Phillies fans were taken by surprise this afternoon as it was announced that Ryan Howard will be with the Phillies through at least 2016 with a contract worth about $125 million dollars. Howard was already on-board through 2011 and here is how the remaining years will pay out: $20 million a year for 2012-2013; $25 million a year for 2014-2016 plus an option for 2017 worth $23 million and a $10 million dollar buyout.
There is a limited no-trade clause attached as well, plus award bonuses. Needless to say, Howard will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Not he isn’t worth the money; Howard leads all major league players in home runs with 222 and RBI’s with 650 since 2005. He also has a National League MVP award under his belt and was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 2005.
What is surprising about the deal is both the timing and Howard’s willingness to commit. It is the end of April and the Phillies are in the middle of a West Coast road trip; so, the timing is weird. Plus, it was almost assumed by most experts that Howard would want to test free-agency, in search of a bigger paycheck. And while the paycheck here is plenty large, it is still nice to see that Howard wants to stay in Philly.
The only possible drawback I see is this: Remember all these years past when the Phillies used Pat Burrell’s large salary and long contract as the excuse for not resigning key players or not going out and getting players to improve the team? Oh yeah, that. While GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is set on winning, let us all hope that the financial commitment does not translate into a boat-load of excuses later.
Imagine when Chase Utley’s contract comes up for renewal in 2013, as an example. Is Howard worth losing Utley, the best overall player and most dedicated member of the team (in my humble opinion, of course)? Nope. But, I promise not to panic until it comes to that ;o)
In the meantime, congratulations to Ryan! Now go hit some more homers….please and thank you :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography