In his latest rumblings on ESPN.com, Jayson Stark discusses the impact of the Miguel Cabrera deal on Ryan Howard; in short, the Phillies probably won’t be able to match the Tigers.
Stark says the Cabrera situation is influencing the Howard situation â€” because Cabrera was the measuring stick for the Howard arbitration case â€” and while Cabrera and the Tigers were able to come to terms, Howard and the Phils haven’t talked yet about any money. Says Stark:
“Which means that eventually, the Phillies’ biggest decision almost certainly isn’t going to be what to pay Howard. It’s when to trade Howard.”
Stark then quotes a “longtime baseball man” who says the clock will be ticking for the Phils to move Howard.
Okay, I know and we all know this situation will only get worse with time, but we’re three games into the $10MM season. If by the All Star break Howard has knocked 28 HR and 60 RBI, we can start to panic and ponder Howard’s future. But at this very early point in 2008, we should note the slugger has to show he’s worthy of the $200MM or whatever he’ll command with a longterm deal. Maybe I’m optimistic, but I don’t necessarily think the Phils will let Howard walk away that easy. And all that aside, Howard isn’t the type of player Miguel Cabrera is â€” Howard is a strict home run hitter; Cabrera can do much more at the plate (as of right now). Whatever the case, it’s better for them to wait a bit longer so they know the investment they’re making will at least pay off in retrospect.