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Ryan Howard’s last 20 PA: 0 hits, 11 strikeouts

Jun 30, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

This tweet says it all:

For about two weeks in the middle of June, it looked like Ryan Howard had figured it out. Between June 12-22, he raised his OPS an even 100 points from .728 to .828, but it is back down to .778 after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return to the Phillies’ lineup in this afternoon’s loss. He had enjoyed a two-day reprieve to “release his mind“.

Howard now has the fourth-highest strikeout rate in the National League at 30.4 percent. With a mediocre 7.4 percent walk rate, he has the 11th-worst walk-to-strikeout ratio in the league at 0.24, per FanGraphs. He has been completely ineffective against left-handed pitching, which makes you wonder when GM Ruben Amaro will swallow his pride and demote his $125 million first baseman to one half of a first base platoon.

  1. tigersfandan - Jun 30, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Are you sure that this wasn’t written by Craig?

    • biasedhomer - Jun 30, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      If it was written by Criag, he would have added some snarky little comment about the Phils fans like “Its only a matter of time till they start throwing batteries at him”

  2. Gordon - Jun 30, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    That’s fine and all, but does he have TWTW?

  3. 13arod - Jun 30, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I like the Phills and hope he turns it around soon

  4. sportsfan18 - Jun 30, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Well, only 3 and a half more years and $95 million more dollars and they’ll be free of him. It isn’t just this bad stretch of his last 20 AB’s. Look at his stats for the past two seasons, which only total one season worth of games (146 games played the last two seasons. He played in 144 games in 2007 when he hit 47 HR’s and he played in 143 games in 2010 when he hit 31 HR’s.).

    In his last two years (146 games total between 2011 and 2012, he hit a combined total of 24 HR’s.)

    He’s owed $10 million for the rest of this season as he’s making $20 mill this year. $25 mill for 14, 15 & 2016. Then they’ll have to pay him another $10 million as a buyout from his 2017 yr.

    I don’t blame him. He wants to play and to be healthy. It’s the owners and GM’s who keep making mistakes with these contracts.

    Oh yeah, he’ll be 34, 35 & 36 in the last 3 yrs of his contract beginning next year…

    • tuberippin - Jun 30, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      Could be worse. Could be A-Rod or Teixeira. Still, this is an abomination of a contract and the move that solidified my opinion that Ruben Amaro is out to destroy what Pat Gillick built in Philadelphia.

      • biasedhomer - Jun 30, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        Its right up there with Teixeira’s contract, possibly worse. Tex at least is an above average glove and is not someone you would strongly consider to platoon.

        Tex, Arod, Howard, Werth, Pujols, Hamilton, AGonzo…all these guys are being paid based on past performance and are not living up to their contracts.

        Lesson is, its usually not a good idea to sign a guy around 30 years old to a 100 million dollar contract.

  5. siftin thru nonsense - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    All that money going to a one dimensional player that is overweight and flails at outside pitches. Doesnt make any sense. I questioned it when they signed him to that big contract. If you are going to pay that much money, dont you want someone who can run, throw, field, hit for avg and hit for power? Not just hit for power… actually he doesnt do that anymore. It is common sense, for 25M per año, you want a well-rounded player or 2 or 3 very good players. Howard needs to work harder and get committed to trying to improve. Maybe he is not healthy. If not, then go on DL and stop hurting the team. Tired of this nonsense and losing. Rebuild this. The Sixers are and the Eagles are. I am sick of this product.

  6. stex52 - Jul 1, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    I saw this way back when the Astros signed Bagwell to his last big contract. Everyone knew the arthritis in his shoulder was terrible, but they did the deal anyway. The argument was “Well, we’re not paying him for the future, we’re catching up for the bargain he was in the past.” What other business runs that way? You love these guys and the things they did for you. And maybe there is some reward for past performance blended in. And one more thing, if the name will put people in the seats you take that into account to some extent. (The Astros did that with Biggio, but on a two year basis).

    But in the end, you offer with some hope of a reasonable return, on the field and on the bottom line. Perfect examples: Pujols at St. Louis and Hamilton at Texas. Or almost any player and Tampa Bay. If you lose a marquee name it’s a pity, but if there is a bigger fool out there let him take the contract.

  7. nekelund - Jul 1, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Why is it so difficult for teams to realize that players who can only hit for power and can’t hit for average (think Mark McGuire at the end of his career) should not get monster contracts? Jeff Bagwell, as mentioned in another comment, was a great example, as would be Delmon Young. Guys with average and good OBP and/or solid D who also hit for power can retain those skills as they age and their HRs go down, but Howard, a one-trick pony, had nowhere to go but down. While OPS is a valuable statistical tool, one of its primary weaknesses if used out of context is that it doesn’t distinguish between well-rounded hitters and hitters like Howard who have huge differences between their SLG (which can rise much more quickly than OBP with a few good swings of the bat) and OBP, making undisciplined power hitters look much better by comparison than they should.

    The difference between Howard and A-Rod, Mark Texeira, Albert Pujols and many other players who similarly got contracts that were too big and for too long is that A-Rod, Texeira and Pujols provided defense, hitting for average and, in A-Rod’s case, speed, whereas Howard literally does one thing: swing the bat hard, making his deal that much worse than these other guys.

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