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Free Agency and Trades
Marlins Deal Jorge Cantu to Rangers for Two AA Pitchers PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:33

The trading season continues briskly with a smaller deal announced in the shadow of the Oswalt to Philadelphia extravaganza. The Marlins sent third baseman Jorge Cantu to the Texas Rangers for a pair of AA pitching prospects. The Rangers will send Class AA RHP Evan Reed and Class AA RHP Omar Poveda, who is on DL recovering from Tommy John surgery, according to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal to the Marlins for Cantu, who has struggled since a solid start in April.

Cantu is still owed approximately $2 million on his one year deal that he signed in January to avoid arbitration with the club. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, The Marlins have informed the Rangers they are willing to pay most, if not all, of the remainder of Cantu's contract.

UPDATE: Cantu was second on the team in 2009 with 100 RBIs but his .289/.345/.443 batting line was only slightly above average, disappointing production from a player who played primarily at first. He may supplant Chris Davis at first. Since dealing Justin Smoak in the Cliff Lee trade, Texas has endured 16 games of Davis as he went 10 for 53 with no home runs.

Reed has been working in relief for the Rangers AA Texas League affiliate. He's appeared in 30 games, saving five of them with 34 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched. More impressively, in 89.2 relief innings in the last two seasons, Reed's given up just two home runs.

Poveda is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and has missed the entirety of the 2010 baseball season. He pitched 140.1 innings last season with all but ten in Frisco, Texas' AA club. His peripherals were well off his career norms. Whether he's on his way back to the excellent strikeout numbers he posted in the low minors remains to be seen.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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The trading season continues briskly with a smaller deal announced in the shadow of the Oswalt to Philadelphia extravaganza. The Marlins sent third baseman Jorge Cantu to the Texas Rangers for a pair of AA pitching prospects.
 
Phillies Land Roy Oswalt and Cash for J.A. Happ and Two Prospects PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:08

Roy Oswalt

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies finally (phinally?) snared Roy Oswalt, agreeing with the Astros on a package of players in compensation and making some concessions to Oswalt to convince him to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. The deal sends J.A. Happ and two prospects to the Astros, who also send a reported $11 million to the Astros to cover part of the remaining value of Oswalt's deal. Contrary to earlier reports, the Phillies are not exercising Oswalt's 2012 option worth $16 million, but have reportedly agreed to increase the buyout of his option to $3 million which brings the total guaranteed compensation owed to Oswalt for the remainder of his contract is $24 million, of which Houston will pay $11 million.

Happ is the most useful immediate piece for the Astros. The prospects also on their way to the Astros organization are shortstop Jonathan Villar and outfielder Anthony Gose. Both are considered toolsy players. Villar has definite fielding concerns with an abundance of errors (42) in 99 games at shortstop in single A Lakewood of the Sally League. Gose is very raw but with good coaching and development of his tools has the potential to develop into a solid player.

Oswalt has bounced back from a less than stellar 2009 campaign. In twenty starts with the Astros, he has posted the best hit rate of his career (7.6 H/9 IP) and the best strikeout rate since his rookie season (8.4 K/9 IP). Those numbers have not translated into wins, primarily because the Astros have been one of the worst teams in the league, and pitcher wins are team dependent. He leads the National League in losses with 12, but expects to be on the right side of more decisions in Philadelphia. He'll make between ten and twelve starts as part of the Phillies playoff push. He'll make his Phillie debut Friday night in Washington making the second time this season a high profile pitch named Roy, acquired by the Phillies in a trade will debut against the Nationals.

Happ made 23 starts for the Phillies last year, but has been beset by injuries in 2010. His 2009 numbers are a mixed bag. He posted a nice ERA and won a dozen games, but his peripherals were more mediocre than magnificent. He kept his walks and hits down, but his strikeout rate at 6.5 K/9 IP was fairly middling. He had better peripherals in the minors, including a healthy 9.2 K/9 IP strikeout rate in 565.2 career minor league innings. While his 12-4 is likely never to be duplicated, he'll chew innings in the back of the Astros rotation for the next four seasons.

Gose has been aggressively promoted by the Phillies. He's been brutal on the basepaths getting caught 27 times in 63 attempts. He's also still learning strike zone judgment having racked up a strikeout a game this season. He is unquestionably fast averaging a triple every 51.1 plate appearances. For comparison, Denard Span, who has led the AL in triples last season and leads the league this season has averaged one every 66.9 plate appearances. He has a long deverlopment road ahead, but like most toolsy prospects possesses an abundance of upside.  Gose is rumored to be on his way to Toronto in a separate deal.

Villar at just age 19 is nearly as raw as Gose, but has not been pushed as quickly up the ladder in the Phillies system. Like with Gose, the numbers may paint a partial picture of Villar. But in 100 games he's struck out 103 times and committed 42 errors. Minor league fields typically create more bad bounces, but even with a few bad bounces, the errors are abundant and may signal a position change. With Jio Mier at the same level of the minors for the Astros, that switch may happen immediately.

UPDATE: The Gose to Toronto rumors came to fruition.  Shortly after the Oswalt deal was confirmed, word broke that Gose had been flipped to the Jays. Houston's return for Gose will be AAA infield prospect Brett Wallace. Wallace was once among the more prized prospects in baseball when he was in the Cardinals system a little more than a year ago. Now he's among the most traveled after stops in The A's and Jays organizations. He's put up a .301/.359/.509 batting line in 423 plate appearances for Toronto's AAA affiliate.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Athletics Ink Kurt Suzuki to 4-yr, $16.25M Contract PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Friday, 23 July 2010 17:02

Oakland's renown for frugality leaves their fellow small-market clubs in the dust. Tomes have been penned and films announced, if not yet filmed, but hey, they got Brad Pitt to play Billy Beane, that counts, right? So when they have a good young player they default to one of two options. Trade him for maximum return or sign him to a team-friendly contract. Kurt Suzuki! Come on down! According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A's have agreed on a four year deal with their starting catcher.

Terms were not immediately available, but Slusser tweeted a followup that the deal guarantees Suzuki $16.25 million through 2013 and includes a vesting option that would be worth between $9 and $10 million for 2014. Again per Slusser the option vests based on games played in 2013 and that Suzuki should not have trouble achieving the number as it is less than 120 games.

The deal is particularly well-timed for Oakland, as Suzuki would have been arbitration eligible this offseason. Based on last year's pair of catchers who were in their first year and exchanged figures with their clubs of arbitration eligibility Suzuki could have expected at least $2 million. Jeff Mathis took the Angels to a hearing and won to claim a $1.3 million salary for 2010. Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies settled prior to a hearing on a three-year deal that guaranteed him $8.85 million and paid him $1.7 million this season.

Both catchers illustrate the concern with long term deals for catchers as both have had stints on the disabled list. Suzuki also spent three weeks at the end of April into the middle of May on the DL. Even witht he trip to the DL, Suzuki is enjoying a fine season His batting line on the year is .257/.316/.408 in 68 games. His ten home runs put him on pace to eclipse his career best 15, which he hit last season.

This deal supersedes the contract that the A's renewed with Suzuki in March of this year. That pact had been paying him $420,000 this season. The club bought out Suzuki's three years of arbitration eligibility and with the low threshold for the option year to vest will likely also buy out the first season he could have been a free agent.

For his career, Suzuki has hit .269/.327/.400, but as he is demonstrating this season, his power is beginning to develop into a stronger attribute. He's probably the most popular player on the club. The deal locks up a popular young player at a reasonable price, which means the Price was most definitely right for everyone.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Transaction Action: Braves and Blue Jays Swap Shortstops in Five Player Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 12:38

The lull in on field activity that accompanies baseball's Summer Classic typically spurs the off field game of player acquisition. With the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline looming, teams need to move quickly to improve their rosters for the coming penant races. News comes today, courtesy of a Blue Jays press release that Toronto and Atlanta engaged in a game of Let's Make a Deal.

Atlanta gets shortstop Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky in exchange for Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes. Gonzalez was dealt last year from Cincinnati to Boston during the waiver trading period joins his fourth club in eleven months. Escobar, the other primary in the deal has been a member fo the Braves for his entire career.

Escobar has hit .238 with 12 doubles to go with a .334 on base percentage in 75 games with the Braves this season. Those numbers are a far cry from his career .291 average with 87 doubles, 29 home runs and a .368 on base percentage in 446 games all with Atlanta.

Reyes has only one appearance with the Braves this season. In 12 games (10 starts) with Atlanta's AAA Affliate he is 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA, 15 walks and 50 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings pitched.

Gonzalez put up a .259 average with 25 doubles, 17 home runs and had 50 RBI in career half season, his first with the Blue Jays. For his career, Gonzalez has been a .248 hitter with 281 doubles and 131 home runs in 1,314 games with an abysmal .294 on base percentage.

Collins, a 20 year old relief prospect, has appeared in 35 games this season with the Toronto's AA Affiliate, posting a record of 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA and nine saves. His career record of 14-9 has come in 130 career minor league games in which he has recorded a 2.40 ERA and 27 saves.

Pastornicky is also 20, but has only reached advanced A while batting .258 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI in 77 games this season. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round of the 2008 First Year Player Draft. He has good speed and

To make room on the 40 man roster the Blue Jays have designated RHP Ronald Uviedo for assignment. The Blue Jays had acquired Uviedo from Pittsburgh in June in exchange for Dana Eveland.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Patient-Lee: Rangers Land Cliff Lee in Six Player Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Friday, 09 July 2010 18:50

Texas RangersThe Texas Rangers seized an opportunity when talks between the Mariners and the Yankees broke down to swing a deal for Cliff LeeFox Sports Ken Rosenthal confirmed the deal shortly before five pm eastern time.

Fill your Fridays with rumors and innuendo and your weekend will commence with startling alacrity. Baseball's blogosphere and twitterverse buzzed with the initial Cliff Lee report tweeted by the New York Post's Joel Sherman around four am eastern. The Yankees had swooped in to seal the deal for the Mariner ace.

But after physicals were exchanged, Mariner GM Jack Zduriencik began to work the phones. An ankle injury to second base prospect David Adams prompted his retreat. At that point Jon Daniels pounced.

The unsettled ownership imbroglio, which our own Maury Brown has followed with a laser like focus, has left the club in bankruptcy prompting Daniels to get creative to engineer the exchange. The Rangers finally added First baseman Justin Smoak to the deal in order to get $2.5 million to cover most of the remaining $4 million Lee is owed for 2010.

In addition, the Rangers pick up reliever Mark Lowe who is currently on the disabled list and out for the remainder of the season.

Seattle gets four prospects from the Rangers. The centerpiece of the deal is Smoak who has been starting in Texas since being called up on April 23rd. In addition to Smoak, Texas will send starter Blake Beavan, reliever Josh Luecke and second baseman Matt Lawson.

The focus on getting a near-ready second baseman in the Lee deal coupled to the progress Mariner top hitting prospect, second baseman Dustin Ackley, is making hints that Jose Lopez' time in Seattle will soon be at an end.

Lee was the big coup in an offseason brimming with widely praised moves by Zduriencik. The Mariners brought him in to ride shotgun with Felix Hernandez at the front of Seattle's rotation. Too many of the moves failed to meet expectations but Lee did and then some.

Injury held him out until April 30th. But in his 13 starts he's posted an AL leading 2.34 ERA and a league best five complete games. He has almost as many strikeouts (89) as hits allowed (92) and has a whopping six walks. Despite the stellar numbers, the Rangers are his fourth team in the last twelve months. He helped pitch the Phillies to the World Series last year after a deadline deal got him out of Cleveland. Lee won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award with the Indians.

Lowe is not as heralded as Lee, but had established himself as a dependable setup man in the Mariner pen. He has gone 1-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 relief games out of the pen for Seattle this season. He has been on the disabled list since May 3 with lower back inflammation and had microdiscectomy surgery on his back on June 15.

Smoak has batted .209 with 8 homers and 34 RBI in 70 games for Texas this season, his first major league action. The club’s first round selection in the 2008 June draft, he has a team-high 66 starts at first base for the Rangers in 2010. His contract was purchased from Oklahoma City on April 23 after batting .300 in 15 games in the Pacific Coast League.

Beavan, 21, has spent the entire season at Double-A Frisco, going 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 starts. He was recently promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City after his last start for Frisco on Monday, but had yet to appear for the RedHawks. Beavan was selected out of Irving High School in the first round (17th overall) of the 2007 June draft.

Lueke, 25, began the season at Low-A Hickory and went 2-1 with 10 saves and a 0.46 ERA in 17 relief outings before a promotion to Double-A Frisco in late May. He has gone 1-1 with 2 saves and a 3.86 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Frisco in his first Double-A action. Lueke was originally selected in the 16th round of the 2007 June draft.

Lawson, 24, has spent the entire season at Double-A Frisco, batting .277 with 16 doubles, 7 homers and 34 RBI in 76 games for the RoughRiders. He was recently named to the 2010 Texas League All-Star team. Lawson was originally selected by Texas in the 14th round of the 2007 June draft.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Transaction Action: Red Sox Bring Back Kevin Cash PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Friday, 02 July 2010 03:10

Red Sox

Boston consummated a minor deal with the Houston Astros reacquiring backup catcher Kevin Cash for infielder Angel Sanchez, according to WEEI's Alex Speier.

Cash had played with the Red Sox between 2007 and 2008, appearing in 73 games and posting a .207/.297/.308 batting line for Boston.  He will serve as Jason Varitek's backup while Victor Martinez is on the disabled list with a broken thumb. Cash was successful catching Tim Wakefield's knuckleball during his previous stint with the Red Sox. Houston had designated Cash for assignment last week in order to call up highly touted catching prospect Jason Castro.

In exchange, the Astros get Sanchez, who had spent most of 2010 with Boston's AAA affiliate Pawtucket.  This was his first season with the Red Sox organization.  At Pawtucket he hit for a .274/.348/.327 batting line in 252 plate appearances.  Sanchez was called up to Boston last week after Dustin Pedroia was placed on the DL with a broken bone in his foot. He had appeared in just one game going 0-3.

UPDATE: Shortly after news of the trade broke, the Red Sox announced that they were disabling Varitek with a broken foot.  Cash will work in tandem with Gustavo Molina to handle the Red Sox staff.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Transaction Action: Giants send Bengie Molina to Rangers PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 01 July 2010 22:33

Bengie Molina

Andrew Baggarley of the San Jose Mercury News reports on the slowly developing, but now completed trade between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. The Giants send their opening day catcher Bengie Molina and nearly $2 million in cash to the Rangers for reliever Chris Ray and pitching prospect Michael Main. The move settles the unstable backstop position for the Rangers, helps the Giants get from their excellent starters to their excellent closer while adding a former first round draft pick to their farm system.

Molina has had an off-season, spent mostly looking over his shoulder at the on coming uber prospect, Buster Posey. Molina saw his slash line averages dip to .257/.312/.332 this season. He put up a .265/.285/.442 line last season. The veteran catcher is in his thirteenth major league season.

Ray closed games in Baltimore in 2006 and 2007, but missed the entirety of the 2008 season following elbow surgery. He was in his first season in Texas and had put up a 3.41 ERA in 31 2/3 innings pitched. Ray's numbers relied on a surprisingly low hit rate to offset his high walk rate and poor strikeout rate.

Main was the Rangers first round draft choice in the 2007 rule 4 draft. He was pitching in the notoriously hitter-friendly Cal League at Bakersfield. His first trip through the league last season was uninspiring, causing him to tumble in the eyes of many prospect watchers. Main has bounced back this season to put up a 5-3 record and a 3.45 ERA that's backed by solid peripherals including a health 3.43 SO/BB ratio.

The deal casts into doubt, yet again the future of catching prospects Max Ramirez, Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The cash the Rangers received offsets any potential increase in payroll, thus doing nothing to upset the contentious sale of the club.

Keep checking back to the Biz of Baseball for more updates on the club's bankruptcy and sale as Maury Brown focuses in on all the details of the case.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Transaction Action: Arizona Deals OF/1B Conor Jackson to Oakland PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 13:35

MLB.com's Diamondabacks beat writer Steve Gilbert tweets and then follows up with a story filled with the details of Arizona's recently consummated swap with the Oakland Athletics that sent Conor Jackson to Oakland in exchange for AAA reliever Sam Demel. As part of the deal, Oakland also gets cash to cover part of the remaining salary on his one year deal. Jackson signed a one-year contract worth $3.1 million early in the arbitration process. He earned $3.05 million in 2009

The minimal raise represents one aspect of arbitration that has proven contentious to owners - a player who is arbitration eligible, but who has not earned adequate service time to be granted free agency, can not receive a pay cut through arbitration. This provision has encouraged many teams to non-tender arbitration eligible players and sign them to a reduced contract rather than be forced into giving that player a raise.

Jackson, 28, has barely rebounded from his terrible 2009. Battling Valley fever he made it into only 30 games and was ineffective in those games, hitting .182/.264/.253. The Diamondbacks had hoped to see a return to his seasonal average from 2006-2008 when he averaged 14 home runs per season and batted .292/.371/.451. Instead he's posted a .238/.326/.331 line in 172 plate appearances with just one home run.

Demel had been splitting closing duties with Henry Rodriguez in AAA Sacramento. In 22 games, he had logged 28.2 innings and notched six saves, to go with a 1.26 ERA. Demel also had solid peripherals in a league that favors hitters. How well those peripherals translate to the National League will determine what he can do to unfog Arizona's murky bullpen situation.

Jackson becomes a commodity to be packaged and dealt by Billy Beane in the short-term. Oakland's outfield includes Ryan Sweeney, Rajai Davis, Jack Cust, Gabe Gross and Eric Patterson. The addition of Jackson seems to overload that already crowded situation.

For Arizona, the move signals a willingness to entertain trade offers for veteran players. Replacing Jackson with Gerrardo Parra is both a cost-saving move and an improvement of talent. Another such move could be made at first base.  With Brandon Allen healthy again and hitting well in June at AAA, will Adam LaRoche find himself dealt at the deadline, again in 2010? Other veterans whose salaries could be shed include Kelly Johnson and Chris Snyder.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Transaction Action: Detroit Deals Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 20:20

John Lowe of the Free Press has the details of the deal struck today between the Tigers and Diamondbacks that sends recently designated for assignment pitcher Dontrelle Willis to Phoenix, along with cash to cover the majority of his pro-rated 2010 salary, in exchange for starting pitcher Billy Buckner.

Willis had been largely ineffective for the Tigers going 1-2 with an ERA of 4.98. He walked 29 batters in 43.1 innings pitched. Those numbers are a mild improvement on his numbers from the last two seasons in Detroit. His contract guaranteed him $12 million for this season. All but the league minimum will be paid by Detroit as part of the trade.

In exchange, the Tigers receive a well-traveled pitcher of relatively few years. Billy Buckner is just 26, but Detroit marks his third organization. He's been used both as a starter and a reliever, though the bulk of his games have been starts. Despite modest minor league success as a starter, Buckner has yet to develop into a reliable big league pitcher. His eventual destination is likely middle relief. For 2010, he's posted an 0-3 record with an ERA of 11.08

The deal closes another chapter int he curious case of Dontrelle Willis. After a Rookie of the Year season in 2003 and a World Series title with the Marlins, Willis cemented himself as a top-notch pitcher in 2005 at the age of 23. He led the NL in wins, finished second in the Cy Young vote and appeared well on his way to greatness. He was dealt following the 2007 season when his ERA slipped to what was at the time a career worst 5.17. He has yet to pitch 100 innings in the majors since. In that time, Willis has dealt with anxiety issues that may have been related to the slip in his performance.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Philles Agree on 5-yr $125M Contract Extension with Ryan Howard PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Monday, 26 April 2010 18:23

The Philadelphia Phillies opened up their bank vault to sign All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard to a five-year $125 million contract extension that will keep the 30-year old slugger with the club through the 2016 season. The deal, first reported by Comcast Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury, includes a club held option for 2017, when Howard will be 37 years old.

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.

The deal has already sparked controversy with ESPN analyst Keith Law remarking: "If Howard is worth $25 million, Pujols is worth $50 million a year." Philadelphia had come under criticism from starting shortstop Jimmy Rollins for not electing to keep Cliff Lee when the club acquired Roy Halladay. According to Rollins' account, both he and outfielder Jayson Werth were baffled by the decision to move Lee when he had only one season remaining at the affordable cost of $9 million.

Howard's deal is the second very large deal Philadelphia has struck. After acquiring Halladay, the extended him for three seasons at a cost of $60 million. The two deals virtually ensure that Werth will not be retained at the end of the season.

Howard has been the power bat at the heart of the Phillie lineup for four seasons. Between 2006 and 2009 he hit 198 home runs and drove in 572 runs, leading the league three of the four seasons. On the young 2010 he's batted .275/.301/.475 in 83 plate appearances with 3 home runs.

Philadelphia's core of talent that includes Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, and Cole Hamels as well as Halladay and Howard will remain intact until at least the 2012 season. Though the subject of criticism, the deal will be judged by the toughest fans in America using a different measure. Whether the Phillies followers regard it as a success depends largely on how many World Series titles the club claims between now and its conclusion, not on how poor a decision it will be to over pay for the slugger's inevitable decline.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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