SBD/Issue 156/Franchises

Phillies Entering Rarefied Air After Signing Howard To Extension

Phillies Have Signed Ryan Howard
To A Five-Year, $125M Extension

The Phillies signed 1B Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125M extension that will keep him with the team through at least ‘16, the latest in a series of transactions that has put the team “into that mega-powers group with the Red Sox and the Yankees,” according to MLB Network’s Tom Verducci. The team now has P Roy Halladay and 2B Chase Utley signed through the ’13 season, and there are “not many franchises that can continue to pay guys, keep them off the market.” The Phillies are a “tremendous success story (in) what they have done in that market.” Verducci: “They have the best TV ratings in the National League. Their attendance has gone through the roof. Their revenues have been rising every single season. It's an amazing success story, and I think it's something a lot of other franchises can follow." MLB Network’s Peter Gammons: “They love having that ballpark filled every night. They love the money that they're making" (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 4/26). In Philadelphia, Sam Donnellon writes fans should "stand up and cheer" the Phillies’ ownership and front office, including President & CEO Dave Montgomery. They "did the right thing" by extending Howard's contract. The deal is "one of the richest in baseball history, but may end up being a bit of a bargain once potential 2011 free agents Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez sign new deals" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/27). ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said, “Ryan Howard was not going to give them a discount. If they wanted to keep the guy, this was the price” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 4/27). Meanwhile, SportsNet N.Y.'s Chris Carlin asked, "What do you think Albert Pujols is going to get, the real premier slugger in baseball, if Ryan Howard gets that kind of money?" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 4/26).

SPREAD TOO THIN? In Philadelphia, Bob Brookover reports the Phillies “have already committed more than $130[M] to 17 players for next season,” and RF Jayson Werth's free agency after this season is the “first case on the docket” as to how high the team’s payroll will go. If Werth signs a long-term deal, the club’s payroll “will likely soar above” $150M. Montgomery said, “We want to keep this group together as long as possible. Is it possible to keep everyone? Probably not. But we don’t want to rule anybody out at this point because they’re part of our club” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/27). ESPN's John Kruk said the deal is a "windfall" for Howard, but it could have an effect on other Phillies players as they near the end of their current deals. Kruk: "You get him, but you could lose others" (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 4/26). In Philadelphia, John Gonzalez writes the Phillies "have admitted the payroll isn't unlimited and that they can't keep the entire team," but "that's the way it goes." Gonzalez: "You can't have everyone -- but you can have Howard" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/27).

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