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Phils Exploring Options with Howard

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, July 23, 2014 06:06 PM | Comments: 68
Rumors

In what was already a busy day, full of transactions for the Phillies, John Clark of CSN Philly tweeted this bombshell:

 

There may be smoke where there is fire in what is likely informed speculation by both Clark and Salisbury. My PNTV colleague Corey Seidman wrote at CSN Philly today that “enough is enough” with Howard, and I’m not sure there is anyone that would disagree. Howard is due $25 million per year through 2017 and will receive either $23 million in 2018 or a $10 million buy out. For his price tag, Howard has ranked 32nd out of 32 qualified first baseman according to fWAR.

What created this speculation, you ask? Well, it was likely a series of comments made by manager Ryne Sandberg as reported by Salisbury:

 

We will certainly keep an eye on this situation. It is worth noting that the recently recalled Darin Ruf is tonight’s starting first baseman.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 820 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Bryan White

    Good. Long overdue. I would say release him. No team will pay even 25% of his bloated salary to have a 1b that can barely field, swings at breaking balls in the dirt 25 feet from the plate and has no power anymore

     
  • Posts: 0 Scotty Ingerton

    “This signing says to me that the Phillies are still stuck in the old model of player compensation, in which counting stats, especially home runs and RBIs, earn players the biggest paychecks, and knowledge of player aging patterns was largely absent from the industry. It’s one thing to say, as the Phillies do with pride, that they don’t have a soul in their front office who so much as dabbles in statistical analysis. It’s another to thumb one’s nose at the sort of actuarial tables that drive business decisions in almost every other industry, data that says here that Howard is part of a class of players that, as a group, ages poorly past 30, and is not worth long-term commitments at increased salaries. And here, the Phillies are paying Howard to be better for the next five years than he’s been for at least the last two, when we know that such a turnaround is extremely unlikely, given his skill set and body type.

    I wonder what they’ll do when they get to Clearwater in March 2013 and realize they’ve committed $25 million to a DH in a league where that position doesn’t exist.” – Keith Law, April 2010

    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/keith-law/archive/_/month/april-2010

     
    • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

      And the point of this re-cap is what? Again, Law would like to think that all baseball decisions are made according to sabermetrics when in reality it is simply one other tool used in risk-taking/decision-making. Were the Phillies wrong to completely spurn its use? Absolutely, no argument. However, the Phillies were convinced that they had a window to win with Howard and they didn’t want the albatross of contract issues hovering over the head of their biggest star at the time. Amaro is not the only GM and the Phillies are not the only organization to give big dollars and big years to players of that “body type.” (See Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.)

       
      • Posts: 0 Scotty Ingerton

        Howard is our topic – check the top of the page. Of course the Fielder & Pujols deals were awful, but they have no effect on the Phillies organization. The repercussions of the Howard contract will be felt by the Phillies for years to come.

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        So where did Double Trouble Del say that other signings had an effect on the Phils?

        HE DIDN’T!

        He was only indicating that the Amaro haters will jump all over him even though other GM’s have done the same or worse. (I’ll also point out that the Pujols contact was handed out after the Howard extension, so Angels management should have learned from it.) You realize that Pujols was signed for TWICE as much as Howard don’t you? Ryan’s contract looks bad, and it is bad, but just think about someone else being paid TWICE as much to be only marginally better.

        I wish people would quit piling on all the time, and I especially wish they’d quit totally deliberately misreading some else’s comments.

        One other thing: Keith Law thinks his opinion is the only one that’s important, and he would second guess his own grandmother to try and sell copy.

         
      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        The more I think about it, the more I think what Rube should’ve have done if he wanted to give this contract to Howard? He coulda shoulda gave him this contract. But instead of having it go into effect after the contract he was already in. He should’ve retroacted it. More or less giving him a raise for the remaining 2 years and then extending it for the last 3. If he would’ve done that ? This would be the last year and it’s over. Cept maybe the buyout.

         
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I wouldnt do this, not this year anyways.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jael

    Ben Revere need to go thing ryan Howard what ryan Sandberg sayed we need a new manager now

     
    • Posts: 0 Skylar0201

      Yeah let’s let our leading hitter go. Makes a lot of sense….

       
      • Posts: 0 KMG24

        Ben Revere is batting .298 with a OBP of .318 and an OPS of .672. The only thing he can do is run and get slap hits. He doesn’t walk or bunt, which is essential for a lead off hitter. And he has one of the worst arms I’ve ever seen in professional baseball. Other than that he is wonderful…

         
      • Posts: 0 shruco

        This is a joke, right? This has to be a joke. Please tell me it’s a joke. A leadoff hitter with an OPS of .318, and we can’t bench (or, better still, release) him because he has the highest BA on the team? .318?? And a .670 OPS??! Ye gods. Thanks for checking in with your opinion, Ruben.

         
  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I won’t believe any of this until I see it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Skylar0201

    Don’t tease us, John Clark and Phillies Nation!!

    If the Phils are going to finally cut ties with the worst contract that Amaro has given out, so far, than just do it!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Jim Wilson

    I don’t think Ryan is that bad of a first baseman. If they had designated players for whom someone else could bat, Ryan would fit in!

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      He’s not that bad a first baseman. Just no longer on par with the other 31 in MLB.

      I’m not sure how his defense would translate down in the minors. Perhaps he’d fall into the upper end of the bottom 25% in AAA, the bottom 50% in AA and (maybe) rise to the top 25% in A ball or the instructional leagues.

      Howard had a short but magnificent career. His 58 HRs, 149 RBI (and .313 BA) in 2006 has to rank among the greatest single seasons in the history of Phillies baseball. He was never more than an adequate fielder but his offense from 2005 through 2011 more than made up for his defensive deficiencies.

      I don’t think Darin Ruf is the answer either, but Ruf (or player X) should be the clear choice at first If the management deems him to be even a marginal improvement over Howard. The game is not supposed to be played by the guys with the highest salaries but by players who can contribute the most (see: Oakland As). I can fault Ruben and the folks he answers to for Howard’s contract but I’m not sure I can fault them (and Sandberg) for playing him in the absence of a clear alternative. Having said that, it may be fair to fault them for not producing a clear alternative that could take over at this point – or even next year.

      Unfortunately, there’s that little issue of Howard’s continuing contract.

       
  • Posts: 0 Laura Hoogerwerff

    I really hoped that a healthy Ryan would lead us to a WS again. Chase has looked great all season ,I had hoped Howard would be the same. But it does not seem Ryan has the right mindset st the plate. His fielding is ok, but his consistent striking out eith runners in scorimg position is killing us.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roobin Tomorrow

    Trade him for Ike Davis.

     
  • Posts: 0 John r

    Howard’s contract expires in 2016 not 2017. Dope

     
  • Posts: 0 NY Phils fan

    I want to see what Schmenkman thinks.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I’d say something has to change, though I’d rather not release him. Continue trying to trade him, and if you can’t find a partner (which is most likely), use him as a pinch hitter and spot starter.

      If that causes him to ask for his release (to go look for a job as a DH), grant his request.

      His contract is a sunk cost, and his past contributions have earned him the right to be treated well.

       
  • Posts: 0 Mike in NJ

    What options? No one will take that contract even if the Phils eat 90% of it

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      If the Phils eat 90% some AL team might take a chance on Howard as a left-handed DH assuming their regular, .285 hitting left-handed DH is injured and every lefty on the bench contracts the Bubonic Plague.
      Maybe even 80% for a contender with plenty of cap space, half the team near death and the 31st worse GM in the league.

       
  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Soria to the Tigers, one more team that wont be trading for Papelbon.

     
    • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

      Hopefully this will get some teams giddy and maybe strike a deal for papelbon, with one more closer/reliever off the market, papelbons name moves up the available list…

       
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        I dont know man, he’s done nothing to increase his value this week. The tigers got a better pitcher IMO.

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        Both of your statements are true, I just hold out hope that maybe some team will think they’re one piece away, and with enough salary contribution on our part hopefully we’ll be able move him and get something of value back…

         
      • Posts: 0 BROOKS

        Consider Pap’s 2 latest performances – blown save and a loss. Maybe he has singlehandedly destroyed his success and thereby his value on the market decreases, nobody wants him or his infllated contract ergo, he stays.
        This could be something Paps himself has designed.

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        I think it will take a season-ending injury to a contender’s closer for the Phillies to make any kind of advantageous deal for Papelbon (maybe in return for a young minor league body or low draft choice). Short of that, they’d be lucky just to find a team willing to eat most of his salary. While his last two outings didn’t help the cause, it’s more a question of other teams’ needs. I can’t see Papelbon having any attraction to a non-contender if only due to his contract. The Phillies would have to eat most of it – or all of it get a young prospect in return.

        Actually, I’d take that last deal. Why not since the option is paying him and getting nothing in return?

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        BROOKS:

        Why would a player who so clearly stated he wants to play for a winner sabotage his own trade value to stay with a loser?

         
  • Posts: 522 Morris Buttermaker

    Avatar of Morris Buttermaker

    If you are eating that much money, you need to fire Amaro too.

    If a 4-year-old crashes a car, you don’t blame the 4-year-old. You blame the GM who gave him $125 million to buy the car.

    Amaro might be the worst GM in all of sports at this point.

     
  • Posts: 0 John M

    Need to get rid of GM 1st!!! How do you throw a player in to a trade, that was not suppose to be on the list???? To the Astros, who is a potential MLB PLayer, Office Error?? Mistake?? Who signs off on the deal??? Being the head of an Organisation, he should know all his players, and he should of said no way! Just goes to show you he has no Idea on being a GM!

     
  • Posts: 1 yahtzee26

    Avatar of yahtzee26

    Man… if only we had one SINGLE player that could replace howard at 1B. It would lift this offense a TON. #CaptainHindsight

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      But only if you could replace at least 5 out of the other 7 position players.

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Since this season is a lost cause and Howards salary is sunk regardless. I would not release him not yet.I would afford Howard some type of respect. The man single handledly carried this team for many stretches during their run. I would definitely just let him finish out this year in a reduced role. After that (after this season) im not sure how to handle the situation. Schmek idea sounds at least plausible an at the same time continue to shop him. Who knows he may go on hot streak and some team may take a chance if we eat 80-90%.

     
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    Phil’s just have to suck it up the next few years and suck is the key word. The rebuild left the building 2 years ago. Now they have to gather pieces for the little assets they have and begin the long slog back. Going to suck, but no quick fixes.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

    Schmenk is right. Howard does deserve the respect. I don’t know what I would do. The gut tells me to just cut him loose! My heart says wait. Why? I don’t know to tell the truth. The best way would be, rather than cut him loose just hang on till the end of the season and play Ruf. We have to see what Ruf can do anyway going forward, so just do it. Howard? Eat most of his money and trade him to the American league. I think that shows respect and also gives him a chance. If you cut him loose you’re losing money anyway. So you might as well find a middle road. Eat the money and also show respect.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I think Ruf has already shown what e can do, which is to be slightly better than John Mayberry as a hitter, and slightly worse than John Mayberry as a possible outfield option.

       
      • Posts: 0 c. schreiber

        First base is what the discussion is about not outfield. Ruf was used in the OF because they wanted his bat in the lineup. He’s never really had an adequate chance at his normal position. He’s not an OF and never was, Let’s see how he’ll be therest of the year at first.

         
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    This guy is clueless. Baseball is not a game. It stopped being a game 40 years ago, when players didn’t have to keep a job on the side to make ends meet. Parcheesi is a game. Baseball is a business. Baseball is his job, and he has not put the time or effort in to do it well. How come he still can’t recognize and hit a curve ball? How come he’s never tried to beat the shift by hitting to left field? How come he can’t lay off pitches low and away? How come he doesn’t put in time watching videos? He (along with many others on this team) has become complacent and comfortable with his riches. He needs to go.

    Howard’s RBI total is somewhat misleading, since he has also come to bat with a player in scoring position in 116 of his at-bats this season, more than any other player in baseball. More telling are his .377 slugging percentage, a startling, near-200 point drop from his .571 in 2009, and his .682 OPS, which ranks 126th out of 160 qualifying major league hitters this season.

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff orbach

    I think hid “it’s just a game” comment is what sunk him now. I think his refusal(not watching videos) to do things to help his game has put him in the dog house.

    I hope this is a wake up call to him. I also can see he’s not right-he has a permanent limp and it looks like it’s painful for him to run.

     
  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I have to say that if a team is trying to trade a player, the worst thing it could do is admit publicly that they are thinking about just letting him loose.

    So…

    Either Salisbury is making this crap up- or the Phillies are way more stupid than even I thought. Why would any team trade anything for him now?? If anyone wants him, they just wait for his release – right?

     
  • Posts: 0 wbramh

    I think he’s a smart guy who does try but like Dom Brown, may be something of a head case at bat. He also hasn’t helped himself with the fan base with some of his ill-considered comments, – like suggesting there’s no difference between striking out and flying out. That may be true if he only strikes out with no one on base. But honestly, I think responses like that one are born from his personal frustration and exacerbated by pressure from the press to give them answers he doesn’t possess.

    Which raises a question I’ve asked before. Even the best hitters occasionally need coaching. I get the feeling that this management team sits back and waits for players like Howard and Brown and others to work their own way out of every slump – at least those players who are no longer bouncing back and forth between the parent club and minor league affiliates. But players like Howard and Brown are not in slumps; they’re in career-ending depressions. Perhaps the still young Brown is just an extreme head case but Wally Joyner found a way into his head and Steve Henderson has not accomplished the same task. I know Henderson is an avid golfer. Perhaps he’s influenced Howard to tee off on pitches in the dirt. As for Brown, at this point, we can only scratch our collective head. There just seems to me to be some contributing outside factor added to these dramatic drop-offs in production – in Howard’s case, even considering his nagging injuries and age. Maybe a pair of glasses would help both players (ie: Dick Allen). There have been simpler solutions employed.

     
    • Posts: 0 john

      i knew letting joyner go would be a problem for brown. i hated seeing lopes go, cheapos !!!!! howards biggest problem is plate discipline . if he could get over that. he’d still be a stud ! letting him go makes no sense at all.

       
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    It’s highly flawed thinking that Ryan Howard deserves some form of respect on what seems to be a phase within viewing distance of the end.

    Or special respect, at least.

    The ones deserving respect are the potential ticket buyers who will quite possibly be shown disrespect by being asked to pay higher prices to offet the massive losses. Losses as in plural, no less, but RyHo heads the field.

    The degree of respect that RyHo deserves has been shown, and shown well. He was given a very nice contract, was appreciated greatly while he could perform (bottom line, the criticism and praise sum bottom line). I mean what the hell is left. Obviously, you trade the guy, if you can get something. If you can’t, life’s filled with tough, and unhappy decisions. He’s been given the respect of a LOT of time to do better than hitting onebleepingeithybleepingeight at home. .188. Jiminy Bleeping Xmas. No, he’s not an average type hitter. But .188?

    Meanwhile, he’s not starting the matinee game today. I’d be playing him. See what he does after a day off, and after the degree of involvement his name has had in the news. Now where I’d bat him is another story. Yeah, he has done well V Huddy in the past, but you just can’t bat him 4. I don’t know where he should hit if he played, but it’s not 4. I guess 6 or 7. If they had someone I really thought was worth looking at, I’d be more inclined to give him the day off today, and maybe even lot more often. Ruf’s okay. Okay doesn’t excite me.

     
    • Posts: 522 Morris Buttermaker

      Avatar of Morris Buttermaker

      Howard should be in the lineup. He destroys Tim Hudson.

      People always talk about how well Charlie was as managing the personalities of the team. I am really seeing that this year.

       
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      Ken: While I totally agree with you when it comes to what the team owes their paying public, I would give Howard a little more slack.

      I think there’s something to be said for giving a guy who was instrumental in bringing fans the greatest single stretch of Phillies baseball in their 131 year history something more than a nod. It doesn’t mean you play him in place of a better choice or don’t flat out release him and take the hit, but there’s a difference between treating him like a rag doll without human emotions and treating him like a human being, and his millions earned don’t give us the right to treat him solely as a commodity.

      Losing a job and the only one you’ve ever known by age 35 is probably traumatic even for a guy who never has to work again for the rest of his life. It’s not easy at 66 – although I’m missing a few of Ryan’s millions.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        RyHo’s contributed to the things you cited. And that’s not forgotten. Oh, by the way, he’s hardly the only one, but his particular contributions should be lauded and then some, because they were key, and plentiful. But as for on field time going forward, it has zero to do with respect. Not at this point. It’s about projection. If they think he’s got something left, that’s their call, and more power to them. But if they think he’s not an answer, and for God’s sake, ESPECIALLY in the freaking 4 hole, then you gotta do what the inmates running the asuylum has left you with as an option. Trade him to who you can, or who you can get him to agree to, if you wanna pay the price. But if you think back to the list that Jim Bowden suggested of potential Phillie deals that came out last week, there was an abundance of future type talent that still doesn’t solve the problem of the year to date results of Howard, Revere, Brown and Kendrick. Those type results can’t be overly tolerated. It’s disrespectful to do so.

        By the way, what…3 years back now….Ibanez was damned close to like 2 for 50, or some Galvis like stretch, and then in his typical pattern (though the slump was long and pathetic, was deprived Player of the Month for June only because Joe Hardy played in Jay Bruce’s uni.
        Now myself, I wasn’t rushing Raul out the door…rather I looked at it from his perspective and wondered if he’d retire. If I saw a glimmer of prayer that RyHo had that play left in him, I wouldn’t be so close to convinced you have to do something. And if you do, I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything disrespectful about doing it on the terms the contractual agreement with the player leave open. Concepts like fair, and deserved a better fate really have little place in the language of life, which sucks, but that’s the way it is.

         
  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Simpler solutions, I like that. We should start a simpler solution thread. I’ll start – Dom and Ryan need a pair of Dr Scholls foot pads. :-)

     
  • Posts: 0 Terry

    I agree with schmenkman. He deserves respect of not releasing him. Use him off the bench spot starter or should when applicable. Although i beleive he should jave been traded back in 2010 and the money used to resign Jason werth

     
  • Posts: 39 landshark

    Avatar of landshark

    That makes ZERO sense to release a player who’s on pace to knock in 120 RBI’s, and at least 25+ Homeruns. His average his down, and he’s on pace for another 200 plus K’s, but that was always his M-O….Even when they signed him to that ridiculous contract they knew that!. They need to fire to Amaro, and suck it up and try moving him after next season when picking up his contract doesn’t look as bad

     
    • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

      He’s not on pace to drive in 120 runs, he’s not on pace to hit 25 home runs… He is on pace to strike out near 200 times yes…. He’s had 400+ plate appearances so far this season so unless he magically will get another 400 plate appearances this year he won’t come close to 25 and 120

       
      • Posts: 39 landshark

        Avatar of landshark

        Hogey It’s going to be pretty damn close to them numbers…Bottom like is it’s absurd to just ”Let a player go” who still produces like that just because his GM signs him to a ridiculous contract. I’m okay with trading him, but I don’t agree with eating 40 Million dollars of his contract. He’s not ”THAT” terrible

         
      • Posts: 39 landshark

        Avatar of landshark

        Okay…Lets just say 20 HR, 100 RBI…Is that really that bad?

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        He’s not gonna put up those number this year…. Maybe he is still recovering from the Achilles idk, but he is less than a shell of what he used to be… That said I wouldn’t straight up release him just yet until I tried to work out a trade or send him down to the minors to figure something out….

         
      • Posts: 39 landshark

        Avatar of landshark

        He’s only 4 HRs away from 20 now, and I’m positive (even the way hes been as everyone says ”terrible”) he will still get 20 RBIS In August and 20 in October to reach 90 RBI’s and Probably hit bottom level 23-25 HR…Whatever maybe it’s just me, but since when did that ever become ”Terrible”? Who cares if he bats .220 for the year? He may not be clutch but He produces

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        He has 15 homers and 60 rbi’s right now… I don’t think he will play enough to reach 20-25 and 100…

        And I’m sorry but to me a 224/305/377 slash line is nowhere near productive, it is absolutely sad…. A .682 OPS is Ben revere territory, I’m not ok with that out of a first baseman and cleanup hitter…. He is not productive, he is below replacement level.

         
  • Posts: 0 NY Phils fan

    Isn’t the question whether the team is better with him or without him? He has no value to trade.

     
    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Precisely IMO- And that’s why you keep him.

      I have been one of Howard’s harsher critics over the years, but the milk is spilt.
      He’s ours now.

      Take what we can get as a platoon player the next few years- maybe play him regularly when he’s on one of his hot streaks- whatever.

      The team is now in a position where they are truly better off with him. Throwing away 60 million dollars?? That’s insane. I’ve never once heard that he was a bad influence or character guy. Get what you can from him, and move on when the contract is over. You bought and paid for his services, use them. Jesus, at the very least, make him your designated decoy, the guy that gets announced in the eighth inning before the other manager switches to a lefty and then bat someone else. This talk of letting him just walk with the money makes me ill.

       
      • Posts: 39 landshark

        Avatar of landshark

        That’s exactly my point. Your better off keeping him. I know his power numbers are in the basement, but he still produces. You trade him to an AL team to DH? Why? So he we can lose millions while he produces for another team on our check book? Look…The Phillies are putting Howard in Adam Eaton territory. Eaton was ran out of Philly because he SUCKED and wasn’t producing. This rumor just makes no sense, sorry!

         
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Looks like this Jon Heyman written piece hit the web an hour ago. I don’t quibble with Heyman as a reporter (not pro or con), but if you go to the linked piece where he editorializes (in part) on the contract, (mostly the release idea), he should be castrated. He voices the contract was not a good idea. Heyman was PRO the deal at that time, and there’s nothing wrong with adding that he thought so at the time. But that’s the game. Keep guessing, and don’t remind ‘em of your track record.

    he http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/24636169/phils-work-hard-to-try-to-trade-howard-would-need-to-pay-most-of-70m

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Look. Reuben is not an idiot despite what you would like to think. Remember he brought in Halladay and others. Obviously they have found out that no one wants Howard – period. Would you – even without the contract – do you want a guy who has been fading for years? No, you don’t.
    Facing that reality Amaro has started the process of getting the fan base ready for no Howard or at least a lot less Howard. Personally I find release extreme unless Howard cannot take a bench role. While the probability of a comeback is low it has to be measured against the $60 million that is lost. So we start with platoon now. If that works out and he can hit .250 with an OPS of say 725 we keep him. If it goes sour then we can talk about release.

     
  • Posts: 107 loupossehl

    Avatar of loupossehl

    As to Amaro starting the process of getting the fan base ready for no Howard …

    I am a small percentage of the fan base – although that percentage is probably increasing by the day – and you may notify Mr. Amaro that I am ready.

     
 
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