The Phillies made a totally surprising announcement that they have extended Ryan Howard’s contract for 5 years at a stunning $125 Million dollars late in the afternoon on Monday in San Francisco. The Phillies face the San Francisco Giants at 7:05 Pacific time tonight and have Roy Halladay on the mound for them tonight.
The contract ensures that Howard will be in Phillies pinstripes for most of his career, and gives him a financially secure future with this extension. Ryan Howard is a homegrown Phillies talent, and he only knows the Phillies organization which has been said is one of the best in baseball. The decision to sign for him was probably a simple one. Ryan may follow Schmidt in playing for this city for his whole career and is that such a bad thing?
Reaction to the news has been surprise to most. A lot of baseball media pundits are questioning the amount of the contract and the number of years but one thing is for sure and that is that it is done and the Phillies and Ryan Howard can now both go about their business not having to worry about contract issues with him for some time.
The most surprising aspect of this signing has to be the timing of it. It’s almost like the Phillies dangled the bait out there and Howard bit at it, hook, line and sinker. The Phillies had said when they traded Cliff Lee that they were at salary max, so this splash of cash has a lot of people wondering where it all suddenly came from for 5 plus years into the future.
I have to give the Phillies credit on this, they are still looking forward to the future when they could have had some sort of fire sale and sold off a lot of their star players after the back to back appearance in the World Series in 2008 and 2009.
Ruben Amaro is not letting grass grow under his feet, he is making more and more bold decisions. Ryan Howard was in the Phillies organization long before Amaro was named GM, but it is now up to him to decide if Ryan stays or goes and with this move it insured that Ryan remains a Phillies for some years to come.
Where does this leave the rest of the team? Time will tell as several players including Werth, and others have their contracts up for negotiations. To me it will depend on how well the Phillies continue to do. If they can sustain this run of playoff and pennant wins, they will be controlling more of the movers and shakers of baseball. If they come up short and fans lose interest in supporting the team, it could go the other way really quick. This is still a business and the Phillies are able to support a better product to offer to the fans.
Recession?, I don't think the Phillies have even thought of the word as the continue to spend a lot of money on the team.