Sure they couldn’t.
The Phillies signed slugging first baseman Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125 million extension today.
Good for Howard. He’s earned it.
But what was the big rush?
I mean, they just gave him a three-year, $54 million extension on Feb. 8, 2009.
While Phils’ fans may sleep a little better knowing Howard is locked up until at least 2016, they have to be scratching their heads (and a little pissed) that general manager Ruben Amaro could not find another $9 million in December to hang onto Cliff Lee and pair him with Roy Halladay, yet had plenty of extra cake for Howard.
All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins sure was (scratching his head, and possibly a little pissed, that is) earlier this month.
Amaro deserves a ton of credit for getting Halladay and then convincing him to take a discount on that three-year, $20 million extension.
And maybe the Phillies would not have been able to get Halladay in the multi-team transaction without parting with Lee, who was so clutch for the Phils last season. But that is not what Amaro led everyone to believe when the trade was announced Dec. 17.
“I had a little discomfort that we’d be able to do the type of deal (with Lee) that I’d feel comfortable with,” Amaro said.
Amaro was convinced Lee wanted to dip his toes into the free-agent market after the 2010 season and felt he could not afford to keep him this year, and then risk losing him for nothing after.
Amaro also said he needed prospects Phillippe Aumont (RHP), Tyson Gillies (OF) and Juan Ramirez (RHP) to replenish the small stable of unproven talent he dealt when the Phils obtained Lee from the Cleveland Indians at the deadline, and then another handful in the deal for Halladay, including right-hander Kyle Drabek.
I just don’t buy it.
What say you?