Phils lock up Howard

Columnist —

The Philadelphia Phillies have given arguably the franchise’s most elusive slugger ever a new mega deal.

Superstar first baseman Ryan Howard has agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract extension that kicks in beginning in 2012 through 2016 with a club option for 2017 worth $20 million, according to the Phillies.

Howard’s new deal begins in 2012 and goes through 2016. There’s a $23 million club option for 2017, or a $10 million buyout. Howard will make $20 million in 2012 and 2013 and $25 million in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Howard, 30, signed a three-year $54 million contract last season. Essentially, this new deal will most likely make him a Phillie for the rest of his career.

This deal all but negates any chance that the Phillies will be able to resign right-fielder Jayson Werth.

Ruben Amaro indicated that he had been talking extension with Howard’s agent Casey Close the last couple of months.

“We wanted to keep Ryan,” Amaro said. “He’s definitely committed. He’s been trying to improve his game since he got to the big leagues. We’re happy we have him.”

Since Howard became an everyday player in 2005, he leads the majors in home runs (222), and RBI (650). Howard also was the player fastest to hit 200 home runs, which he accomplished in 658 games. Historic numbers that signal he could very well be getting better.

Howard won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005 and NL Most Valuable Player Award in ’06. He made the NL All-Star team in 2006 and 2009, won a Silver Slugger in 2006 and earned NL Championship Series MVP honors last season.

Through 18 games this season, the Phillies first baseman is batting .275 with three homers and 16 RBIs.

With the new contract, Howard becomes only the second player in MLB history to avg. $25 million per season. With Alex Rodriquez being the only other.

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Filed under Breaking News, Chris DiFrancesco

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