It looks as if Ryan Howard will continue hitting home runs and inking his name in the history books as a Philadelphia Philly for many years. Howard has signed a five year extension worth about $125 million with incentives that could raise the total amount upwards of $138 million.
Howard’s value is undeniable, as his achievements already include Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, and two all star appearances. Probably most impressive however, is a fact that be unknown to many, Howard reached the 200 home run mark quicker than anyone else ever has, reaching the milestone at 658 games. A stat that is quite impressive to say the least, but overshadowed by other sluggers like Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez all nearing milestones of their own.
Another interesting statistic, that could have helped land Howard that big dollar contract extension is one he accomplished last season. Howard joined Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa, to achieve at least 40 home runs and 130-plus RBIs in four consecutive seasons. Only Ruth has done it for longer, doing it for seven straight seasons.
Howard is on his way to achieving those numbers for a fifth straight season with 3 home runs and 16 RBIs thus far this season.
Just like I said with Joe Mauer staying in Minnesota on the Eastbay blog, Howard staying in Philadelphia long term is another move that is better for the game of baseball. Granted, many of us would have liked to see our team try to lure one of baseball’s best left-handed sluggers, there is something to be said about players that stick with a franchise over the years.
Phillies fans can attest, the biggest name in their history book, Mike Schmidt, stuck with the team for 18 years and ended up in the Hall of Fame. Howard seems to be on a very similar path and already has Schmidt’s one World Championship ring matched and now has plans to be in Philadelphia through the prime years of his career.
Personally, though it will mean the Phillies will be a top team in the National League for years to come, it’s a great thing for baseball and its fans to have players committing to teams long term.