The Philadelphia Phillies are fresh off a series against the San Francisco Giants where they lost 3 of 4 in Philly, and that is the least of their worries right now. The biggest worry is where most of the team will be playing in about a week — when the trade deadline comes up.
We knew what this team was — and the biggest optimists even knew that they were not good enough to really compete with the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves of the world. We just hoped that by some miracle, their old core (Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz) would somehow find the fountain of youth and catch lightning in a bottle.
Howard is the trickiest one and would be the hardest to trade now. He isn’t really a great trade target because he isn’t having a great year and the money he makes is way too outrageous.
He’s under contract until 2017 and scheduled to make about $25 million for the next 4 years.
Injuries limited him to only 151 games during the 2012 and 13′ seasons, and this year he was hoping that he could regain his old form. After all, he hasn’t had a full season since 11′ — and he did hit 33 homers that year.
He still cannot hit lefties, he’s batting only .209 with 40 strikeouts in 81 At-Bats and and still struggles mightily against breaking balls.
He does have 60 RBI’s on the year, but he’s only batting .156 during the month of July.
Manager Ryne Sandberg notices his struggles.
They called up First Baseman/Outfielder Darin Ruf yet again, and to do that, they placed John Mayberry Jr. on the 15-day Disabled List with “Left Wrist inflammation”.
Ruf was in the starting lineup last night against the Giants, as the first baseman. This move was understandable, considering they were facing nasty lefty Madison Bumgarner.
Today’s move was a complete surprise. He was sat yet again in favor of Ruf, facing pitcher Tim Hudson — who Howard owns by the way. He has a .328 average (22-67) with 7 HR’s and 17 RBI’s in 67 AB’s against Hudson. That goes back to those Atlanta days.
I’m sure Sandberg saw those numbers. The fact that he still sat him for a guy with not even a full year of major league experience tells me this will probably be a constant thing all season.
Now that we have figured out what they will do with Howard, now we just have to wait and see if Rollins and Utley will waive their no-trade clauses to play elsewhere.
Pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels could also be on the move. Hamels is the biggest nane because he has been in a zone lately. Fellow pitchers Antonio Bastardo‘s name has been tossed around alot. Kyle Kendrick‘s name has even popped up in trade talks.
Marlon Byrd has been the most consistent offensive player for the Phils, so it would be a blow to the team to lose him, but if they could any kind of prospect for him, they would be content. I am sure there is some American League team out there that needs a bat.
Howard is a guy that is a far cry from that 05′ rookie of the year and that 06′ MVP. Playing 3-4 times a week instead of 5-6 times a week is probably a good thing for a guy who hasn’t had an extra base hit since July 10th.
– Khristian Peel
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