And then there was none: The Phils and Ryan Howard avoid arbitration as Howard signs a three-year contract worth $54 million.

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!!!!

10 Comments

Congrats on signing Howard! It seems like all the Phillies pieces are falling into place.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

SOOOO happy this drama is over! Whew!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Julia – Thanks. Yes, it does seem that everything is coming into place. Maybe Junior is channeling is inner Gillick and not his inner Wade. :)

Jenn – Oh, yes, it is. Now the team can concentrate on other needs.

Hopefully now Howard can concentrate this spring on avoiding his typically slow start, knowing he’s set for the next three years. Go Phillies!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Contrary to popular belief, we do not need a right handed bat off the bench, we have one in Chris Coste. by using Paulino as the #2 catcher you have freed up Coste for PH duty. he plays 1B and 3B as well as catcher and has been a very good PH during his time with the phils. The problem has always been that you try not to use your back-up C as PH in case Ruiz gets hurt.

RRRT – I also hope that Howard will now concentrate on his hitting and fielding, but it will depend on more than just him avoiding having a bad start. The big guy also needs to avoid swinging at the junk. As long as he is unable to hit those nasty pitches, the pitchers are going to keep throwing them.

Fan in Jerusalem – Well, a right handed bat off of the bench needs to complement Greg Dobbs, the left handed bat off the bench, who seems to be able to get a hit everytime he comes off the bench. Is Coste the one who can give the Phils that same kind of bat from the right? If he is, then he should be able to stay with the team after spring training. If he is not, then the Phils are certainly going to be needing someone from the right side coming off the bench.
Guess we’ll see how things will develop during spring training.

He does deserve a good contract but it might be tougher on him this season if he has another drought like he did last year. The pressure may be a little more and hopefully it doesn’t affect his bouncing back. He’s definitely a slugger.
tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

Well, if he can concentrate on avoiding the junk, and figure out a way to break out swinging on opening day, he should be okay. On pressure, it’ll only affect him if he lets it.

I think it was a good move and keeps everyoen happy. No more arbitration with him which is the best thing that came out of this.

~King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

I think so to. Now for the team to concentrate on the little things still left, and Howard to concentrate on getting out of the box smoking.

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