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Ryan Howard, Phillies sign a five year, $125 million contract extension

Apr 26, 2010, 2:28 PM EDT

Howard skinny.JPGUPDATEDone deal. 5 years, $125 million. It kicks in starting in 2012.  This seems like a really bad, really unnecessary move for the Phillies. More later on this, of course.

2:20 P.M.: Part of what we do here is pass along rumors. When it’s one that I’m really dubious about, I make extra sure to put the little “Rumor:” disclaimer in the headline just so you don’t think I’m trafficking in complete and utter nonsense with the intent to mislead. I try to keep my trafficking in complete and utter nonsense is totally above-board.

With that disclaimer out of the way, Jim Salisbury of CSN-Philly is reporting that the Phillies are poised to sign Ryan Howard to a five-year extension.

This makes little sense to me as Howard is signed through 2011, when he’s going to make $20 million. Howard has admirably transformed himself from a big ol’ slugger to a smaller, more athletic slugger who is no longer a horror show at first base, but he’s still a big guy on the wrong side of 30 who could very easily fall off a cliff before he’s 35 as so many sluggers who fit his profile do. It would be puzzling at best for the Phillies to make a five year commitment to that type of player, especially when they have more pressing contractual issues such as Jayson Werth.

I don’t have enough experience going through Jim Salisbury’s rumor history to know if it’s reliable or not. I’ll note that he was out front of the Roy Halladay-to-Philly rumors last fall, and he was the first to report that the Phillies were talking to Shane Victorino about a contract extension. Still, this one seems far-fetched to me.

  1. Jonny5 - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Hmmm? it’s strange news indeed. But, imagine the trade value for having him locked up that long? Or maybe it’s getting all your numbers locked up preparing to get Werth signed to a 5 year deal as well??? Werth just clicks in Philly ,don’t see him wanting to go, and i know the team wants him to stay. Hey Craig, have you ever been able to catch the Charlie Manuel show yet?

  2. APBA Guy - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    I can’t help comparing this to the Carlos Lee deal Houston signed. It seems like 3 years too many.

  3. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    You know more about the Phillies than I, but wasn’t one of the reasons they didn’t keep Cliff Lee was due to budgetary concerns? Seems odd to make this announcement AND have to worry about Werth but not keep Lee, doesn’t it?

  4. JBerardi - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Philly fans, take a good long look at David Ortiz, and behold the horror that is to come.

  5. Holla(r) - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Jonny5, if the guy goes into decline (Like most players his age do), then having him locked up isn’t all that valuable. Especially if the decline phase is swift.

  6. ecp - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Trade value? Huh? How many teams out there have the wherewithal to afford this contract were he to be traded? And those that do (that I can think of) don’t make sense, at least not right now.

  7. BC - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    It’s definitely 3 years too many. Howard will likely decline by then. Now you’ve put yourself in a position where you can’t trade him to the AL. The rest of the Phillies core (Rollins, Utley, Ibanez, Werth) will all be at least 37 years old. They won’t all hold up.
    Jamie Moyer will only be 53 in 2015, so at least you have that.

  8. Mike - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    That is assuming he declines. Unlike Lee, and Ortiz, Howard has focussed on keeping his body in shape, and not becoming overweight. We are talking about a 5 year deal for a 30 year old. Not a 5 year deal for a 33 or 35 year old. This deal makes great sense. It means they definitely will have Halladay and Howard for the next 4 years, which means the team will be in the race for the top spot in the East for the next four years. The only teams that this is bad for are the Braves, Mets, Marlins and Nats, which being a Braves fan is why Craig doesnt like it.

  9. catmax99 - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    David Ortiz was completely a product of steroids. He was almost cut by the Twins and then all of a sudden became this amazing slugger for the Red Sox. Now that he is off steroids or whatever he was taking- he can’t hit again.
    I’m not saying Howard won’t slow down- he will. But I don’t think it will be as dramatic as Ortiz’s drop off.

  10. Jonny5 - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I’ve been hanging out with Yankee fans my entire life, please accept my apologies. You’re right, most teams don’t have the loot to pick the guy up.
    COPO, maybe this was part of the budget concerns, knowing they would lock up Howard for this huge salary?

  11. 60eagles - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    This is why the Quakers have won two straight NL titles.

  12. Philly Frank - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    This is a great deal. Ryan keeps getting better & better every year in addition to being clutch when it counts, check his August and September numbers. Craig, how did you like his glove work when the Phils were in Atlanta?

  13. 11coreya - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    trade value? I dont know if i would want a guy who is solely power and is tops in strikeouts with no average locked up for $25 million until he is 39

  14. Bob - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    I have to disagree with the comments that Ortiz is a product of steroids. Granted, they may make you hit it further. Papi’s problem is not being able to hit the ball at all.

  15. Curious George - Apr 26, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    We are talking about a 5 year deal for a 30 year old.

    Howard was already signed for 2010 and 2011. He will be 32 at the start of his contract in 2012, not 30. The contract will run from age 32 to age 36. Those are the 5 years that the Phillies felt they had to lock up now.

  16. Curious George - Apr 26, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    imagine the trade value for having him locked up that long?

    You mean like the current trade value of Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano and Barry Zito?

    captcha: definite south (what random insight!)

  17. Captain Jack - Apr 26, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    THe smart move would have been to trade Howard at the end of this season (after the Phillies win the WS) and spend Howard’s money on resigning Jason Werth. Then move Utley to first base. In exchange for Howard, the Phillies should have looked to acquire an All-Star level lsecond baseman and a #4 or #5 starter to replace Moyer. They have Domonic Brown waiting in the minors to replace Ibanez for 2011. They would have gotten younger, faster and cheaper. I like Howard, but it would have helped them more to trade him nad make the above mentioned moves.

  18. MK - Apr 26, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    That’s because Ortiz’s body, thanks to PED use and age, has betrayed him.
    His batspeed has declined so significantly that he’s cheating – by that I mean starting his swing early – to be able to catch up to scorching 90 mph fastballs, and when he guesses wrong he whiffs.

  19. Curious George - Apr 26, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Then move Utley to first base. In exchange for Howard, the Phillies should have looked to acquire an All-Star level lsecond baseman

    Why on earth move Utley to first base??? He is an all-star level second baseman.

  20. The Common Man - Apr 26, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Coming in late to disagree with the portrayal of Papi as a product of steroids. Having watched him his entire career (I’m a Twins fan), Papi has always been this size since making the majors. I watched him break his wrist against the Royals, then hit a homerun on it. He was cut after 2001 because the Twins did not value his power and chose to play Doug Mientkiewicz instead.

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