04/26/10 11:26 PM ET
Howard signs five-year extension
Slugging Phillies first baseman guaranteed $125 million
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Top average salaries
|Rank||Player||Team||Length (Years covered)||Total||Average|
|1||Alex Rodriguez||Yankees||10 years (2008-17)||$275M||$27.5M|
|2||Ryan Howard||Phillies||5 years (2012-16)||$125M||$25M|
|3||Joe Mauer||Twins||8 years (2011-18)||$184M||$23M|
|4||CC Sabathia||Yankees||7 years (2009-15)||$161M||$23M|
|5||Mark Teixiera||Yankees||8 years (2009-16)||$180M||$22.5M|
The Phillies said they never considered such things."We decided that he is that good to our organization and to our future," Amaro said. Howard will be 36 when the contract ends in 2016. There are previous examples of large power-hitting first basemen whose performances dropped after 30. Mo Vaughn is the poster boy. His career plummeted after 32. David Ortiz's numbers have declined since he hit .332 with 35 homers and 117 RBIs as a 31-year-old in 2007. Mark McGwire never played in more than 97 games after 35. Players like Richie Sexson and Cecil Fielder also experienced declines in their early 30s. "I think we're blessed as an organization, especially at the Major League level, with guys who take a lot of pride in their craft," Amaro said. "Ryan is one of those guys. He clearly has dedicated himself to being a very complete player. He's worked on his defense. He's worked on his body. He has a special attribute with his power and run production that not many in the history of this game have been able to accomplish. But yet he continues to work to be a better player." "It's just a matter of going out there and doing what I've been doing the past couple years, which is just trying to stay ahead of my training," Howard said. "Just making sure my body is staying good and staying healthy. I feel that what I've been doing over the past couple years, I feel pretty confident that down the road I'll be right where I want to be."
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"There were two forces in play," he said. "The primary one being the amount of dedication Ryan has shown to his craft and his ability and desire to get better in all facets of the game, which not only include the offensive side and the defensive side, but getting himself in better shape, showing his durability factor. I think what Ryan has done on the conditioning side made the Phillies feel that much more comfortable committing to him long term."The secondary force is the Phillies' position in the division right now and their chance to maintain this position that they have for the foreseeable future, and to make sure that they had their king piece in place. They can help build around that because obviously this contract is one of a certain magnitude." He is right about that. It is big. "Ryan earned this contract with what he's done," Amaro said. "There are very few players who have done what he's done. In fact, there's none in some categories. He's set the record for himself by his performance. We're typically not a club that sets markets, and I don't view this as a market-setting deal, but we feel like this is an equitable deal for both sides. It's something he deserves. There's always risk when you're doing guaranteed deals, but what Ryan has done and what we think he's doing to do in the future, I think it's a good risk."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.