Ruben Amaro is just fine with Ryan Howard’s contract

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Fun Fact: Ryan Howard will make more than Albert Pujols this year. And next year. And the year after that. And the year after that.  The year after that one — 2016 — they’ll make the same.

Secondary fun fact: Ryan Howard will make more than Prince Fielder every single year until 2017, at which point Howard’s option will likely be declined and he’ll be a free agent again. In no single season of his nine-year deal will Prince Fielder make as much as Howard will make for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

But it’s OK, because Ruben Amaro is just fine with it:

“I’m kind of happy,” Amaro said. “Really happy because if I would’ve had to put eight or nine years on Howard’s deal right now, that would be a little disconcerting. Right now we have Howard for the next five years. I kind of like that rather than giving an eight-, nine- or 10-year deal.”

Honestly, though: would anyone not prefer Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols on their new 9/10 year deals over Ryan Howard on the five-year deal that kicks in starting this season? If given the choice right now — even assuming that Howard wasn’t coming off a torn Achilles. which he is — wouldn’t you rather take either of the other two on the longer deals?   I sure would.

I know Amaro can’t say that, of course, because of the politics of it all. But man.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.