The highly anticipated Ryan Howard arbitration meeting won't be happening anytime soon. Actually, it won't be happening at all.
Finally, after a long wait, the Ryan Howard crisis has been solved. Howard signed a three-year $54 million contract today.
This was a great move for the Phillies for a few reasons.
1. It keeps Howard happy and focused on baseball.
2. It buys out his three remaining arbitration years.
The only negative for the Phillies is the fact the price. Howard will make around $18 million each year. It is unclear of how much he will make each season.
"I'm happy to have this done and to know that I'll be in Philadelphia for at least another three years," Howard said in a statement. "Both sides are happy and now I'm just focused on getting the season started and having fun."
Last year, Howard won a $10 million dollars at the arbitration table, the most ever by a first-year eligible player.
This year, the Phillies offered him $14 million, but Howard wanted $18 million. It looks as though Howard won, and they didn't even have to go to the table.
"We're very pleased to have avoided the arbitration process, not just for this year, but also for the next two," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Ryan is clearly one of the top power hitters and run producers in the Major Leagues and is a very important part of our championship club."
Amaro's statement is completely true.
Howard won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2005, and in 2006 he was MVP.
Last year he finished second in MVP voting. He has hit a major league-leading 153 home runs and 431 RBIs over the past three seasons.
It looks as though the Phillies have kept another member of their World Series team. They are still looking for another right-handed bat. They have talked to everyone available, the leading candidate being Nomar Garciaparra.
The Phillies will begin spring training with a very strong team. Though the Mets have made some big accusations, the Phillies are still the favorites to win the division. (That's factual information that has been confirmed by many sources).
Until then, we wait in anticipation.