Rich Schultz/Getty Images
There are too many passable first basemen in MLB to make Howard worth $25 million in 2013.
Until the 2012 season, following a freak Achilles tendon injury on the last play of the 2011 National League Division Series, Howard had played no fewer than 143 games since becoming the Phillies' full-time starter at first base in 2006.
But his numbers have steadily declined in recent seasons:
2009: 45 HR, 141 RBI, .279 BA, .931 OPS
2010: 31 HR, 108 RBI, .276 BA, .859 OPS
2011: 33 HR, 116 RBI, .253 BA, .835 OPS
2012: 14 HR, 56 RBI, .219 BA, .718 OPS
Even if you toss the 2012 season out as lost to injury (Howard only played 71 games), you are stuck with the fact that the numbers he posted in 2010 and 2011 were good, but not great.
Howard is set to earn $25 million in 2013. Adam LaRoche just signed a two-year contract with the Washington Nationals for $24 million.
Here was LaRoche's statistical output last season:
2012: 33 HR, 100 RBI, .271 BA, .853 OPS
Paul Konerko will make $13.5 million for the Chicago White Sox this season. His 2012 statistics:
2012: 26 HR, 75 RBI, ..298 BA, .857 OPS
And these examples ignore the emergence of younger players (like Freddie Freeman or Mark Trumbo) who have yet to cash in as free agents.
The ugly truth for the Phillies is for $25 million they could replicate Howard's production at first base and have enough money left over for another premium player.