The Phillies and Ryan Howard have both avoided the need to go and meet the three-men arbitration panel, as Howard have just hours ago signed a three-year contract with the Phillies for $54 million. The former NL Rookie of the Year for 2005 and the NL Most Valuable Player for 2006 have had the last three of his arbitration years bought out by the Phillies. This means that Howard will now be wearing Phillies red pinstripes until the end of the 2011 season, when he will become eligible to become a free agent.
Howard will become the highest paid Phil as he will be paid $15 million for this season, $19 million for 2010 and $20 million for 2011, as well as receive $1 million from the Phils if they trade him to another team before the end of his present contract.
With Howard’s signing, the main core of the Phillies will be playing in Philadelphia for the next several years, as they prepare to defend their 2008 World Series Championship. This mean that the Phils now just need to: 1) find a right handed bat to come off the bench, 2) a left handed reliever to take J.C. Romero’s place during his 50 games suspension, 3) find out who will be the fifth member of their starting rotation and who will be heading for the bullpen and 4) who will be the catcher behind Carlos Ruiz.
Nice job, Ruben. Now let see if you can get the right handed bench bat and the left handed reliever that the team needs before the pitchers and catchers arrive for spring training this upcoming Thursday. GO PHILS!!!!