Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard are back

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Rangers DH Prince Fielder hit two home runs in Friday night’s win against the Yankees and he homered again in a blowout win on Saturday. The slugger, who missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing neck surgery, now has eight home runs on the year with 30 RBI and a .351/.407/.544 triple-slash line.

Meanwhile, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard homered again in a rout of the Nationals on Saturday, giving him three in his last four games and 10 on the season along with 23 RBI and a .270/.316/.554 triple-slash line. Howard suffered a torn Achilles at the end of the 2011 NLDS and tore his meniscus in 2013. He hasn’t shown power at this level since 2009, when he hit 45 home runs.

Fielder and Howard represent two of baseball’s worst contracts, so their respective teams are happy they’re seeing at least some positive return on their investments. Fielder was signed as a free agent to a nine-year, $214 million deal by the Tigers in January 2012. He joined the Rangers along with $30 million in a swap for Ian Kinsler. $144 million over six years remains, including his 2015 salary. Howard signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension with the Phillies in April 2010, two years before he was eligible for free agency. $60 million over two years ($25 million annually in ’15 and ’16 plus a $10 million buyout for ’17) remains on Howard’s deal.

Scott Boras to pay salaries of released minor league clients

Scott Boras
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Across the league, scores of minor leaguers have been released in recent days. Already overworked and underpaid, these players are now left without any kind of reliable income during a pandemic, and during a time of civil unrest.

Jon Heyman reports that agent Scott Boras will pay the salaries of his minor league clients who were among those released. It’s a great and much-needed gesture. Boras described the releases as “completely unanticipated.”

Boras, of course, is perhaps the most successful sports agent of all time, so he and his company can afford to do this. That being said, it should be incumbent on the players’ teams — not their agents or their teammates — to take care of them in a time of crisis. Boras is, effectively, subsidizing the billionaire owners’ thriftiness.