Amaro: Howard Has Future with Phillies

Ryan Howard, Josh TholeRuben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon that Ryan Howard still has a future with the Phillies.

“I fully expect him to be our first baseman next year,” Amaro said. “I don’t know where people are coming up with him not having a future with us. He’s a very big part of our organization.”

Ryne Sandberg benched Howard for the third consecutive game Friday, and he said Thursday there could be a platoon situation at first base going forward. Howard is the highest-paid player in baseball this season and he is owed $60 million after this year, which makes the benching and possibility of a platoon a strong indication the Phillies are looking at other options for the future.

Sources also said the Phillies have discussed multiple scenarios about Howard’s future, including the possibility of releasing him in the offseason. Asked about that, Amaro said, “All I can tell you is that’s not in our best interest. It’s not something that we’ve discussed.”

Amaro denied this is a matter of a player not being good enough to play every day. He instead said it is a measure meant to get him back on track.

“Let him mentally get regrouped,” he said. “Listen, everyone needs a break. And I think that’s more of what this is about than anything else. All of us want Ryan to be back and for Ryan to be as productive as he can be. I think that’s the goal. … We’re hopeful. We went through this with Pat Burrell. He had some good years, some bad years and some years in between. I think that’s a part of the baseball process, particularly when you get older. Chase Utley went down and became an All-Star. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. A guy can have a poor year one year and a great year the next.”

Howard’s .682 OPS this season is 207 lower than his career average (.889) and 36 points below his career low (.718 in 2012). His .377 slugging percentage is 155 points lower than his career average (.532) and 46 points below than his career low (.423 in 2012).

“I don’t have any issue with his effort,” Amaro said. “There’s some combination of relaxation and focus, there’s some combination in there that will help him get there. We’ll see. … It’s not about (upsetting him). I think it’s more about … giving him a break to get away from it.

“We don’t expect Ryan to be the Ryan Howard of ‘06, ‘07, ‘08. But we know he’s a more productive player than he has been over this past month.”

6 Comments

Ryan Howard becoming a force in the second half of the season? Honestly, the Phillies management lives in a fantasy world.

Ryan Howard becoming a force in the second half of the season? Honestly, the Phillies management lives in a fantasy world.

“Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon that Ryan Howard still has a future with the Phillies.” If there were any justice in this world, the only way he’d come back is as a cotton candy vendor making minimum wage.

Really, if this team is going to play Howard and Revere, instead of Ruf and Sizemore, they’re simply proving they don’t care about winning. I refer, of course, to Dave and Ruben. Sandberg is a man of integrity. I’m 54, I’ve been a big fan since Carlton’s ’72 season turned me on to baseball. If Howard’s back next year, I’m done.

I say, pay an American league club to take him so he can get hits for them when they are not needed… it seems Ryan made good on a few good years but was in decline before the injuries…

Ruben Amaro should be dismissed because he is clearly suffering from dementia. Now, I too want Ryan Howard to do well, but his recent performance and age say that he is not likely to do so. Perhaps, if he can not be traded, he might be used as a player-manager in the minor leagues. He might be of invaluable worth in guiding young players. If that is not an option, the Phillies should cut their losses and let him go. At this point, he takes up a spot that upcoming talent might fill better. You’ll never know until you try.

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