October 17, 2014 |
REPLACE "DODGERS" with "Phillies" and see how it feels . . . Los Angeles Times : "Dodgers' hiring of executive Andrew Friedman signals a cultural shift. " ESPN.com: "Dodgers stepping into 21st century with Andrew Friedman" Baseball Prospectus: "The Rich [Dodgers] Get Smarter" Anyway, heeeere's Johnny. (crickets) Johnny Almaraz. (crickets) You know, the Phillies' new amateur scouting director. Anyone? (crickets) Hey, he might be the best damn scouting director in the history of major league baseball.
December 31, 2008
What? Ryan Howard, Mr. Phillies, finished fourth in a year when the Phillies won the World Series? Well, yes. So much is made of what Howard does too much of that sometimes what he does do seems underappreciated. It is appreciated exactly the right amount. In a two-horse race, Howard finished second in NL MVP voting, well behind Albert Pujols, mainly because Howard, the 2006 MVP, struck out 199 times and hit .251, lower than any MVP winner. Howard, in his third full season, led the NL in home runs and RBI, but with all the whiffs and the laughable .215 average through June, finishing second was justice served.
October 22, 2014 |
Vince Gennaro is a smart man. He's a consultant to several franchises around Major League Baseball, advising them on how to remain relevant and competitive and financially responsible. He wrote a book years ago called Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball , and in the late 1970s, before the acronyms WAR and FIP had become part of mainstream baseball lexicon, he created his own player-valuation system. Again, Gennaro's sharp. He answered his phone Monday, on the eve of the World Series, to field a couple of seemingly simple questions: What can the Phillies learn from the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals?
September 11, 2010 |
NEW YORK - Ryan Howard either can't explain it or would prefer not to even try. After all, superstition is in just about every baseball player's DNA, so why invite a jinx? But for whatever reason - sharper focus, pennant-race adrenaline - September has been Howard's most productive month since he took root as the Phillies' full-time cleanup hitter in 2006. He's at it again. Howard hit an impressive bases-empty home run to tie Friday's game against the Mets at Citi Field, 3-3. It was his fifth homer in 10 games this month and third in three games.
April 15, 2009 |
Ryan Howard has made a number of changes since the Phillies won a World Series championship last October. He signed a multiyear contract. He dropped about 20 pounds. He labored to improve his defense. And, canny observers may have noticed, he began wearing a mouthpiece during games. The first baseman, 29, is always seeking ways to improve. When he saw Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez sporting a clear mouthpiece on his lower row of teeth last season, Howard was intrigued.
October 16, 2014 |
PERHAPS BECAUSE he was (and still is) the greatest player in franchise history, the question of who would take over the reins for Mike Schmidt at third base became an easy story with each passing year since the Hall of Famer retired. With the exception of Scott Rolen, whose own tenure in Philly and ugly exit out only adds to the story line, third base really has been a black hole for the quarter century since Schmidt's retirement. While Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard filled the rest of the infield for the last decade, third base has been a revolving door.
July 21, 2013 |
WHEN HE WENT on the disabled list earlier this month with a torn meniscus in his left knee, Ryan Howard had just surpassed the 5,000 mark for career major league plate appearances. So we thought it convenient to break his career numbers down into five segments, each ending with the game where he accumulated another 1,000 PA. And, as suspected, the early Ryan Howard was by far the best, as virtually all of his numbers below show: Plate Bat. On-Base Slug. HR SO From To (Age)
July 3, 2013 |
THE PHILLIES had been so sorry for so long that it really seemed their forever fate. Ryan Howard intervened. Your baseball team had been in the playoffs once from 1984 to 2006. They were mostly bad, usually boring and without imagination or inspiration. Ryan Howard intervened. He was the accidental Rookie of the Year in 2005. When Jim Thome got hurt, Howard got called up and went for 22 homers and 63 RBI in just 88 games. You wonder if Phillies management of that era ever would have understood what they had if Thome had not been injured.
August 22, 2014 |
IT ALL COMES back to the first baseman. As vehemently as Ruben Amaro Jr. shot down reports that the Phillies had discussed releasing Ryan Howard in the offseason, the organization's immediate and long-term futures are very much tied to their decision-making with regard to their $25 million-a-year slugger. Since his 3-day benching in late July, Howard is hitting just .202/.298/.348 with three home runs and 29 strikeouts in 89 at-bats. With every fastball that he sends to the warning track in leftfield, it becomes increasingly clear that addition by subtraction is something the Phillies will have to seriously contemplate this offseason.