3/$26 probably won't turn out well but 2.4 WAR so far this year.

Utley is at 2/$25 and already 3.2 WAR -- he might pay this off by the end of the year. Nice options too, exercising with 500 PA in the previous season.

Burnett is a mistake but just a 1-year contract. Byrd is just 2/$16 and he's at 2.8 WAR so that's nearly paid off.

The Halladay extension went to hell as pitcher contracts often do but he did put up 7 WAR in year 1. They seem to have paid only about $10-12 M for 1+ seasons of Oswalt and 5.4 WAR.

Polanco II seemed to be about 5.5 WAR for $17 M. They got 3 WAR out of Pence in a season's worth of games. They magically got an average season out of Pierre.

OK, Joe Blanton was a bad idea. Michael and Delmon Young were short-lived bad ideas. Ibanez was a longer-lived bad idea (one good year) but 4 teams since have made that mistake.

CFB, you're the one always touting that everybody knows the out years are not expected to produce. Amaro has for the most part gotten OK to good value out of his major contracts except for Howard (in a big way) and Halladay (in a smaller way and there's not a wealthy team that wouldn't have signed him to that contract). And Blanton. Like almost any GM, he's had his mix of short-term contract successes and failures.

For 2014, Ruiz, Utley, Rollins and Byrd (the moneymakers) are 11.5 WAR for 42.5 M, very good value. Even if you toss in Howard's $25 M that's around break-even. The pitchers (Burnett, Lee, Hamels, Paps) are about 7.5 WAR for $77 M, not so good. But as noted, Lee had averaged about 6 WAR per year on this contract so a drop to below 1 is huge (but not surprising for a pitcher of his age).

Bad value or not, it highlights the real problem. Those guys have put up 19 WAR this year while the Phils as a team have 16 WAR. They've got less than zero out of all of their cheap players (including not so cheap guys like Kendrick and Adams). What's "crippled" this team has been its inability to produce much from the farm. They have no cheap talent.

It was pretty much the same thing in 2013 -- 18 WAR from the big guns (almost all Hamels and Lee) and 17 WAR as a team. In 2012 that group (minus Ruiz) again produced about 19 WAR but they at least had 11 WAR coming from elsewhere. Still that 2012 year was the FA contract hell season with Blanton, Halladay, Howard, Pence and Polanco providing lousy value. That year Frandsen, Kratz, Pierre, Ruiz and Kendrick combined for those 11 WAR at a cost of about $8 M. Add that to the 2014 team and at least they're at 500.

An unproductive system, not getting young talent in trades, etc. are fully on Amaro's plate but unless I've forgotten somebody, the Howard contract is the only thing on the FA plate that nobody will touch.
   56. bunyon Posted: August 03, 2014 at 03:04 AM (#4763303)
54. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:21 AM (#4763297)
I think bunyon wins the Howard contract thread:

So I take it the "limited no-trade provision" is that by 2014 no one will want his contract?



It's like he could see the future.


I'm intimately familiar with the aging process of big, slow guys in their 30s.

Seriously, and with all respect to the excellent analysts around, I don't think it took detailed, deep analysis to come up with this could easily be a historically bad contract. The money, the athlete type, the fact that it didn't start for two years and was completely unnecessary to do so early and, as others have pointed out, that Howard was already declining and had very little room for error.

I like Howard, always have. I hate that he's done so early and that the contract induces people to really pile on him. I know that piling on is really aimed at Amaro but it results in Howard being blasted. But it was absolutely clear that this would be, at best, a bad contract (if Howard continued to play at his peak for 10 years, it would be about even) and might, with one bad break, be disastrous. Well, one bad break is a pretty sure thing in a long season.

Anyway, how does this end? Does he really hang on to play out the contract? Do the Phillies release him? It's a ton of money but it's going to be impossible to play him soon. Isn't it?
   57. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: August 03, 2014 at 03:28 AM (#4763304)
for the win 76. Davo Dozier Posted: April 26, 2010 at 09:17 PM (#3514711)
Just so there's no confusion when people look at the BBTF archives 5 years from now:

This is a catastrophically bad decision by the Phils.
   58. Bhaakon Posted: August 03, 2014 at 06:42 AM (#4763312)
for the win 76. Davo Dozier Posted: April 26, 2010 at 09:17 PM (#3514711)
Just so there's no confusion when people look at the BBTF archives 5 years from now:

This is a catastrophically bad decision by the Phils.


Hold your horses. It hasn't quire been five years. Howard may have a dead cat bounce in him yet, and won't all the MSM types be pretending like your mother's basement-pale face is red then.

At least for the week or so before his general awfulness re-asserts itself.
   59. JE (Jason) Posted: August 03, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4763341)
Typical flow of events. An essay is linked to at TSL. I read it and disagree with it. I check the authorship. JR Gamble. I say to myself, oh yeah, JR Gamble, I have never agreed with anything he has ever written. And the streak is alive for another day.

On the other hand, it's a bit refreshing to read the occasional Gamble column that doesn't allege some form of racism.
   60. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4763352)
Bad value or not, it highlights the real problem. Those guys have put up 19 WAR this year while the Phils as a team have 16 WAR. They've got less than zero out of all of their cheap players (including not so cheap guys like Kendrick and Adams). What's "crippled" this team has been its inability to produce much from the farm. They have no cheap talent.


That is sort of my point, good management isn't about what they do with the big contracts, it's how they fill the rest of the roster out. The Phillies insist on filling it out with veterans that cost some dough. I didn't say they could turn it around in one year, but in a couple. You trade Utley or Rollins or whoever it takes to get a few decent prospects(something that Amaro refused to do) You clear out some payroll, develop those prospects and then see where your needs are after the next season as far as free agent acquisitions.

Prior to this season, they could have traded Rollins to the Cardinals for a couple of B level prospects--Say Ramsey and Lyons.(possibly the Red Sox and a few other teams also) They are paying Kendrick major league money to be a replacement level player, etc. They have to learn when to cut bait on their own players. Howard isn't the drain on this team, paying 11 players over $7 mil is the drain. (or 7 over $11 mil) This is the type of team you would expect to have if you were stuck building a team strictly through free agency, and the problem is that it wasn't built that way. They develop a player, love him, and keep him until he becomes a drain on the team, costing them annual money and blocking their ability/desire to acquire a cheap replacement. I love the concept of loyalty, and in fact bag on the A's for their utter ruthlessness in avoiding that, but you have to pick the one or two players you want to be loyal to, not everyone that you develop.

From my point of view, the Cardinals have nearly annually traded a highly regarded prospect or a homegrown developed popular player, or even a highly respected free agent to be simply because they didn't fit into the picture any more and to get necessary pieces. (See Rasmus, Freese, Craig, Kelly, Beltran, Berkman,--we won't mention Pujols-- etc.)
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 03, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4763379)
huh, that still sounds pretty impressive, which is the point. you can't put a big dent in Koufax's peak (just his prime/career: "only 6 full seasons above 105 ERA+").

Right. You can construct reasonable criteria for a personal HoF that exclude Koufax (e.g. at least 10 years as an above average regular), but his peak is unassailable.
   62. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4763418)
Has anyone done any "checking" on the HOF Monitor and HOF Standards to see if they still apply?


The HOF monitor needs to go. Or at least be seriously overhauled. Here's some current or recently retired guys who cleared the 100 mark with room to spare:

Miguel Tejada - 148
Nomar Garciapara - 112
Magglio Ordonez - 114

Hell, Alfonso Soriano is at 104. I doubt any of those guys get more than a sympathy vote or 2.

Here's some guys summarily rejected by the voters in recent elections:

Albert Belle - 135
Bernie Williams - 134
Juan Gonzalez - 123

Larry walker at 148 and Todd Helton at 175 are unlikely to get elected.

   63. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4763420)
The HOF monitor needs to go. Or at least be seriously overhauled. Here's some current or recently retired guys who cleared the 100 mark with room to spare:


I understand it was based upon what the voters historically looked at, but the silly ball era really does destroy it as a useful barometer. It would need to be adjusted by era(with there basically being two eras, prior to 1990, and post 1990 roughly)
   64. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4763427)
There are 60 players with a HOF monitor between 90 and 110. A few are still active and still adding to their resume, and will climb out of that area (Mauer, Robby Cano, Adrian Beltre...). Of the rest, the vast majority are not, and will not be in the HOF. Of the HOFers, only a few were elected by the writers, and none since the 80's (Stargell). 100 is not and has never been a "Likely HOFer", and that is more true now than ever. Is lance Berkman (98) a likely HOFer? is Soriano (104)? Matt Holliday (106)? Jasons Kendall and Giambi (108)? Edgar Reteria (109), Carlos Delgado (110), Michael Young (112)? Sean really needs to stop saying this.
   65. NattyBoh Posted: August 03, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4763470)
Howard's been a platoon player since 2009 with one year that was an exception

Howard Splits
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4763489)
100 is not and has never been a "Likely HOFer", and that is more true now than ever.


Agree with the second part, disagree with the first part, Prior to 1990, it was a likely hofer, sure there are some guys who didn't make it who had more than 100 (Kuenn, Boone, Groat, Wills, Concepcion, Van Haltran, Parrish, O'Neil, Oliver, Simmons and Garvey) but almost all of them have a case and missed out for one reason or another, and is the reason why it says "likely" hofer.

The silly ball era destroyed it as a legitimate gauge anymore though.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4763609)
Howard isn't the drain on this team, paying 11 players over $7 mil is the drain. (or 7 over $11 mil)

But that's what I'm saying ... this isn't really the problem with this or other recent Phillies teams. They're not getting great value but not terrible by these standards. They've been spending about $140-150 M on "expensive" players and getting about 19 WAR ... there's quibbles about where the average FA values is these days but it's in the range of $6-7 M so that's not great return but it's hardly terrible. And that includes the Howard albatross.

The issue, especially the last couple of years, is that the remaining $20-25 M spent on the other 15 or so players -- the pre-arb, arb, cheap vet players -- have given them 0 WAR.

It's absolutely correct that (nearly) no team can be good paying FA prices alone. But that doesn't necessarily mean the FA money was poorly spent. The $150 M portion of their payroll ain't helping but it ain't really hurting either.

We do agree that Amaro still bears the blame and that he should have recognized that he was gonna get little/no value for cheap and therefore should have at least looked at rebuilding. I'm not sure that ever could have been a very successful option for them -- he didn't have much of Utley to trade until the extension this year, Rollins was coming off a defensive nightmare season in 2013 (negative WAR overall). There were assets here -- Lee (if the Phils ate some money), Papelbon (probably need to eat some money) and Hamels (but he was only coming into year 2 of his deal).

Compare to say the 2003 Rangers. They got 12 WAR out of ARod and Palmeiro (total $31 M) and about 12 WAR out of Blalock, Tex and M Young for a bit over $1 M but spent about $47 M for a total of 3 WAR out of Everett, Gonzalez, Park, Greer and Urbina. That was a team killed by several lousy FA contracts (unless $/WAR was $5 M in 2003 which I doubt).

Like I said, the 2014 Phils weren't gonna be good. But give them the 11 WAR from the non-FA that the 2012 Phils got or the 12 WAR that the 2003 Rangers got and they're 500.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4763616)
Following up because I find this interesting. For 2013, players within their first 5 "seaosns" (so generally 1st or 2nd arb year). This will catch genuinely expensive guys like Darvish and I'm skipping traded guys (Norris at 2 WAR the biggest). For pitchers at least 60 IP (misses some reasonably effective relievers), for batters at least 400 PA. Approx WAR by team, pitching WAR first:

Ari 5 18 =23
Atl 19 18=37
Bal 9 7 = 16
Bos 6 3 = 9
CHC 5 6 = 11
CWS 17 1= 18
Cin 15 4= 19
Cle 4 13= 17
Col 16 7= 23
Det 9 5 = 14
Hou 2 10= 12
KCR 1 11= 12
LAA 2 12= 14
LAD 5 5 = 10
Mia 18 1= 19
Mil 3 10= 13
Min 4 7 = 11
NYM 9 5 = 14
NYY 5 0 = 5
Oak 10 14=24
Phi 1 2 = 3
Pit 9 21= 30
SDP 5 5 = 10
Sea 8 9 = 17
SFG 4 14= 18
StL 13 10=23
TBR 9 3 = 12
Tex 16 8= 24
Tor 4 7 = 11
Was 7 7 = 14

I get an average of 16 total. The Phils' total of 3 is dead last. Add 13 wins to the 2013 Phils and they've got 86. Even Toronto's or LAD's low totals would put them to 500. That's where Amaro and, to at least an extent, his predecessor failed.

Note, it seems "unfair" to compare them to Hou or CHC since almost the entire roster fits this description. Payroll-wise, LAD at 10, Det at 14, Yanks at 5, Angels at 14 (slightly skewed :-), Bos at 9 might be the more relevant comps but that's still an average of about 10 wins which gets the 2013 Phils to 500. Not great but further indicative that they have been getting OK value out of their big contract guys.

   69. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4763622)

But that's what I'm saying ... this isn't really the problem with this or other recent Phillies teams. They're not getting great value but not terrible by these standards. They've been spending about $140-150 M on "expensive" players and getting about 19 WAR ... there's quibbles about where the average FA values is these days but it's in the range of $6-7 M so that's not great return but it's hardly terrible. And that includes the Howard albatross.


I'm not sure we are disagreeing or agreeing, my argument was specifically about people blaming a high priced option preventing the team from being competitive, when there is not one team in memory, which couldn't be competitive in two years with "average" competency in the front office, even with one or two massive drains on the payroll. You seem to be saying it's not the free agents that is hurting them, but their lack of getting value from their cheap players. I don't argue against that, in fact that is kinda my point. Whatever is hurting the Phillies, Ryan Howard is not to blame(which was my initial point)

As your second post points out, most teams are able to develop cheap talent, to help out, and the Phillies just aren't. Again, we are dealing with a GM who is afraid to ever let go of anything he already has, and will constantly over pay for his own developed players regardless of their true value to the team.

   70. Moeball Posted: August 04, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4764047)
my argument was specifically about people blaming a high priced option preventing the team from being competitive, when there is not one team in memory, which couldn't be competitive in two years with "average" competency in the front office, even with one or two massive drains on the payroll. You seem to be saying it's not the free agents that is hurting them, but their lack of getting value from their cheap players.


Taking that kind of approach is always a favorite of incompetent owners.

I remember BITD when Texas way overpaid to get Alex Rodriguez (was that Tom Hicks that was the owner then? My memory's hazy now), then ####### for the next few years about how they couldn't afford to get any good players to fill out the roster around A-Rod because they spent too much on A-Rod. Of course, meanwhile, Billy Beane up in Oakland had a front 3 in his starting rotation that had Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson...and he was paying less for all 3 of them combined than Texas was paying for Chan Ho(mer out of the)Park. It's not necessarily how much you pay for your players, but what you get for what you pay.

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