Amaro Not Contemplating Releasing Howard – Phillies Nation

Amaro Not Contemplating Releasing Howard

Jim Salisbury of spoke with Ruben Amaro Jr. who vehemently denied that the Phillies were discussing releasing Ryan Howard.

“That is not something we are contemplating,” Amaro said Friday morning. “I don’t know where that’s coming from.

“Our goal is to try to get Ryan Howard straightened out so he can be a more productive player for us. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t expect him to be the Ryan Howard of 2006, 2007, 2008. What we expect is him to perform better than he is. I know he’s a better player than this.

“Has to keep working and it’s up to us to help facilitate that. That’s on him and on us to help him get back to being a productive player.”

That’s, of course, what a GM is paid to do; soothe the ego of the expensive first baseman while attempting to quell the rumors that will inevitably emanate from this steaming pile of a season. That’s fine. But is it true?

I do not believe outright releasing Ryan Howard is the correct move – not yet anyway. I’d give him another offseason to rework his swing and start him ONLY against right handed pitching next season in a straight platoon with a first baseman who offers solid splits against lefties. If that fails, then the Phillies will have no choice but to move after during, or after, the 2015 season.

But back up to what the GM is supposed to do.

Is it really Ruben’s job at this juncture of the season to stick up for anyone involved with a team that is underperforming in spades? If anything, Amaro should be leaving all options open, even in comments to the media and fans. Also from Salisbury’s post on

Amaro was asked if he expected to see Howard in Clearwater in February.

“I absolutely anticipate that to be the case, certainly,” he said.

How can that absolutely be expected? Wouldn’t Amaro be better served by saying “we’ll be looking at every angle with every single player on this roster because, frankly, no one has earned or deserves anything after the last three seasons.” That certainly sounds like something Amaro would say. And it would apply here. More from Amaro:

“It happens to the best players in the game. Guys go in funks. He’s been there a while.”

Amaro said Howard “should have no concerns” about being released.

It’s understandable that Amaro is attempting to play peacemaker between Howard and manager Ryne Sandberg, who benched Howard the last two nights, including sitting the Big Piece against Tim Hudson, a pitcher he has destroyed frequently in his career. However, everyone with two eyes knows that Ryan Howard is much more than “a funk.” He’s been in that funk for a while because his swing is broken and his body likely failing him in its lower half. There’s no more room for coach/GM-speak. Time to lay all the cards on the table and leave no stone unturned.

Howard should absolutely be concerned about being released. He should be concerned about everything involving this situation with the Phillies. As should Amaro, who is short-changing himself by 100 percent sticking up for the most expensive player on his roster outside of Cole Hamels. Amaro has the opportunity to send a message with his words to the underachievers and he failed to do so here.



  1. Lefty

    July 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Simple answer Pat, If there remains any chance of trading him, no matter how unlikely, then IMO Amaro’s comments are totally appropriate. How much value does a guy who is verging on release bring you in trade?

  2. CK

    July 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Agree with both Pat and Lefty here. I don’t think it makes any sense to release Howard now. If you’re paying him, you might as well give him 1 more chance next spring. I think the current situation is about seeing Darin Ruf and trying to win as many games as possible. It makes no difference to us whether the Phils win 60 games or 75 games this year, but it does make a difference to Sandberg. He doesn’t want to have a 100 losses on his record as a 1st year manager. Maybe Ruf shows something or gets hot. He also a better fielder and baserunner than Howard. And the team probably wants to figure out if he is an MLB player going forward.

    Now if you can trade Howard and save some money. According to Heyman, Howard may be worth 3-5 million/year. So if you’re thinking you can pick up 50 of the 60 million that’s owed to him, then you definitely deny you’re gonna release him. Who knows? Seattle just traded for Kendrys Morales and agreed to pay him $4 million for the rest of this year and he’s been terrible this year.

  3. Jael

    July 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I agree on some of it .
    all ryan Howard to do is work on has hits for next year I pt him on top of the lineup next year see where it takes the phillies thing ben Revere on top you see did not take the phillies nowhere

  4. Double Trouble Del

    July 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Interesting, disconcerting article posted in Fangraphs

  5. PaMikeyDC

    July 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I agree NOT to release him. However, I disagree w the comment that he’s worried of being released. 60million to not work for the next 2 years. Ha ha, I’ll take that. (Kidding- sort of)

    • Lefty

      July 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Any day !

    • schmenkman

      July 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Mikey, I know you’re sort of kidding, but I’ll say it anyway because I think there are some people who actually thing that. I know if I’m getting the $60 million either way, I would much rather get it while doing the thing I love, and which is all I’ve known my entire life, than to suffer the humiliation of being released. And I would bet Howard feels the same way.

  6. Scotty Ingerton

    July 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Besides the actual parameters of the contract, the timing of when Amaro decided to extend Howard was what made it such a terrible decision. There was just no reason to extend Howard with almost two full seasons remaining on his existing deal – especially since he was already showing the signs of decline. Amaro now has his beloved “cost certainty” at the firstbase position – unfortunately it is at the expense of allocating $25 million a year to a guy who isn’t even performing at replacement level.

    • schmenkman

      July 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Scotty (of the 1911 Boston Rustlers) —

      He was coming off arguably the 2nd best season of his career, including a .931 OPS, 139 wRC+, with 45 HR and 141 RBI.

      I couldn’t agree more that it was a mistake signing him so early, but what were the obvious signs of decline that you’re always referring to?

  7. Keith L

    July 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Of course Amaro is saying he isn’t thinking about cutting Howard. Doing so would be an admission from Amaro that he messed up the Howard signing.

  8. PaMikeyDC

    July 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Yeah @schmenkman I totally agree w you. Your character means so much more than money (well to me it does).

  9. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    July 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I don’t think releasing him helps. Not do I know what the solution is to the conundrum created by the front office of schmucks and Howard’s performance. However, if releasing him and eating 60 million means Ruin’s job, then I’m all for it!

  10. George

    July 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I totally disagree with the statement, “Amaro has the opportunity to send a message with his words to the underachievers and he failed to do so here.” Amaro would gain NO friends and no support by belittling a player in the press. I’m sure that “underachievers” have reasons for not playing as well as they once could, things such as repaired tendons and age, and are doing their best to improve their performance. Trying to frighten a player into improvemment not only breeds resentment, but it is totally ineffective. Do you honestly believe by singling out Howard, that other players not quite performing, such as Brown, will somehow pick up thier games?

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard such a specious criticism of Amaro as that one in your last sentence.

    • schmenkman

      July 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Well said, I also completely disagreed with that sentence.

  11. Oran Kelley

    July 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I think you are confusing what Ruben Amaro says to the press and what Ryan Howard understands to be the case. Those aren’t the same thing.

    What you are arguing for is NOT that Ryan Howard should be made to understand that the Phillies are displeased and are considering every option with regard to Ryan Howard. I think Howard already knows this. What you are suggesting is that Amaro should communicate these facts through the press. I think that would be moronic.

    Read this slowly: The only way the Phillies will recoup anything, anything at all, is if Ryan Howard starts to hit more like Ryan Howard while wearing a Phillies uniform. The prospect for that happening is nothing but diminished if you pull a jackass move like you suggest.

    Face facts: No one is going to give the Phillies anything at all of value for Howard. Clearing the roster space means what? That we can bring back Tony Gwynn Jr? The only way to recoup anything is for Howard to show he can hit again while we’ve still got him. Full stop.

    Publicly humiliating Howard will serve absolutely no constructive purpose.

  12. Dave

    July 25, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Amaro in 2016…”We need to get Ryan straightened out. I don’t expect him to be the player he was 2 years ago. If we can get him batting over .100 and driving in 45-50 runs this year, that would be tremendous.”

  13. teejayvee

    July 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    If Howard is released, then Amaro should have to be released.,no?

  14. teejayvee

    July 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I think that would explain Ruben’s comments. An outright release is a scathing indictment of him.

  15. Oran Kelley

    July 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    What exactly would be gained by releasing him?

  16. bacardipr05

    July 26, 2014 at 12:42 am

    I agree with the benching. I think Howard needs a break. I dont agree with the timing of it and the way it was initially handled. Also i think Heyman and the other gossip columnist added fuel to the fire, making a tricky and difficult situation worse. No point on releasing Howard now. It wont prove anything really. Who besides Brown among the starting pos players are drastically under performing? So he is really just sending a message to whom Brown? Give him a chance in the off season let him work and he needs to watch tons of video etc.

  17. Lefty

    July 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Need some help with some financial questions regarding Ryan Howard. Again, I’m a baseball man, not well versed in the business side.

    Is it MLBPA legal for the Phils to offer Howard a buy out? Has it ever been done?

    Wouldn’t it help the Phillies with Luxury Tax if they could pay Howard 10m a year for 5 or 6 years as opposed to 50 for the next 2 and 10 after that? Is that even allowed by the MLBPA?

    Any help on this is much appreciated

    • Hogey's Role

      July 26, 2014 at 11:56 am

      I do remember last year I think the mets bought Jason bay’s contract out, however I don’t know the details of how the money was paid out, or how it would have to be in Howard’s case… I do know that it’s been done but much like you idk how the finances would have to work out

      • Lefty

        July 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        BTW I’m not advocating that they do this, just checking options to see if it’s even possible should they decide to dump out.

  18. wbramh

    July 26, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    “Amaro should be leaving all options open, even in comments to the media and fans.”

    Yep. Definitive comments don’t help Ruben. In fact, making comments in general seems hazardous for Ruben. But the local press gets angry when a manager or coach doesn’t explain every move or non-move to them in instant detail – as if every sensitive dealing should be public knowledge (see: Eskin, Howard).

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