Last night was a frustrating night for Phillies fans, as the Phils blew a 3-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and ultimately lost 8-6. The Phillies might just make you forget last night's loss with their big move today. The Phillies have extended first baseman Ryan Howard's contract 5 years with an option for a sixth year. Starting in 2012, the extension will pay Howard $125 over five years with a 1-year $23 million option.
This deal will make Howard the second highest paid player in the game, only behind Alex Rodriguez. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Phillies made this deal. This will ensure that Howard will spend all of his prime with the Philadelphia Phillies. I, along with most people, assumed that Howard would sign for top dollar after next season. As it turns out, Howard is going to get top dollar with the Phillies.
This may be the first move that makes Phillies resemble a big market team. Truth is, they should be able to lock up their players long term because they are in a pretty big market. Not only that, the Phils play in front of a packed house almost (if not every) home game. I'm happy that Howard will continue to mold his legacy in Philly and not in New York, Boston, or LA.
One sad conclusion one may draw from this is that Jayson Werth may be playing his last season in red pinstripes. Werth is a great player and a fan favorite for his gritty play, clutch hitting, and outstanding defense. With all the money that is now locked up in Howard (and the rest of the team), it will be almost impossible for the Phillies to afford Werth.
Overall, this is a great move for the Phillies. They have locked up their cleanup hitter for most of his career. Most fans were not expecting for the Phils to resign Werth anyway. But who knows, if Reuben Amaro can get Roy Halladay in Philly, maybe he can keep Werth in Philies red.