From Jim Salisbury, Inquirer staff writer:
The Phillies today agreed on a three-year, $54 million contract with slugger Ryan Howard, a source close to the situation told The Inquirer.
Howard, who led the majors in homers and RBIs the last three seasons, had been scheduled to have a salary arbitration hearing late this week. The hearing will no longer be needed.
“I’m happy to have this done and to know that I’ll be in Philadelphia for at least another three years,” said Howard in a statement. “Both sides are happy and now I’m just focused on getting the season started and having fun.”
Howard had sought $18 million in arbitration, while the Phils offered $14 million. The average annual value of his new deal is $18 million.
“We’re very pleased to have avoided the arbitration process, not just for this year, but also for the next two,” said Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “Ryan is clearly one of the top power hitters and run producers in the major leagues and is a very important part of our championship club.”
Howard, 29, is eligible for free agency after the 2011 season.