February 13, 2008

The Cheap Team That Doesn't Sign People; the Non-Cheap Team That Does

What an inane column from Sam Donnellon the other day, right down to the stupid headline "Maybe Howard Should Play For the Flyers."

The premise of the piece which, to be fair, fits in pretty closely with Philly fan conventional wisdom: The Phillies are being cheap by only offering Ryan Howard $7 million in arbitration, and by not signing him to a long-term deal. Contrast that with the Flyers, who are clearly not cheap, since they're thinking about bringing back Peter Forsberg.

Nevermind that Howard is a young star in his prime, while Forsberg is on his last legs. Or that the Phillies won their division last year while the Flyers finished last. Or that hockey has a salary cap and baseball doesn't...

The biggest flaw in Donnellon's argument is that... the Flyers haven't actually signed Forsberg. In fact, they might not at all. Meanwhile, the Phillies have Howard in the fold for next year. And for the three years after that, too. So the argument boils down to... by not being cheap, the Flyers MAY, possibly, get a onetime superstar for part of a season. By BEING cheap the Phillies WILL, for sure, get a current superstar, for this season and three more seasons after this one. If those are the definitions, being cheap has merits.

The Philly public's complete ignorance in regards to this Howard situation continues to confound me like little else; more thoughts on this here. Want to see how a cheap team works? Look at my Twins, who have about half the Phils' payroll going into '08. If Carl Pohlad owned the Phils, they would be looking at their nucleus- Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamels- and deciding which two they can keep and which two they need to trade. Instead, all four are signed for years to come. That's not being cheap; that's being smart.

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 13, 2008 01:16 AM
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