In a strange off-season marked by mediocre players netting exorbitant multiyear deals, Phillies fans have been wondering what the team will do regarding the contract of reigning NL MVP Ryan Howard. Entering the third year of a contract that netted him a relatively paltry $355,000 last season, the Phillies first basemen isn’t eligible for salary arbitration until 2007, and won’t be a free agent until 2011, according to the Inquirer’s Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki.
Questions regarding the likely renegotiation of Howard’s contract increased yesterday when he fired his agent, which could indicate he's looking for a new deal sooner rather than later, but Howard wouldn’t comment to Zolecki on why, offering a great variation on "No comment":
Howard had hired Larry Reynolds - his second agent in 2 1/2 years - before the 2005 season. Now, like Jim Turner before him, Reynolds is out. Reached last night, the affable slugger took a line from Top Gun when asked to comment.
"Negative, Ghost Rider," he said.
The question remains: What should the Phillies do with the contract of a guy who was the NL Rookie of the Year, and then hit 58 HR and 148 RBI in his sophomore season? Should they lock him up along with arbitration-eligible Chase Utley with a pair of lucrative long-term deals, or should they play it conservatively given the team’s past history with dishing out such contracts when they weren’t actually necessary to retain a key free agent?
I know what I’d like to see… I just hope Howard doesn’t sign on with Scott Boras…
SANDY, Utah -- Joao Plata scored his first goal of the season and Real Salt Lake beat the Union, 1-0, on Saturday night to snap Philadelphia's club-record winning streak at four games.
Plata tapped in his goal in the 36th minute after quickly exchanging short passes twice with Jefferson Savarino. Tony Beltran got the play started by saving the ball just before it went over the goal line.
The Union (4-5-5) had a chance to tie it in stoppage time, but goalie Nick Rimando blocked Haris Medunjanin's belt-high free kick and Salt Lake (4-8-2) cleared it after a scramble in front of the net.
Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made seven saves.
Howie Kendrick on Saturday night made his fourth rehab appearance in Triple A during Lehigh Valley's 13-1 rout of the Louisville Bats in Allentown.
Kendrick went 1 for 5 with a run scored and three strikeouts. He also grounded into a double play and left two runners in scoring position.
It was his second rehab game playing third base. He played third during his appearance in the IronPigs' 8-4 loss Thursday to the Indianapolis Indians. He was 0 for 1 in three plate appearances with a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice (see story).
The Phillies' plan for Kendrick was to have him play a minimum four games at Lehigh Valley. He played left field in two games and third base twice. Pete Mackanin said Wednesday that Kendrick would also get a game at first base but he hasn't gotten a game at first yet.
There is a chance Kendrick could be recalled Sunday before the Phillies’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds depending on how he feels.
Kendrick has been sidelined since April 15 with an oblique strain. In 10 games before the injury, Kendrick went 13 for 39 (.333) with five extra-base hits and four walks while exclusively playing left field.