Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Howard’

The Only Choice

May 27th, 2016 by Mike H. | Comments Off on The Only Choice | Filed in Baseball, MLB, Phillies


Recently, there’s been a lot of talk as to what to do with Ryan Howard. Some people say the Phillies should trade him. He has no value. Even if the Phillies paid every last cent owed to Howard AND took on a bad contract to offset the ten million dollars owed to Howard in the form of a buyout, all you’d be doing is taking on a similar headache and possibly a longer-term one. So that’s a no. Some people seem to think that Howard would do the honorable thing and just retire. Cue the Michael Jack Schmidt references. Would anyone in their right mind walk away from millions of dollars? Howard would be forfeiting roughly twenty-five million dollars or so. That’s an insane amount of money to walk away from. So that’s a no too. The best one I’ve heard is the just sit him on the bench. Yeah, that’s not opening a can of worms.

While sitting Howard would give more playing time to recent call up Tommy Joseph, it would also most likely cause the Player’s Association to file a grievance. Despite Howard having more than twice as many strike outs as hits this season, it will be an issue. They’ll likely point out that Howard is also being a productive player. The MLBPA will argue that Howard has just as many Home Runs and eight less Runs Batted In than teammate Maikel Franco in forty less at bats. There will be plenty of counter arguments that will play against the Phillies if they were to try to just sit Howard. So that’s a no go.

The only choice? Release Howard. Pay him the remainder of this season. Pay him his buy out. Hell, maybe you’ll get lucky and someone will pick him up for the league minimum and allow the Phillies to recoup the money to pay a minor leaguer to play ball in South Philly. What’s even more valuable is the roster spot that Howard is clogging up. No, I don’t think he’s blocking Joseph or anyone else from debuting and sending the Phillies to the next level, but just having the flexibility to put someone there is paramount. Eventually, Cody Asche is gonna need a spot unless he gets optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley. Being able to bring someone off the disabled list without making a move makes life so much easier.

Just release him. Get it over with. I keep hearing how the like having Howard around because of his club house presence. You know what you call someone who can’t play the game anymore at the highest level and inspires team mates to perform? A coach. We have plenty of them. The players will get over Howard not showing up. That’s what players do. It’s a business, not the Boy Scouts.

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2015 Phillies Offseason Preview: Free Agent Pitchers

November 9th, 2015 by Ryan Waterman | Comments Off on 2015 Phillies Offseason Preview: Free Agent Pitchers | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies, Sports

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An interesting off-season lies ahead…..

After one of the worst seasons in Phillies history, there has been a major overhaul in the front office. Andy McPhail has taken over as team president, Ruben Amaro is out as General Manager, and Matt Klentak is in. It’s a new era in Phillies baseball and there is a sudden buzz of excitement swarming over the Philadelphia baseball community.

Arguably the biggest buzz is surrounding the roster overhaul. This season saw the departures of two of the biggest stars that the Phillies have ever had, in Chase Utley and Cole Hamels. Both deals brought back a fair amount of talent, but that’s only part of the battle. There’s also the development of that talent, in addition to other youngsters, and any possible free agent additions that are brought in.

As demonstrated in other sports, not all free agent “splashes” turn out to be good ones. Hell, that’s even been prominent in baseball as of late (Hello, Pablo Sandoval!). So, while many fans are eager for the team to win sooner rather than later….they also need to understand that the Phils have to spend their money wisely. One wrong investment can set an organization back upwards of five years.

This off-season is arguably one of the more pivotal ones in this team’s history. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins are gone and off of the payroll. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are the two lone Phillies originals from the ’08 World Series team left. The key to this off-season, is for the team to spend their money wisely, while focusing on the development of their prospects.


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Following The 40: Off-season Primer

October 12th, 2015 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Following The 40: Off-season Primer | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies


As the Phillies off-season begins, the first order of business was to pair down the roster to 40 players including ones that would be coming off of injured status. Earlier last week, the Phillies outrighted Justin De Fratus (who recently elected free agency), Jonathan Pettibone, Adam Loewen, Ken Roberts, Erik Kratz, Jordan Danks, and Chase d’Arnaud. The roster currently stands at forty, but with a strong likelihood that Cliff Lee, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Brian Bogusevic, Jeff Francoeur, and Andres Blanco all head to free agency.

Francoeur and Blanco are expected to be asked to return, but will both certainly be given offers with other clubs. Domonic Brown may have seen his last inning as a Phillie as he has a very strong chance of being non-tendered a contract. Jesse Biddle and David Buchanan are both likely to be outrighted in the near future due to their respective injury statuses. That sets the Phillies at 30 players.

Whoever the next General Manager may be, while they have the resources, there probably won’t be any huge splashes for 2016. In fact, the Phillies acquisitions will most likely be role players and players coming off of injury looking to establish value. The rotation will most likely consist of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Adam Morgan as pitchers three thru five with Alec Asher and Severino Gonzalez given opportunities.

Matt Harrison, whom the Phillies acquired at the trade deadline in the Cole Hamels deal, could also be an option if he is healthy enough to compete. The Phillies could also add from within with Zach Eflin and Ben Lively as potential candidates. My personal targets for the Phillies to add from free agency: Mat Latos or Doug Fister.


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The Phillies future is as dim as ever.

June 5th, 2015 by Kyle Lutz | Comments Off on The Phillies future is as dim as ever. | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

This may seem obvious as it’ll ever be, and every Phillies’ fan knows it, but here I’ll break down, bit by bit, why the Phillies’ future’s looking dim. I see no reason thus far, based on personnel moves by Ruben Amaro (Jr), to believe they’ll be a contender in (at least) the next five-six years. Here are some of the reasons listed below as to why I believe so.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. 

I think, or I at least hope, the majority of Phillies’ fans can agree with me that Amaro holds significant blame for the downfall of the Phillies. Since he took over in ’09 for Pat Gillick, who won the World Series with the team a year prior and then retired, the team’s declined ever year. Even though they made the playoffs from 2009-11, they went from atop the mountain to the one of the worst teams in baseball.

In 2009, they went to the World Series and lost it in six to the Yankees, in 2010, they lost to San Francisco in the National League Championship Series, and in 2011 (despite winning a franchise record 102 games), they lost to St. Louis in the first round. After that, they haven’t made the playoffs since. They won 81 games the next year, and since then, they’ve won just 73 games the past-two years, finishing in last place last season. So far this year, they’re no better, with a win-loss record of 21-33; the second worst record in the league (ahead of Milwaukee). Point being, they’ve gotten worst each year.


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Chase’s Fall From Grace?

April 26th, 2015 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Chase’s Fall From Grace? | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies, Sports


The Phillies are now 18 games into the 2015 season, and here’s something I never thought I’d ever have to write: Chase Utley is batting an abysmal .125. That’s right – for every eight at-bats, Uts is getting just one hit. As you can probably guess, his OPS (.420 for those of you keeping track) is also depressingly low. To be fair, his 9 RBIs thus far (which put him on pace for 81 on the season) do resemble the Chase Utley we all know and love: the player who does that it takes to advance baserunners.

It’s painful enough to watch a 6-12 team that’s trailing the Mets (the Mets!) by a full 8.0 games. Most of us are accustomed to having to wait while some players (looking at you, Howard and Hamels) find their strides. Utley, though, is generally someone we can count on to be consistent, both offensively and defensively, right out of the gate. Watching him struggle at the plate like this is nothing short of depressing.

What’s going on with Chase? Ryne Sandberg has shuffled his lineup around a bit, but Utley’s batting woes won’t be solved by adjusting the order. His stance and timing are off enough to make me wonder if there’s pain about which Utley is remaining silent. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that Uts could have a nagging issue (knee, hip etc.) and he’s just not saying anything about it. My concern is that Chase, as a 36-year-old second baseman, can’t possibly bounce back the way he might have been able to ten years ago. I don’t want to see Utley’s career unravel.

I love Utley as much as the next baseball nerd, but I can’t help but wonder why he always seems to get a pass from a fanbase that is arguably the toughest and most demanding. We don’t stand for it when Papelbon runs his mouth to the media, we let our disapproval known when Ruiz is hitting below .200, and we’re not shy about our anger when Howard repeatedly strikes out. Why, then, does fellow veteran Utley seem to be above such criticism? Is turning down trade offers really enough to win over the city of Philadelphia? We’re not really a town that issues lifetime passes to players, yet it seems that fan favorite Chase Utley has one.

Now what? Do we wait until Utley’s performance worsens before we admit there’s a major problem? Or worse – do we wait until he’s legitimately hurt? Hopefully, Chase is able to find an adjustment in his stance and swing soon, and all of this speculation will have been for nothing.


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Phils Fillet Fish in Season High Run Scoring Victory

April 22nd, 2015 by Joe Buscemi | Comments Off on Phils Fillet Fish in Season High Run Scoring Victory | Filed in Baseball, Phillies, Sports

The Phillies bats were well awake in tonight’s 7-3 win over the division rival Miami Marlins. This game saw many positives for the Phils. Seven runs on seven hits, the team was clearly effective at the dish and unlike many other games did not leave men stranded in scoring position.

Ryan Howard hit a 2-run bomb to straight away center in the 6th which put the Phils back on top of the Marlins 4-3. This home run was the “big piece’s” first of the season, ending a career high drought of 42 consecutive at-bats without going yard.

The team looked to add some insurance runs in the 7th, after Francoeur & Herrera reached base safely, Ben Revere wound up knocking both runners in as he slammed his first triple of the year into the right field gap giving the Phils a 6-3 lead. Chase Utley would later send Ben home on an RBI sac fly, which would be the last of the offense the Phillies would need to knock off the fish.

Phillies starting pitcher Jerome Williams had a rather decent outing going 6 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 of them earned) on 8 hits, collected 6 strikeouts and only allowed 1 walk. The bullpen did a great job to solidify the Phillies victory. Luis Garcia and Ken Giles only allowed for a combined 2 hits in each of their innings of work. Papelbon would later get the call to close in a non-save situation (when a team is up by 4 runs in the 9th, it is not viewed as a save situation per MLB rule).


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Battered by Boston

April 7th, 2015 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Battered by Boston | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies, TalkSportsPhilly
Cole Hamels lasted 5 innings in today's opener.

Cole Hamels lasted 5 innings in today’s opener.

 Philadelphia Sports

In Shane Victorino’s first visit in a Red Sox uniform, seats at Citizens Bank Park were packed. Today’s beautiful weather was arguably the best in recent Opening Day history, but sadly, it was more of the same from starter Cole Hamels. Today marked his fifth consecutive season debut loss. Hamels lasted just 5.0 innings; despite his six strikeouts, though, Hamels allowed four homeruns on five hits and three walks.  For those of you who need a little math help, that translates to a 7.20 ERA. He was just no match for Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts. Cole’s 100 pitches (64 were strikes) came with a called balk; of course, neither Hamels nor Sandberg  appeared to be happy. To be fair, though, it was Jake Diekman who allowed Hanley Ramirez’s grand slam in his third of the ninth inning. That’s right, folks: Diekman has begun 2015 with a 108.00 ERA.

To rub salt in the wound, Philadelphia’s offense was a no-show.  With just three hits (thank you, Howard, Ruiz, and Sizemore) the Phils’ lineup managed to strand six runners.  Boston’s starting pitcher Clay Buchholz fanned nine over 7.0 innings thanks in large part to the movement in his changeup and his 92-93 mph heater. Admittedly, Philadelphia lacks power in its lineup; however, there was no compensation for that today. The Phils simply must improve their situatiinal hitting and move baserunners. Period.

No one is happier than I am that the season is underway – unless you count Rockies’ new ace Kyle Kendrick, who bagged a win today. I’m expecting a tough season for Philadelphia, and I’m ready to move past Cole’s slow start, but I’m going to need to see some offense. On a side note, there were three highlights to today’s game: 1) Ben Davis sounded right at home in the booth with Matt Stairs and Tom McCarthy, 2) “God Bless America” singer, the lovely and talented Lori McCarty, gave me goosebumps, and 3) Cole’s beard stubble gets an A+ from me (raise your hand if that surprises you at all).


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