With Ryan Howard and the Phillies seemingly far apart on reaching any type of long-term deal, the two sides closed the gap quickly and came to a three-year, $54 million deal. The two sides were headed for an arbitration hearing this week, with Howard asking for $18 million and the Phillies willing to pay him $14 million.
The new deal gives Howard his requested average of $18 million per season, but locks him in at that number for three years, all of which were arbitration years for Howard. The former NL MVP and Rookie of the Year will be eligible for free agency when this deal expires.
Howard and the Phillies haven't always had the best of relationships, stemming back to his early days with the organization when he had requested a trade rather than be blocked by Jim Thome, who wound up being traded. It was thought that the two sides would not be able to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.
The Phillies came into the off-season with ten arbitration eligible players and were able to sign all of them to new deals, including long-term deals for some of the key players like Howard, Cole Hamels, Jayson Werth and Greg Dobbs.