Ryan Howard stays with Phillies after agreeing to five-year, $125 million extension

Rather than test free agency in two years, Ryan Howard will remain the heart of the Phillies' lineup.
Rather than test free agency in two years, Ryan Howard will remain the heart of the Phillies' lineup. (Dave Einsel/associated Press)
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ryan Howard preferred securing his future in Philadelphia to testing free agency in two years.

Howard agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract extension through 2016 with the Phillies on Monday that includes a club option for 2017.

The 30-year-old slugging first baseman will make $20 million each in 2012 and 2013 and $25 million annually from 2014 to 2016. The Phillies have a $23 million club option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout.

"Hopefully there's no riots taking place back in Philly," he joked of his new megadeal.

The $25 million guaranteed average salary in the extension will be baseball's second highest behind Alex Rodriguez's $27.5 million average under a 10-year contract with the Yankees running through 2017.

"That wasn't a very hard decision," Howard said. "I feel what I've been doing over the last couple of years, I feel pretty confident that down the road, I'll be right where I want to be and still doing the same things."

Howard, the 2005 NL rookie of the year and '06 league MVP, is earning $19 million this season as part of a three-year, $54 million deal that pays him $20 million in 2011, the final season before he would've been eligible for free agency.

He signed that deal in February 2009, avoiding a potentially contentious arbitration hearing.

The two-time all-star led the Phillies to two straight trips to the World Series, winning a championship in 2008.

Howard hit .279 with 45 homers and 141 RBI last season and has three homers and 16 RBI in 80 at-bats through the weekend.

-- RED SOX: Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a 69-pitch simulated game before Boston's game in Toronto, the injured right-hander's final hurdle before returning to the starting rotation.

Manager Terry Francona said, "The ball came out of his hand pretty nice." Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 4 with a strained neck.

-- METS: Prospects Angel Calero and Socrates Brito were each suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug under the minor league program.

-- From news services

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