The other day I asked about who’s contract you’d rather have between two guys with 6 year deals – Jayson Werth and Alex Rodriguez. But after his injury at the NLDS, everyone on twitter has pointed out that Ryan Howard’s extension starts now. He technically only has 5 years left, but the 6th year is a $10M buyout. So we’ll throw him in the mix, who would you like to have starting today, for 2012-2017?

Jayson Werth: $112M left, $18.6M per year – Werth hit an underwhelming .232/.330/.389 this season, although from July 19 on (38% of his PAs) he hit .264/.349/.445. While that still wasn’t great, it suggests he recovered from whatever ailed him, mentally or physically, in the first half. That may be about in tune with what he’ll do in a normal season. He gets on base, has some pop, but isn’t a top tier hitter. He has a general reputation for being a good fielder, has some speed on the bases, and is only 31. When the contract ends, he’ll be 37.

Alex Rodriguez: $143M – $173M left, $23.8M – $28.8M per year (maximum reached upon breaking all time HR record) – ARod was hurt for a good part of this season, but he still managed to hit .276/.362/.461 for the year. That’s slightly better than Werth’s “good” final 1/3 of the season, significantly better than Werth’s full season. However, his range is clearly fading, and he’s 35 years old. If things go well for him, he’ll break Ruth’s, Aaron’s and maybe even Bonds’ HR records. But after his admission of steroid use, it may not get the kind of positive attention he had hoped. When he’s 37 years old, he’ll outperform what Werth will do at 37, but what about when Werth is 37 and ARod’s 41? The Yankees have to worry about where to play him at that point, but let’s not worry about whether or not he’d be blocked by Teixeira or force a trade of Montero. More importantly, will he be able to play 3B at 41? And if not, will he hit like a 1B or DH?

Ryan Howard: $125M – $138M, $20.8M – $23M per year (minimum if they buyout 2017, maximum if they keep him) – Ryan Howard hit .253/.346/.488 this year and managed to hit 33 home runs. In 2010, he hit a little bit better, although he “only” hit 31 homers. The last 6 seasons he’s managed an astounding 262 homers, but the dip in power was noticeable over the last two seasons. It’s now down to one of the best in the league instead of head and shoulders above everyone else. He’s not a great defensive first baseman, and does clog the bases, but shows patience and power in his approach to the plate. He’s 31 right now, so like Werth, he’ll be 37 when this ends. His ruptured achilles may keep him out early next year, and could slow him down more, but it doesn’t seem to be the kind of injury that would have lingering affects on his hitting. Meanwhile, he’s been very healthy, averaging 153 games per year over his last 6. If the power fade is real, he could be useless quickly, but if not, he could still mash 30+ a year for the foreseeable future.

Take your pick (none of the above is not an answer)

By Charlie