Ryan Howard signed a 3 year, $54 million dollar deal over the weekend. The deal makes Howard the highest paid player in Philadelphia sports today. This contract also allows Howard and the Phils to avoid the dreaded arbitration hearings. Howard's deal averages $18 million a year for 3 years, which is what Howard was asking for in this years' arbitration hearing. This seems to be on the surface a terrific deal from the Phillies perspective. Also, only committing 3 years to Howard should also work to the Fightin's advantage, as Howard might be past his prime in 3 years. That way, when his contract has expired, we can allow the Yanks or Sox to overpay for him in 2012. This deal seems perfect for the Phils, and I am surprised that Howard took it as it was always reported that he was looking for a long, very high paying contract. Also, by signing a 3 year deal, this is not the last time that Ryan Howard is going to want a big pay day. If he continues to play great baseball, he will be rewarded with an even bigger contract in 2012. This will hopefully keep Howard motivated throughout the 3 years of his contract. I don't think Howard is the type of player who would start playing poorly even if he had a real long term deal, but it's good to know that he will continue to be motivated by his next big deal.