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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.

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