Howard and Phillies agree to $125 million contract

10:11, April 28, 2010      

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Ryan Howard agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract extension on Monday that could keep him with the Philadelphia Phillies until 2017.

The slugging first baseman preferred securing his future in Philadelphia to testing free agency in two years - and certainly is getting his payday. He also felt loyal to the club that gave him his chance to reach the big leagues, saying, "That wasn't a very hard decision".

"It's a great feeling to have that security and know where you're going to be," Howard said. "I feel what I've been doing over the past couple of years, I feel pretty confident that down the road. I'll be right where I want to be and still doing the same things."

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr pulled off the deal that keeps the centerpiece of the Phillies' offense in place for the long haul.

"We just felt it was good timing for us," Amaro said. "We felt No 1, he's one of the elite offensive players in the game. We could have waited another year and a half or so and dealt with it later on but the fact of the matter is we decided he is that important to our organization and to our club and to our future."

The 30-year-old Howard will make $20 million in each of 2012 and 2013 and $25 million annually from 2014-16. The Phillies have a $23 million club option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout.

"This is a very good contract for him," Howard's agent, Casey Close, said. "The reason he felt the time was right was he loves his teammates, he loves the city. He wanted to be a part of something special for a long time to come."

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