Jon Heyman credits Ryan Howard for being “worth every penny” of a contract that hasn’t started

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Here’s a tidbit from Jon Heyman’s latest column at SI.com:

It’s early in Ryan Howard’s $125 million contract. But Howard, who has a league-leading 29 RBIs, is worth every penny so far.

Couple things.

One, it’s so “early in Ryan Howard’s $125 million contract” that the contact hasn’t even started yet. He signed a five-year, $125 million extension that starts in 2012. Kind of hard to be “worth every penny so far” when he hasn’t even been paid any of those pennies yet.

Beyond that, Howard “has a league-leading 29 RBIs” largely because he’s come to the plate with significantly more runners on base than anyone else in the league. Howard has had 111 runners on base for his 125 plate appearances. No other NL hitter has had more than 96. Howard is hitting .266 with an .851 OPS with runners on, which is hardly anything special.

He’s also hitting .276 with six homers and an .854 OPS overall, which ranks 11th among MLB first basemen and 42nd among all MLB hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify for the leaderboard. If that’s been “worth every penny” of a $125 million contract that won’t even begin until next season then an awful lot of hitters should be asking for raises.