Select the image above to see a comparision of
stats between Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols
That collective forehead slap you heard last night came from Milwaukee, St. Louis, San Diego, and possibly, New York. With the Phillies inking first baseman Ryan Howard to a whopping 5-year, $125 million extension, the dominoes will begin falling.
As reported by The Biz of Baseball’s Joe Tetreault:
The extension goes into effect after their current pact expires following the 2011 season. Howard's current deal pays him $19 million this season and $20 million in 2011, the final year of the three-year $54 million that bought out his final three seasons of salary arbitration eligibility.
The new deal will pay Howard $20 million in both 2012 and 2013 and escalates to $25 million for the remaining three guaranteed years. The club option, if exercised, would be worth an additional $23 million. Should the club elect to decline the option, they would owe Howard a $10 million buyout.
So, the Phillies are looking to wrap up Howard well into his free agency years. Still...
ESPN’s Keith Law said what nearly everyone was thinking yesterday when the news broke, "If Howard is worth $25 million, Pujols is worth $50 million a year." OK, so not everyone might be thinking “$50 million” annually, but Pujols is certainly worth more than Howard (select the image provided to see Howard to Pujols stats comparison)
And not only will Pujols be affected, but so will the likes of Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez possibly in the mix as the Howard deal cascades down to other contracts in the future.
In terms of total dollars, Howard’s deal ranks as the 13th most lucrative active contract, sitting $1 million behind Barry Zito’s deal with the Giants. Albert Pujols has a 7-year, $100 million deal with a $16 million club option for 2011, and by all accounts, he’s scheduled to rake in the most lucrative MLB contract ever, surpassing Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal reached in 2008 with the Yankees (and yes, one needs to throw in Matt Holliday and Mark Teixeira for good measure as we’ll see in a bit).
Here’s a breakdown of the top most lucrative multi-year deals when factoring in Howard’s new deal:
- Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) – 10-year, $275 million (2008-17)
- Derek Jeter (Yankees) – 10-year, $189 million (2001-10)
- Joe Mauer (Twins) – 8-years, $184 million (2011-18)
- Mark Teixeira (Yankees) – 8-years, $180 million (2009-16)
- C.C. Sabathia (Yankees) 7-years, $161 million (2009-15)
- Manny Ramirez (Dodgers) 8-years, $160 million (2001-08)
- Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) – 8-years, $152.3 million (2008-15)
- Todd Helton (Rockies) – 9-years, $141.5 million (2003-11)
- Johan Santana (Mets) – 6-years, $137.5 million (2008-13)
- Alfonso Soriano (Cubs) – 8-years, $136 million (2007-14)
- Vernon Wells (Blue Jays) – 7-years, $126 million (2008-14)
- Barry Zito (Giants) – 7-years, $126 million (2007-13)
- Ryan Howard (Phillies) – 5-years, $125 million (2012-16)
- Matt Holliday (Cardinals) – 7-years, $120 million (2010-16)
- Carlos Beltran (Mets) – 7-years, $119 million (2005-11)
- Carlos Lee (Astros) – 6-years, $100 million (2007-12)
- Albert Pujols (Cardinals) – 7-years, $100 million (2004-10)
You’re asking, “Why does Howard’s contract spell record deal for Pujols? He’s not anywhere close to A-Rod in terms of total dollars.” The answer is in Howard’s Annual Average Value (AAV).
Howard’s new deal ranks him as #2 in AAV for active contracts. While Howard and Pujols are nearly the same age (for the record, Howard is older than Pujols by just over 3 months), Pujols has more Major League Service Time (MLST). As of the beginning of the season, Howard has 4.145 compared to Pujols’ 9.000, almost double Howard’s MLST. And yet, here’s how Pujols stacks up to some other active contracts in terms of AAV (data courtesy Cot’s Contracts):
- Alex Rodriguez, $27,500,000 (2008-17)
- Ryan Howard, $25,000,000 (2012-16)
- Joe Mauer, $23,000,000 (2011-18)
- C.C. Sabathia, $23,000,000 (2009-15)
- Johan Santana, $22,916,667 (2008-13)
- Manny Ramirez, $22,500,000 (2009-10)
- Mark Teixeira, $22,500,000 (2009-16)
- Roy Halladay, $20,000,000 (2011-13)
- Miguel Cabrera, $19,037,500 (2008-15)
- Derek Jeter, $18,900,000 (2001-10)
- Carlos Zambrano, $18,300,000 (2008-12)
- Torii Hunter, $18,000,000 (2008-12)
- Ichiro Suzuki, $18,000,000 (2008-12)
- Vernon Wells, $18,000,000 (2008-14)
- Barry Zito, $18,000,000 (2007-13)
- Jake Peavy, $17,333,333 (2010-12)
- Matt Holliday, $17,142,857 (2010-16)
- Carlos Beltran, $17,000,000 (2005-11)
- Alfonso Soriano, $17,000,000 (2007-14)
- Albert Pujols, $14,285,714 (2004-10)
What is Pujols Worth?
When factoring in the Howard and Teixeira deals (first baseman), and the Holliday contract (Cardinals latest big signing), one could see a couple of different plausible record-setting scenarios:
Cardinals offer up 10-year, $285 million – In terms of total dollars, this would surpass the Rodriguez deal by $10 million, which seems astronomical on one level, but when considering the value of the dollar when A-Rod was signed (2008), the escalation isn’t too far over what was reached then.
Cardinals offer 7-year, $196 million – With Pujols turning 31 in January, a 10-year deal is riff with decline years risk. Shaving three years off the deal might make it more palatable to the Cardinals. A 7-year, $196 million deal would work out to an AAV of $28 million, or $500,000 annually over the current A-Rod deal.
As mentioned, the Howard deal impacts other power-hitting first baseman. With Fielder and Gonzalez approaching free agency, the low-revenue making Brewers and Padres certainly must have been downing the Pepto in large doses today after the Phillies opened their wallets for Howard. Keeping their star players became that much more difficult on Tuesday than it did on Monday before the Howard deal was inked.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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