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Ryan Howard Injury: Slugger's $125 Million Extension a Mistake

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 07:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies is tended to after he was hurt on the last play of the game as the Phillies lost 1-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Austin GreenCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2011

Ryan Howard's unfortunate Achilles injury, combined with his postseason ineffectiveness, has proven that the Phillies made a mistake by awarding him a $125 million extension in April 2010.

In the Phillies' final at-bat of the season, Howard made solid contact with the ball before crumpling as if he got shot on his way out of the batter's box. It was later revealed that he suffered a torn Achilles, although the severity won't be known until an MRI is conducted.

Judging by Howard's postgame comments, it doesn't sound good at all.

"I was trying to run, and I felt a pop," Howard said. "It felt like the whole thing was on fire. It felt like I was on a flat tire. I tried to get up, but couldn't go."

Obviously hindsight is 20-20, but Howard's injury is just the latest piece of evidence in the ever-mounting case that his massive contract extension was a mistake.

The 31-year-old first basemen's production has been steadily declining the last two seasons.

Howard averaged 49.5 home runs from 2006-2009, but hit just 31 and 33 in the two years since his massive payday.

He's also had dramatic drop-offs in batting average, RBI, slugging percentage and on-base percentage since '09.

Howard was somewhat terrible in his five playoff games this season. After hitting a three-run homer in Game 1 of the NLDS, Howard had just one more hit in the series, finishing 2-for-19 with six strikeouts against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Achilles injury aside, these are not good numbers for a man that will be making $25 million per season through 2016. Philadelphia has little to no financial flexibility over the next half-decade, with a ton of money tied up in a poor defender whose offensive production is on the decline.

Now add in the possibility that Howard may miss the entire 2012 season and it's undeniable that Howard's huge extension was a mistake on the part of the Phillies.

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