UPDATE: 1:52 p.m.
Here's the breakdown on the Howard deal: $15 million in 2009, $19 million in 2010 and $20 million in his walk year of 2011.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the contract is a clause that would require the Phillies to pay Howard $1 million if he is traded before Nov. 1, 2010.
Howard's future, of course, has been the subject for much speculation over the past year because of the two sides' inaiblity to come to terms on a long-term deal.
Howard's base salary would increase by $1 million in 2010 and 2011 if he was named MVP in the preceding season. In 2011, an MVP would bring him a $1 million bonus. Bonuses are also included for World Series MVP ($100,000), LCS MVP ($50,000), Gold Glove ($50,000), $100,000 for Silver Slugger, and $50,000 for an All-Star selection.
I don't know who is happier today: Ryan Howard, who agreed to a three-year, $54 million contract, or myself, who doesn't have to spend the next week, plus two more offseasons, asking him about his arbitration situation.
The nuts and bolts: Howard will earn an average of $18 million per season over the next three years, making him the highest-paid Phillie and the second-highest paid first baseman in all of baseball, behind only the Yankees Mark Texeira. Howard's contract is tied for the 10th largest in baseball in terms of average annual value.
Here is the complete list:
1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, $27.5 million
2. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees, $23 million
3. Johan Santana, Mets, $22.9 million
4. Mark Teixeira, Yankees, $22.5 million
5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, $19.037 million
6. Derek Jeter, Yankees, $18.9 million
7. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs, $18.3 million
8. Andruw Jones, Dodgers, $18.1 million
9. Torri Hunter, Angels, $18 million
T-10. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays, $18 million
T-10. Barry Zito, Giants, $18 million
T-10. Ryan Howard, Phillies, $18 million
Sources: Associated Press salary database; Cot's Baseball Contracts
The contract makes a lot of sense on both sides. The Phillies were facing a situation where, if they had lost this arbitration hearing, Howard could have been making upwards of $25 to $30 million in his walk year through the arbitration process. Seems to me like a pretty smart move for Casey Close to make such a large request, because at the very least it gave him more leverage when it came to hammering out a deal.
Howard, meanwhile, sets himself and his family up for life, while leaving the door open for an even bigger pay-day should he maintain the level of health and production he has displayed over the past three-plus seasons.
The Phillies Opening Day payroll will now break the $130 million mark.
Ryan Howard will not be available to the media until later this week. He is in Florida, but is not at Bright House Networks Field Today. Ruben Amaro Jr. is scheduled to meet the media this afternoon at 2:30 p.m.