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Monday, July 25, 2005

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Jason: 19 of those 34 at-bats away from the Bank came during his first call-up in May, when he was rarely used and ill-used. Indeed, they came during his first appearances in a Phillies uniform this season. Just had to weigh in on that one.

Small sample size is a real thing, indeed Tom. While Howard has hit better than Thome, Thome has had only 242 plate appearances (about 100 less than Abreau), and has a better OBP.

Howard has been a delight, no doubt, and will continue to improve. But at his best, he's not going to be as good as Thome at his best. The million dollar question is how healthy is Thome? If he can produce like the Thome of the past 2 years, he's a far superior alternative to Howard, no matter how promising Howard might be. If he fails to regain his strike this year, Howard is a very good NL first baseman.

I'm hoping that Thome comes back strong for the rest of the year. If that happens, then the Phils make the playoffs.

It's amazing how there are very few concrete answers with this team. At any rate, I'll be curious to see how Howard performs against pitchers that have seen him before. As I asked somewhere else, will they adjust to him and will he in turn adjust?

Interesting thoughts, Jason, and the comments on this have been perceptive, too. I think the Phillies can probably sit on this for the rest of the season, but come November they're going to have to make a decision.

One thing you can say about Howard, if they decide to trade him now or November: His value is higher than it was last winter. Many people, including myself, thought it would never be higher than after his record-breaking year in the minors.

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