There has been plenty of speculation in regards to Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard’s future with the Phillies. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. himself spoke about Howard’s future with the club on 97.5 The Fanatic.
“We talked to Ryan, and I told him that in our situation, it would probably be better for the organization not with him, but without him. With that said, if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can, and we’ll see where it goes from there,” said Amaro.
Howard struggled last season with a batting average of .223, and on-base percentage of .310, and a career-low slugging percentage of .380. It has been no secret that Howard’s production has declined dramatically since the 2011 season, as the once feared slugger has averaged just 16 home runs, about 65 RBIs, and a batting average of .236 over the last three seasons.
To Howard’s credit, he missed a lot of time due to injuries, playing only 304 games over the last three seasons combined. However, at 35 years old, Howard is no-longer the player he once was, and with the injuries combined with his deteriorating skill set, Howard’s production has taken a major hit.
As much as the Phillies and their fans would love to move on from Howard, the slugger is owed $25 million the next two seasons, and finding a team that wants him has been difficult for the organization.
At this point, the Phillies are better off going into the season with Howard as their first baseman, and hope that he can produce enough to find a suitor by the trade deadline.
Before the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s annual banquet last Friday, Amaro spoke to the Philadelphia Daily News about the upcoming season for Howard. “He’s a more productive player than anybody else we have there right now,” Amaro said. “But that could change. But he’s going to get every opportunity to play and be our first baseman, and I think that he’s going to be productive. Will he be productive enough to be part of what we want to do moving forward? We’ll see.”