How Much is an MVP Worth?

How Much is an MVP Worth?

The Phillies ended an exciting 24 hours with some difficult news to swallow.  After avoiding arbitration with a number of quality players, they were hit by Ryan Howard's daunting financial demands.  We would be lying to ourselves if we were totally surprised by the number, but now that it's in print, somehow it's still astounding.  Let's at least attempt give the figure some perspective.

$18 million would tie Howard with seven other players, including the likes of Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, for 13th all-time on the list of largest contracts based on annual value.  Say what you want about those players, but Howard in ways is not unlike either of them.  At that point in his career, Bonds was completely worthless in the field, and Sosa always had a penchant for striking out.

Among current fist basemen, $18 million would be second only to Mark Teixeira's outrageous deal with the Yankees.  If that number dips to the $14 the Phillies offer, Howard's salary ranks fifth behind Todd Helton, then Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman by less than $300 grand, though it's worth noting that all three of those players signed their contracts no later than 2005.

That's a lot of numbers, but what they establish is other one dimensional or flawed sluggers have broken the bank in the past, and other players at the same position with fewer MVP awards would potentially earn more money than Howard.  Teixeira's contract is irrelevant because the Yankees are crazy assholes, but are Helton and Berkman more valuable than RyHo?  All that said, Justin Morneau, another former MVP, would still fall in behind Howard at the $14 mil mark.

When the news first broke last night, like most people, I didn't think there is any way he could command that kind of salary, and for several reasons he still likely will not.  Does winning the World Series cancel out the recession?  Is Howard too flawed a player?  Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that no matter what the arbitrator decides, history proves someone is always more than happy to pay for the services he provides.

Somewhere down the line, that won't be the Phillies.

(Figures compiled by Cot's Baseball Contracts)

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

After an 0-for-5 day at the plate, Odubel Herrera isn't heading to the bench a day later.

He's leading off. 

Pete Mackanin chose to move the slumping centerfielder atop the lineup card for Friday's series opener against the Reds despite Herrera's striking out in all five plate appearances Thursday.

"I think he's a .290-plus hitter as a leadoff man and I'm not going to sit him," Mackanin said pregame. "He needs to battle his way out. You figure you're the leadoff hitter once a game. After that, it's wide open."

While he hasn't batted leadoff this season, Herrera spent the majority of his time in that spot last season. In 76 games there, he batted .285 with a .359 OBP and .417 slugging percentage. 

The leadoff hitter this season has been Cesar Hernandez, who has a day off with a groin pull he's dealt with the last 10 days. Herrera primarily has been the No. 3 hitter this season and his average is down to .226 with 49 strikeouts to just 11 walks. 

Mackanin hopes the leadoff role can help change Herrera's approach at the plate.

"He was drawing a lot of walks at leadoff, so whether he has that mindset or not, I'm not sure," the manager said. "I just want to get him as many at-bats as possible. We need to get him going. We need him and [Maikel] Franco to get going."

May specifically has been tough on Herrera. He has four hits in his last 36 at-bats and has seven strikeouts in his last two games. He has just seven hits in 22 games this month. 

"I think he's at the point where he's grinding and sometimes when you grind, sometimes there's that feeling where you get lost," Mackanin said. "I've been in situations as a hitter where I've gone up to the plate saying, 'I don't care where it is. I'm going up there and just hacking.' Because you start thinking and that's not working.

"And you look for a pitch and then all of a sudden you say I'm going to take a pitch to get a look at and it's strike one. Then he throws you a nasty slider and that's strike two and your plan is out the window. So I've gone up to the plate myself saying, 'I'm just looking down the middle and swinging. I'm not thinking.'"

When asked, Mackanin said the team had not discussed demoting Herrera or Franco to the minors to take pressure off the duo.

While Herrera tries to hit his way back into a groove, Howie Kendrick is in the midst of working his way back to the majors. He was hit by pitch twice in a rehab appearance Thursday but is back in the lineup Friday in left field. 

Mackanin said Kendrick needed four days minimum in his rehab assignment and will therefore play Friday and Saturday before the team sees how he feels.

The manager also said the team would give more playing time to backup catcher Andrew Knapp. He started consecutive games for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"I'm going to try and see him as much as possible and keep him as sharp as possible instead of once a week," Mackanin said. "That's tough to hit, once a week. It's tough to hit twice a week if you don't hit back-to-back. There's no ulterior motive."

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.