Perhaps in response to being dubbed “the best thing (baseball) has seen in a long time” by Scoop Jackson, the Phillies’ Ryan Howard is expecting a substantial raise writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Marcus Hayes.

In what could be a significant move in the pursuit of a big payday, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has dismissed agent Larry Reynolds.

According to the Phillies, Howard, who won the 2006 National League MVP in his first full season, is looking for new representation. He has not informed the club who that will be, though he might be fortifying his camp with a higher-powered entity than Reynolds.

Whomever Howard chooses, the new agent can expect to deal with the Phillies relatively quickly, even though Howard will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2007 season. Maybe he can get some of the cash the Phillies earmarked for the righthanded power hitter they failed to sign as his protection in the lineup.

Howard made $355,000 last season.

Though Reynolds’ website appears to be down, you can check out a cached version here.

According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the only thing holding up Randy Johnson’s return to Arizona is the matter of how much, if any, of the Unit’s salary the Yankees will be expected to eat.

The two sides have discussed more than 10 permutations, depending on the finances. The Yanks may budge on the money to continue their recent quest to inflate their farm system. Among Arizona’s most advanced pitching prospects, the Yanks favor Micah Owings, and also Dustin Nippert and Ross Ohlendorf.