Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Howard deal makes sense

Why? It's the attitude.

Why Howard deal makes sense

Ryan Howard agreed to a 5-year extension with the Phillies with $125 million guaranteed. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Ryan Howard agreed to a 5-year extension with the Phillies with $125 million guaranteed. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

You buy tickets. The Phillies' owners take a cut and then pass the rest of it on to the players. It is a simple concept, when you think about it. Ownership has once again demonstrated its determination to prolong this incredibly sweet spot in time. And now it means that Ryan Howard is going to be here until 2016.

The debate will begin in baseball circles if it hasn't begun already: does it make sense to commit at least $125 million to Howard in the years 2012-16? Does it make sense to commit that kind of coin to a 30-year-old power hitter, who will be 36 when the guaranteed part of the deal is over? Does it make sense for a big man who hits collossal home runs but who also strikes out a lot?

The quick answer is: yes.

But the reason might not be the one in your head. I cannot predict the future. Howard can't. The Phillies can't. This is all a guess. Skills erode sometimes. Injuries happen sometimes. Happenstance happens sometimes. To pretend to know the future is to tell a lie.

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So you go on what you see now -- and what you see now is a fearsome slugger. But you have to look deeper than that.

What I see now is a guy who is physically in better shape than he was 3 years ago. That is about work ethic, and trying to get better.

What I see now is a guy who is three times the defensive player he was when he first arrived in the big leagues. That is about high-level instruction on the Phillies' part and it is about a willingness on Howard's part to identify a deficiency and deal with it professionally.

Howard has already made a ton a cash. His response to every bump in salary has been to work at his game even more.

Again, there are no guarantees. But in baseball's big casino, this one really does make sense.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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