Phils, Howard Agree on Extension

Seemingly out of the blue, the Phillies announced that they have signed first baseman Ryan Howard to a five-year extension, which takes effect in 2012. The deal includes a club option for a sixth season.

Nobody really saw this one coming, but Ryan Howard is even richer. The slugging first baseman, who already had a contract good through next season, signed a five-year extension Monday that will carry him through 2016. The deal also includes an option year for 2017. Howard is guaranteed $125 million and as much as $138 million if the option year is picked up.

Howard was awarded a record arbitration award of $10 million in 2008 and signed a three-year extension worth $54 million, a year later.

The new deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, which will actually become moot early in the 2015 season when Howard becomes a 10-and-5 player. At that point, Howard will have ten seasons in the majors and all with the same club, meaning that he can veto any deal.

Cole Hamels, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins are also eligible for free agency following the 2011 season. After the 2010 season, outfielder Jayson Werth is eligible for free agency, as well.

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