This portion of Ryan Howard’s counter claim to the lawsuit brought by his twin brother, Corey, describes just about everything that can go wrong when an otherwise well-meaning family comes into some money: Continue reading35 Comments
WHAT A DAY THIS IS TURNING OUT TO BE!
Yesterday, the annual General Manager Meetings — more low-key than the famed “Winter Meetings,” but talks still happen — kicked off in Phoenix, where GMs will be able to start laying the groundwork for some trades and free agent signings and more. That’s where Ruben Amaro said this:
“We’re looking to improve in all areas. We’re looking to improve this year, but we’re more concerned with what we’re going to be doing down the road, improving down the road. Ultimately, you’d like to not have to take a step backward, but if that’s what we have to do for the longterm viability and sustainability of our club, that’s what we’ll try to do. Like I’ve said, we’re open to talk about anybody.”
But it’s not just “open to talk,” according to Jim Salisbury, who is reporting that the famed “rival executive” says the Phillies are “trying to blow the whole thing up,” and “everyone is for sale.” The biggest pieces the Phillies would be hesitant to move, according to this same executive, were Cole Hamels and Ken Giles. They should definitely be more hesitant about the guy who is 24.
Not on that “hesitant to move” list is Ryan Howard, who is reportedly rousing some interest within the Royals organization. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Royals think Howard could be their replacement for Billy Butler in the everyday DH role, but only if the Phillies are willing to eat most of his contract, which they reportedly are.
And as for the one piece – but not the big one – who could be coming in rather than going out? Yasmany Tomas’ agent met with Amaro yesterday, but they’re reportedly “just talking” at this point. The Phillies are still the frontrunner to land Tomas, but they’ve played spoiler to other people’s plans before — they are not down with O.P.P. — so anyone can do it to them.
UPDATE: Salisbury says the Royals thing is overblown, according to a source:
“Teams discuss every player,” the person said.
The Royals are looking for a designated hitter, but they’d prefer to add someone with more versatility, probably a player that can play some outfield, as well. Sounds like Marlon Byrd, another Phillie on the trading block, could be more of a fit for the Royals.
Anything could happen with the Phillies this off-season. They could sign Yasmani Tomas. They could trade Howard/Utley/Rollins/Hamels/Byrd/anyone. They could make some moves to bring prospects in. We could all finally find out if Yasmani ends with an ‘i’ or a ‘y’. And sure, they could move Cody Asche to the outfield because why not.
According to Hardball Talk, the Phillies have discussed the possibility of making Asche a corner outfielder to make room for Maikel Franco at third base. This all depends on Ryan Howard’s status — if the Big Piece is gone, Franco can play first and Asche will remain at third. Additionally, if Howard stays, we’ll all be super salty about it for months.11 Comments
The MLB offseason is upon us, and with it, the difficult task of attempting to make the Phillies into a ballclub with a clean slate or at least a chance to start putting the pieces in place. To do that, you need money and young players. The Phillies are a bit low on both of those things right now so, according to Buster Olney, the trade takes have begun.
Marlon Byrd is supposedly the most attractive trade target, according to Ken Rosenthal, while Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jimmy Rollins also likely to draw interest. But the Phillies’ biggest challenge will likely be moving Ryan Howard, something they are already trying to do, according to Olney. “The mantra on Howard appears to be: He is priced to move,” Olney says, while pointing out that he pretty much has to be, since the nearly 35-year-old Howard is “still owed $60 million, with $25 million salaries for each of the next two seasons, plus a $10 million buyout of a 2017 team option of $23 million.” The classic Ruben contract.
The Phils will undoubtedly face difficulty trying to move the Big Piece, since his owed money — like the Phillies — does not equate to his performance. Last year, Howard put in his first full season of work since 2011. And compared to 2011, when Howard was on the back-end of his prime and put in roughly the same number of at-bats as 2014, things have dipped. In 2014, he had:
The Phillies are going to need to set a low price on Howard, or he won’t be going anywhere. There aren’t many clubs willing to pay $25 million for a .380 slugging percentage and 190 strikeouts. Ruben will also need to take into account the fact that other managers and GMs will start comparing Howard’s production to other DHs — where his numbers do not hold up against his salary or the salaries of others — and with that, Howard’s return value seems to be dropping by the minute.13 Comments
Well, technically two and a half: The Sporting News just released their list of the worst everyday players in the major leagues at every position, and the Phillies made a strong showing for being weak. The worst everyday first baseman? Well, you can guess that:
Yes, on the surface it seems odd for WAR to say a player who is fourth in the NL with 93 RBIs is the worst everyday first baseman in baseball. And Howard has certainly been at his best with runners on base: a .256 average and .802 OPS, compared to .182 and .552 with the bases empty. But he’s never been much of a fielder (Inside Edge numbers) show he’s only made 17 of 50 plays at first base deemed to be outside of the routine this year) or much of a runner. And when you add his career-worst .220 average and .682 OPS to the mix, he winds up on this list for 2014.
Left field? The man responsible for that not-uncommon occurrence above, Dom Brown:
In 139 games last year, Brown hit 27 home runs and posted a 1.7 WAR for the Phillies in a breakthrough season. This year, through 140 games, he has 10 home runs and a minus-1.3 WAR. That’s quite a regression. His struggles reached the point where, earlier this month, there were reports that the Phillies will look to trade him in the offseason. That’s not what anyone expected after Brown made the 2013 All-Star team.
And when it comes to starting pitching, the saddest award in all of baseball goes to Roberto Fausto Edward James Olmos Carmona Hernandez, who spent his season with the Phillies until just after the trade deadline. He actually did pretty decent here and made the list due to his dismal showing with the Dodgers. But that doesn’t really make me feel any better, because he was tied with someone else we know very well:
Hernandez was actually a relatively positive part of the Phillies’ rotation for much of the year (3.87 ERA/4.67 FIP), but in eight starts after the Dodgers traded for him, he’s posted a 4.74 ERA and 5.28 FIP … Worth a mention: Kyle Kendrick, Phillies. Kendrick has identical 0.4 WARs for both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference, which isn’t too surprising considering his ERA (4.61) is nearly identical to his FIP (4.57). And neither number is good.
The good news? In his final season, while everyone can’t get over how amazing a player he was even until the very end, Derek Jeter takes the title at shortstop.8 Comments
Ryan Howard’s massive moat-mansion, as we previously mentioned, is still being built. It’s been in the works for a long time, but now thanks to the Tampa Bay Times, we know more about the place. For example, did you know Ryan Howard is spending $80,000 on doorknobs alone? $80,000 — which looks like this in cash — is likely more than you make in a year. Ryan Howard has your yearly worth in a bunch of doorknobs.
Additionally, the $5.8 million (ONLY?) mansion will feature eight bedrooms (one of which I assume is for Ruben to crash in, as a thank you for the house), at least ten bathrooms, “a two-story library, a trophy room, two kitchens, three laundry rooms, two elevators, a wine room and a bowling alley.” Oh, and we can’t forget the “swimming pool complete with an underwater treadmill and lazy river that floats under the mansion.”
It’s like he watched a whole bunch of MTV Cribs and was like “Yo, I want everything from all of those places.” The bowling alley idea definitely came from Penny Hardaway’s house.
h/t PhillyMag64 Comments
Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros played the real life version of that episode of South Park where they didn’t want to play baseball anymore. Ryan Howard hit a home run in the second inning, which gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead until Houston scored a run in the 7th. Then it went scoreless for another eight innings. Howard eventually drove in the winning run — actually beating the shift, truly waking up anyone who fell asleep at the game — in the bottom of the 15th. After winning the game in front of (an estimated) 600 tired fans, Howard did his best Ruben Amaro impression:
“You know, I think you guys forget what I’ve done. You guys look at what’s going on right now. People forget what I’ve done. Ryno has played the game. He knows. He knows the ups and downs of the game and he knows you’re going to have good days and bad days. For me, I’m just going to go out there and grind it out.”
When will Ruben and now Howard realize that we really appreciate what they did in the past, but it’s now six years later and that thankfulness has turned with (at best) impatience.
Chase Utley was intentionally walked to reach Howard, the sixth time this year such a thing has happened. According to Todd Zolecki, “He was 0-for-5 with one hit by pitch in those situations. He once reached on an error.” And speaking of Zolecki, he lays into the Phillies — almost as passive-aggressively as Howard poked writers and fans — in his recap, saying things like:
It was the Phillies’ fifth game of 14 or more innings this season, which tied a franchise record first set in 1958. It also was their sixth game of 13 or more innings, their most in a season since 1980, when they also played six and won the World Series …
Howard hit a home run to left-center field in the second inning against Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel. It was his 17th homer of the season as he tries to recapture some of the power and production that made him a $125 million man.
What Zolecki, fans, other media, other GMs, and basically everyone but Amaro and Howard realize is this: That can never be recaptured, and the time to remember the past is gone. It’s not even the time to think about the now. It’s time to think about the future, and has been for a long time.30 Comments
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies have put Ryan Howard, A.J. Burnett, Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick, and Roberto Hernandez on waivers. These players can now be claimed by anyone, or clear waivers and be dealt to any team, or be pulled back off of waivers for whatever reason the Phillies want. They’re finally doing something about this roster though, and we’ll keep an eye on all of these guys.12 Comments