Sunday, February 8, 2009

Phillies sign Ryan Howard to 3 year deal

Your 2009 Phillies are now ready to defend their championship.

After a flurry of players avoided arbitration in the last few weeks, the Phillies had just one player left to sign: Ryan Howard. The Phils were set to go to arbitration with their big slugger and it figured to be a dicey situation since the two sides were 4 million apart in their thinking.

All of that goes out the window now as the Phillies have signed Howard to a 3 year, 54 million dollar contract. The contract averages out to 18 million a year, the exact number that Howard wanted in arbitration. The three year contract buys out Howard's remaining years of arbitration, making him a free agent in 2011.

Some may look at this as the Phillies caving into the demands of their big slugger because he got the exact amount he wanted but they also will be saving money because you have to figure that Howard would have asked for more and more every year. You have to give Howard some credit for settling for a shorter contract than he probably would have liked as speculation had been circulating that he wanted something like 5 to 6 years and upwards of 100 million.

18 million a year is a lot for any player but I think a perennial MVP candidate like Howard deserves it. The Phillies also made a smart move in not giving him too long of a deal. The big man figures to be at his peak for the next 3 years and then he will look to cash in as a free agent in 2011. At that point the Phillies will probably let him go rather than shell out big bucks for someone on the tail end of their career.

The Phillies 2009 roster is now set. It looks a lot like their World Series team with the exception of Raul Ibanez swapped in for Pat Burrell. With everyone happy and under contract, you have to like their chances at repeating.

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