A left-handed slugging first baseman in his thirties has just signed a five-year extension for $25M per season. Obviously I'm not talking about Carlos Pena, but the signing of Ryan Howard is sure to have a significant impact toward that end.
Whereas two years ago when the market seemed to set a fairly reasonable value for sluggers with high K rates, this extension appears to do the opposite. Granted Howard is a former MVP and has a better slash line the last couple years than Pena. But, a $25M per year deal has to be at least twice what the Rays would be willing to pay to keep Pena around, and I don't think Howard is twice as good.
I thought going into this off-season the Rays would have a legit shot at retaining the slugger for a few more years at a slightly elevated price, but with this move it almost seems to set the bar too high at the outset.