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Phillies sign first baseman Ryan Howard through 2016; are James Loney and Kendry Morales far behind?

April 26, 2010 |  7:06 pm


Power at the plate pays. The latest example is first baseman Ryan Howard of the Phillies, who has agreed to a five-year, $125-million contract extension.

The deal includes a sixth-year club option for 2017 that could raise the value to $138 million.

Howard, the National League MVP in 2006 and MVP in the NL Championship Series last season, is in the middle of a three-year, $54-million contract extension. He will make $19 million this season and $20 million in 2011. Thanks to this latest extension, he will make $20 million in 2012 and 2013 and $25 million from 2014-2016. The option in 2017 is worth $23 million with a $10-million buyout, according to

On a lark, let's compare.

James Loney, the Dodgers' first baseman, is closer to Howard than one might think in some career numbers through Sunday. Keep in mind, though, that Howard, 30, is in his sixth full season and Loney, who will turn 26 in two weeks, is in his third full season. Add the Angels' Kendry Morales, who turns 27 in June and is in only his second full season, and the numbers get interesting. Of course, consistency over time is what makes Howard so valuable.

On-base percentage
Howard:  .374
Loney:    .354
Morales: .337

Batting average
Howard:  .279
Loney:    .296
Morales: .286

Slugging percentage
Howard:  .583
Loney:    .449
Morales: .512

But then comes home runs, and the runs driven in with that kind of power.

Home runs
Howard:  225 (one per every 12.3 at bats)
Loney:    45   (one per every 37.7 at bats)
Morales: 52   (one per every 19.5 at bats)

Runs batted in
Howard:  656 (one for every 4.2 at bats)
Loney:    272 (one for every 6.2 at bats)
Morales: 169 (one for every 6.0 at bats)

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard takes batting practice Monday before playing at San Francisco. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press