Yankees Sign Ryan Howard, Effective in 2012

Kevin LagowskiCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2009

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced today that the club has agreed to a 5-year, $125 million contract with slugging first baseman Ryan Howard.  Howard will report to the Yankees in three years.

Having already gone on a spending spree of nearly half a billion dollars this offseason, the Yankees dipped into their endless coffers once more to come to terms with the current Phillie.

Howard will finish out his tenure in Philadelphia on a series of one-year contracts because of the team’s unwillingness to offer anything long-term.

As Cashman explains it, “Here’s a guy who brings huge power to our lineup and will be a perfect DH for us.  We will be very pleased to have him in pinstripes three years from now when the Phillies can no longer afford him.”

After making $10 million in 2008 and asking for $18 million in arbitration this season, Howard’s salary figures to jump even higher in coming seasons, making it a good move for the Yankees to lock him in now at the rate of $25 million per year.

Senior Vice President Hank Steinbrenner had high praise for Howard.  “Ryan Howard has been a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, and now a World Series champion.  And he may even help Philadelphia to another championship or two before he becomes Yankees' property”.

“He’s a real winner.  And that makes him a true Yankee”.

Howard himself had mixed emotions, but was looking forward to a new opportunity.  “Philadelphia is where I broke into the league.  It will always be a special place to me, and it’s a little bittersweet knowing that I only have three more years left to play here.”

“But I know that I’ll love it in New York.  Great fans.  Great history.  I’ll be proud to be a Yankee when 2012 comes.”

Asked why he chose the Yankees’ offer over a nearly identical one from the Red Sox, Howard explained, “I’m not getting any younger.  And in three years I’ll certainly be older.  I just don’t think the Red Sox will be close to winning three years from now.  I have to focus on the future, not the present”.

The Yankees may continue to stock up even more in the coming weeks, as they reportedly still have offers on the table for a dozen other players still under contract with other teams.