Ryan Howard becomes baseball's second-highest paid first baseman and richest Phillie by agreeing on a deal that averages $18 million per season over three seasons.
Summary: The 29-year-old will
earn $15 million in 2009, $19 million in 2010 and $20 million in 2011,
according to the Philadelphia Daily News, taking him through his arbitration years. For more contract details, check out David Murphy's blog here. Howard and the Phils had been
$4 million apart in negotiations with Howard asking for $18 million and the Phillies countering with $14 million.
With Howard locked in, first-year GM Ruben Amaro Jr. avoided
arbitration with all 11 of the eligible Phillies, considered an impossible task to satisfy everyone from the championship squad. Howard hit
.251/.339/.543 last season and led all major league players
with 48 home runs and 146 RBIs and set a
Phillies record in September for most RBIs in the month (32). With Howard signed, representing the final loose end, the Phillies' payroll tops $130 million, according to Murphy.
Beerleaguer: Our readers were all over the signing this afternoon and were obviously very pleased the deal got done. Here are the highlights:
"My bet is that Howard saw the handwriting on the wall and the current conditions in the marketplace. Some of the criteria that was posted in the Inquirer article did favor him but I bet he overextended himself this year in demanding $18M at the arbitration hearing. Howard (and his agent) probably realized that there was at least a 50/50 chance the Phils would win." - MG
to lock up $54 million now than to look for a long-term contract in the
middle of a depression. Here's what it was like last time (Link). Players’ salaries fell by 25 percent on average, yet nearly every
team, including the wealthy Yankees, lost money for at least a year or
two in the decade.Despite the immense popularity of baseball in the 1920s, the 16
teams that made up the major leagues then were not insulated from hard
times. Attendance plummeted 40 percent from 1930 to 1933 and did not
return to pre-Depression levels until after World War II, when millions
of soldiers returned. 'Economically, it was a very tough decade for baseball,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College.' " - Sam Fan
"I am very pleased that they locked him up through his arbitration years. If you're going to pay him for the period anyway, give yourself some cost certainty and make him feel appreciated." - sophist
"Amaro clearly knows what he's doing on the business side of running a team. It remains to be seen how he does in evaluating personnel. $15M, $19M, $20M tells us that Howard was clearly worried about losing his arbitration hearing (as well he should have been). It also tells us that he may have been worried about how the bear market for FAs, as well as his own declining numbers, could affect his future earning capacity. If the economy picks up, and Howard has a big year, there's a distinct possibility he could have made more than $19 and $20M at future arbitration hearings. Still, those are 2 big IFs and, in the final analysis, $54M is an enormous amount of money. In short, this deal is a win-win for both Howard and the Phillies." - bay_area_phan