The Phillies extended Ryan Howard's contract today, giving him 5 more years on top of his existing contract, and $125 million. The deal lasts from the years 2012 through 2016, with a club option for 2017.
When the deal kicks in, it will make Howard the highest paid player in Phillies history, and the 2nd highest paid player in baseball if you average out the years. Howard will make $20 million each in 2012 and 2013. He will then make $25 million in 2014, 2015, and 2016. There is a club option on Howard in 2017 at $23 million, and if they buy him out at that time, it will be for $10 million.
This is definitely the right move to do, if the Phillies let Ryan Howard play in the 2011 season and he even played above average, teams would be throwing a lot of money at him. This secures a guy who will bat in the middle of the lineup for years to come. Howard is also a good guy, and good team player, and a guy who seems like he will work hard after getting a big pay day, wanting to win for the fans and the city.
The bigger question is now what the Phillies plan on doing with Jayson Werth or Raul Ibanez. Amaro gave a terrible contract to Ibanez, who is off to a slow start this year. Not surprising, since Ruben Amaro made the worst trade Philadelphia has seen in quite some time. Anyways, this is probably Werth's last season as a Phillie, unless they did sign him to a long term deal, they would need to go way over payroll next season since Ibanez will still be getting paid. If the Phillies could keep Werth, and eventually let Dominic Brown replace Ibanez, that would be optimal.
The Phillies also could use Werth or Ibanez as a trading chip to acquire a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Obviously the Phillies would rather unload Ibanez, but probably won't be able to get much for him, especially if he still keeps playing the way he is. The Phillies, unfortunately, due to not having God, I mean Cliff Lee on the team, are in need of starting pitching. Ever starter except for Halladay has gotten off to a bad start. You know its not a good thing when I am looking forward to Moyer's next start.