|Howard's new contract has odd number|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on April 26, 2010
Ryan Howard's new five-year, $125 million extension is filled with interesting numbers. Here's the one that astounds me the most: $10 million.
He is signed through his Age 36 season at the second-highest AAV of any active player. Yes, he's going to earn more annually than Joe Mauer despite being an older and clearly less valuable player. He's going to earn more annually than Mark Teixeira, clearly a better baseball player. And there's a chance that Albert Pujols, clearly the best player in the Major Leagues, won't sign a bigger deal -- in terms of AAV, at least.
And this leads to Howard's interesting number. He'll be 37 going into the 2017 season, where the Phillies hold a club option worth $23 million. If they choose to reject it, Howard has a $10 million buyout.
Read that again. A $10 million buyout. The Phillies agreed to a situation in which they may pay Howard $10 million to not play for them.
Congratulations to Howard's agent for throwing that little tidbit in there. The second question you're asking (the first should be why would the Phillies agree to that) is, How is Howard going to age? The answer is not well.
He does play the easiest position on the diamond, but his defense has never been too good there. With age, it figures Howard will continue to decline there. Add in that Howard doesn't have the strongest of batting eyes -- he set the Major League record in strikeouts, which has since been broken a few times, a while back and he doesn't draw that many walks -- and you've got a typical slugger whose career declines rapidly in his early to mid 30s.
That $10 million is going to be an important figure in a while. Just wait and see.