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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Its Dpat Day on BL.

I wouldn't be hitting weak little groundball outs. No sirree!

"For several years, the Phillies have traded off power, patience and the side effect of strikeouts for more contract. " I like the subtle dig at Ryan Howard's deal there.

Yeah, this basically sums it up.


I also agree with Sophist's point in the last thread.

Whatever you may think of Charlie's in-game decision-making (and I normally disagree with a lot of it), this has nothing to do with coaching. It has to do with putting bad players on the field.

Bad players = bad team. No coach in the world can change that.


Ryan Howard has 1 HR this month. The only months of his career where he didn't hit multiple HR were May 2005 (7 games played) and August 2010 (10 games played).

HammRadio -- That's a pretty hilarious typo

"Both signed bargains and both have produced"

Corey: I think you and RAJ have different definitions of "production"

The struggles are 100% on Ruben.
The old core has aged as expected and nobody has been brought in to pick up the slack. Burrell/Ibanez then Werth left and they were not replaced. The Phillies are appreciably worse at every position (1-8) than they were in 2008-2010. Granted, 3rd base is debatable.

typo... freudian slip... :)

The Phillies were a top 5 offense from 2003 to 2010. The last two years league average. (Although if you only read beerleaguer daily you would think they were they were the worst offense in the league).

Finally the offense has caught up to the complaints.

I really thought Revere would have added something to this team. His speed has virtually no value because he cannot get on base. He can't even get on with his speed (beating infield hits/or bunts for basehits).

Brown despite a 10 day stretch has been just about awful, except for having a decent walk rate. (Mayberry who gets ripped a bit here, has had a decent season so far and walking about the same rate as Brown. He's just not an everyday player and probably shouldn't be facing as many right handers as he is)

And Kratz has been well.. a disappointment...

And while all that week contact is happening, they are striking out almost as much as the BRAVES!!! 3rd in the league in strikeouts. (Last year the Phillies had the fewest strikeouts in the league).

Its about as bad as you can get.

At least Delmon Young is almost here... :(

They're probably as good as they were as SS and 2B. And their SP and Bastardo/Adams/Papelbon is more than good enough to contend.

- Ruiz suspension
- Howard contract
- lack of production from most of OF
- terrible middle relief

How much better would this team be with Brandon Moss at 1B and Nick Swisher in RF? No Howard contract would probably also mean someone besides Revere in CF (I still like Revere, though).

I don't know if Rollins and Utley are as good as they were during their run of division titles. I'm pretty confident that they aren't. Neither one of them is likely to win another MVP. They've each lost a step in the field too.

Trade Howard to an AL team.. Lots of teams would love Howard as a DH.

"The old core has aged as everyone except RAJ expected and nobody has been brought in to pick up the slack."

Fixed it.

"Pence helped in 2011 but perfectly exemplifies the skills the organization has gotten away from."

I'm not sure I follow this - do you mean Hunter Pence exemplifies patience and power? That's what the sentence says, but that's not really my image of Hunter Pence, he with the career .338 OBP.

Or do you mean he exemplifies the wrong turn the Phillies have taken?

Don't worry, Dickson figured everything out

Maybe Rube is the one who's uncoachable. Doesn't seem like he learned much from working under Gillick, in other words.

To a certain extent, it's just the natural cycle and there's nothing you can do. You have a core, they get older, because you were successful you don't have draft picks/prospects, and so you go back to being bad again. Certainly a large part of this is just that.

On the other hand, there are ways around that, but you need to judge talent well and hit on some moves. Amaro could've tried to sign Josh Willingham/Carlos Beltran instead of Papelbon last year. He could've tried to trade for Denard Span instead of Ben Revere, if he had to have a Twins CF (Span being the better offensive player). There is an infinite number of moves he could've made, that may or may not have worked out, but we know the ones he has made have not.

The Cardinals have maintained long-term success despite losing Pujols, primarily by hitting on a few FA signings (Berkman, Beltran) and developing their own guys (Freese, Craig, Jay, Lynn, Adams) despite the lack of draft picks. We haven't done that at all.

So, sure, some of this is natural, and totally out of Amaro's hands. But some of it simply boils down to the lack of talent on the field, and whatever excuses there may be, at a certain point you're either finding/developing talent, or you're not.

I would love to get some young exciting ball players on this team..

"Trade Howard to an AL team.. Lots of teams would love Howard as a DH."

Agreed. If there's one commodity that every American League team is looking for, it's a .700 OPS DH with $105M in guaranteed salary over the next 4 years.

To go along with Corey's post today...

Good piece by Dave Murphy. (I like the clever headline.) Sad, like reading about your family dog no longer able to walk up the stairs and there's only so much anyone can do about it.

Or if that doesn't work, here's his Tweeted link:

Last night, Charlie Manuel spoke like a man who has looked into the eye of the devil: (promo code H66A)

I don't think anybody can realistically make the argument that Pedro Feliz was/is a better hitter than Michael Young.

Utley is producing somewhere between his 2009 and 2010 numbers as well, and Rollins is also replicating his 2009 season numbers (tiny bit less power, better BA/OBP). We also didn't expect a whole lot from Ruiz (.683 OPS in '09) on offense back then - although his D is also miles ahead of Kratz.

However, 1B and the entire outfield are pretty far below what we were accustomed to receiving in 2006-2010 era, and the bench (with the exception of Nix, I guess?) is drastically less power-oriented.

I would've traded our entire minor league system for Justin Upton.

Every single player.

Dickson's a troll's troll. Like what George Carlin was to funny people.

Jack - Yes, some of it is the life cycle of the core. But I think it doesn't need to be this bad. I mean, the Howard contract alone is clearly costing this team wins, and was an obviously bad move. $20M-$25M towards, at least, two offensive positions and replacing a guy with negative value.

gobay - So far, Utley and Rollins are as good this year as they were in those prime years. Will Utley post an .880 OPS this year? I'd bet against it. But the lack of runs isn't due to a fall off from them.

Jack - How about Singleton, Cosart, Zeid, and Domingo Santana?

Yeah, Utley as a 134 OPS+ so far (.871 OPS) and Rollins has a 92 OPS+. Rollins' 2008-2012 OPS+ is 95. He's a pretty steady player.

Let's just compare to 2010

2013 / 2010 (OPS, (OPS+))

C: .593 (58) / .815 (133)
1B: .682 (80) / .838 (108)
2B: .759 (121) / .777 (116)
3B: .817 (136) / .697 (89)
SS: .805 (133) / .673 (94)
LF: .615 (65) / .807 (109)
CF: .470 (29) / .793 (116)
RF: .655 (82) / .867 (120)

Kratz, Howard, every OF position

Jack: I agree Ruben could have made moves that worked out better, but I don't buy his "we were aiming solely for Revere all along" spiel. Span went for more than we gave up for Revere, and I'm thinking Ruben was extremely leery of depleting the farm any more than he has - even for someone with 3 years of control (although not ridiculously cheap for that timeframe).

Sophist: Right, that was my point. Some of it is cycle. But some is obvious mismanagement.

The proof is in the pudding. You either have talent on the field or you don't, and there's enough ways to get it (trades, FA, prospects), that there isn't really a lot of excuses with a $170 million payroll to not have talent on the field.

Actually, I thought the inclusion of Pence in that article was sort of puzzling. The theme of the article was that the Phillies were much better off back in the days when they had a high-strikeout lineup which drew walks & hit for power, as opposed to today's low-strikeout lineup which never walks & makes tons of weak contact. Isn't Hunter Pence an absolute prototype of the FORMER, and not the latter?

Ryan Howard has drawn 3 walks the entire month of April.

I mean, the guy bats in the middle of the lineup. Are you kidding me?

Jack - Yeah, especially since a bulk of that aging core (Lee, Hamels, Utley, Rollins) is playing well. Maybe they won't continue to play well, but I think the solid guys from those great years are good enough that the bigger issue is what FO has done around them.


I can't take watching this team hit. Can't f-ing take it. I don't know if they are pressing or what but I'd like to throw against them so I can feel good about myself. Revere is straight up terrible. If this guy doesn't right himself the fanbase will turn on him quick. I had no problem with going on contact but swinging at the first pitch is just terrible.

Serious question many balls has he hit into the actual outfield? Meaning traveled in the air and landed in the outfield. Does this stat exist? I know there are spray charts for actual hits but I want to know how often he has elevated the f-ing baseball and gotten it out of the infield. I'm not expecting the guy to hit 25 home runs but a line drive here and there would be nice.

"Trade Howard to an AL team.. Lots of teams would love Howard as a DH."

I don't think people realize how bad Howard is right now...The Phils would have to throw 15 mil a year at the other team just to start the conversation about a Howard trade. His injury/struggles and contract give him negative value to pretty much any team, DH or no.

His massive and rapid decline is the biggest problem for this team right now...there isn't a single major power threat in the middle of the lineup.

Ryan Howard is a $20M singles hitter.

Joe D - Revere has put 71 balls in play. 21 to the OF, 50 to IF. Still really early to be down on Revere. He'll get better and his defense makes him a valuable player. He shouldn't be anywhere near the top of the order.

Actually, I thought the inclusion of Pence in that article was sort of puzzling. The theme of the article was that the Phillies were much better off back in the days when they had a high-strikeout lineup which drew walks & hit for power, as opposed to today's low-strikeout lineup which never walks & makes tons of weak contact. Isn't Hunter Pence an absolute prototype of the FORMER, and not the latter?

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Pence walks an average of 46 times a season in his career, Ks 117 times, and has a career .339 OBP. He's a free swinger who usually hits .280+ with solid RBI "production", which would seem to make him ideal for RAJ's offense.

There's pretty much 0 reason to try and trade Howard right now because you won't save much of any money doing it, and there'll be no return. Pretty much the lowest trade value he could possibly have.

Maybe a Howard-Morneau swap. That would never happen.

I'm not sure anyone would take Howard even if it cost nothing in prospects and we ate all of the salary.

He's been below replacement-level since he came back last summer.

I feel like it's too early to give up on this team, but they are making it awfully difficult to find reasons to stay optimistic.
If we do a rebuild, It's going to be a long one. There are very few under-30 players who hit free agency anymore. Looking over next year's crop at MLBTR, Jarrod Saltalamacchia & Delmon Young might be the best under-30 players available. Seriously.

I think the point of Pence was that the trade for him was the last concession the FO made to acquiring someone with power (or at least a starter with power, since Thome and Nix came last year).

The point being that the last time we added to the everyday lineup - via FA, trade, or promotion - a guy with a solid SLG/ISO was the trade deadline in 2011.

The fact that it hasn't happened since highlights the 1.333-ish years of the low-K, low-power era.

@Sophist, thanks for that info. I'm shocked there have even been 21. Other than his go-ahead hit the other night I can count on my hand the other balls I have physically seen. His defense is obviously a big help and I know it's early but man his bat is wretched.

Corey, nice writeup, but I don't know what we're b8tch8ng about - you don't get "production" unless you're "swing, swing, swinging no matter what."

This Ryan Howard as Tony Gwynn experiment is going poorly.

Jack - The Brewers are playing Betancourt and Alex Gonzalez at 1B. The Marlins are playing Dobbs. The Padres would consider him. If it's free, some team would take him and see how permanent these problems are.

awh: That's not really fair.

If they were swing-swing-swinging at everything they'd probably have more runs.

Yesterday when Mayberry led off with a 3B and DOM got pegged, the Pirates had their 1B holding the runner on, their middle inf playing double play depth, and their 3B up on the grass.

Before you even step into the batters box as a hitter, you know you CAN NOT hit the ball to 3rd. The very first pitch, Revere gets an outside fastball, and literally attempts to hit the ball to 3rd, successfully.

How is that possible?

When I hear Revere speak he comes off as being intelligent yet his approach at the plate is the exact opposite.

Of these guys, who do you think is a realistic candidate to be traded midseason:


Off the top of my head, I think if Doc is in good form and fully healthy, and wanted to go to a contender, the FO would oblige and send him to someone with a chance to win for prospects. He's most likely (giant caveat that he's healthy and pitching well) Lee is more complicated because of his contract--this would have to be a big and complex deal.

Utley and Rollins are both Phillies lifers, and my instinct is neither goes. Ruiz is a pending FA, and if there's a good offer for him, the team has to consider it.

Yesterday when Mayberry led off with a 3B and DOM got pegged, the Pirates had their 1B holding the runner on, their middle inf playing double play depth, and their 3B up on the grass.

Before you even step into the batters box as a hitter, you know you CAN NOT hit the ball to 3rd. The very first pitch, Revere gets an outside fastball, and literally attempts to hit the ball to 3rd, successfully.

How is that possible?

Posted by: lorecore | Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

I'm not completely certain, but I'm pretty sure the Phillies scouting department consists of Rube sitting on the john with his IPad on Baseball-Reference.

So hmm, this Revere guy. .294 last year. That'll work.

The lineup is so poorly constructed. It would be like if you let your infant son or daughter run your fantasy team via pounding on the keyboard.

Chris: A .339 OBP is decidedly above average, and a hell of a lot better than what we'll likely get from many players in our starting lineup.

My point is not to re-hash either of the 2 Pence trades, or whether we gave up too much to get him (though I recognize that Vexatious Troll is going to pounce on this post, claim that I'm re-hashing the Pence trade, and call me an idiot). My point is: the whole theme of Corey's article was that we've transitioned from a high-strikeout power-hitting lineup to a low-strikeout lineup which makes a ton of weak contact. But then he cites the Hunter Pence acquisition and his "swing, swing, swing" mentality as an example of that transition. It seems to me that Hunter Pence is exactly the OPPOSITE. He is precisely the kind of player whom we have transitioned away from.

There was a writeup somewhere that said that Lee could get traded if this team is still losing.. So he could be traded.. But he has looked good so far this year And if he keeps it up it could increase his trade value..

Jack: Chooch to the Tigers for a struggling Castellanos at the deadline would be best case scenario in which the Phils tank in 2013.

theres no way in hell RAJ knows about b-ref

If Rube is looking at B-R and only seeing batting average he's not looking properly... he's probably just looking at the back of Revere's baseball card.


I'd include Paps in that list. Plenty of teams out there with awful back end of bullpen situations really struggling for an option that makes sense. Yes, minimum 2 years on the deal left could be a deterrent, but the Phils could kick a few bucks to make the deal work (if they are willing and the return is good enough).

That being said, I would say most likely to move is Lee. Amaro already showed a willingness to explore the market for a guy like Lee, and there are teams out there like the Dodgers and Angels that are crazy with money (Dodgers already showed a willingness to take on the Lee deal). Suddenly, the Dodgers have starting pitching issues (weird how a strength suddenly becomes a weakness - I never thought the Dodgers plethora of arms was that special) with Billingsley gone for the year and a HUGE question mark in Greinke. Now they are reying on Kershaw (who is starting to really pile up innings) and Ryu. And the Angels are already a train wreck.

Again, Phils could kick in a few bucks on Lee if it means they get some super special return. And his no-trade is limited - you would have to think he'd be somewhat willing to waive it anyway considering the path this org is going down.

Rube asked the "baseball analytics" guy in the front office to print out every player's B-Ref pages and highlight the BA and RBI columns, so he knows what to look for. Oh, and to get him some coffee, too.

541: Ah, true. Paps and Adams should be in there.

Revere's defense has been fantastic.. That diving catch into the warning track was one of the best catches I've seen in awhile.. But I think we all were expecting or at least hoping that his batting average would hover around 300.. Here to hoping he gets it turned around!! Give him a little more time before we burn him at the stake..

lore: Don't know what this means, but I noticed that Castellanos has played exclusively LF this year. That's an odd switch, especially considering that the Tigers' 3rd baseman is Miguel Cabrera, who has absolutely no business playing 3rd base. Makes me wonder what the Tigers think about Castellanos' ability to play 3rd base. If he can only play LF, I doubt very seriously he's even a top 100 prospect -- let alone a top 25 one.

I don't know what the story is. I'm just throwing it out there.

Just looking over other team's depth charts for who could possibly use Howard, it's depressing to see the number of players who were acquired on the cheap in the last 2 years who could absolutely help this team right now.

If the phils trade Chooch.. Does that mean we go all in on Tommy Joseph? I think he could be an exciting player with a promising future..

Someone needs to ask Ruben, "So Rube, this is the production you were talking about on offense huh? What we have been seeing so far this season?"

Jack: As I said in the last thread, I think the biggest issue of a rebuilding will be the idea of Amaro trying to pry loose guys that can come in on team friendly contracts and help out. Berkman and Beltran are the higher end of those contracts but guys like that are what we will need if we sell off because we are going to have to eat some cash.

I think it's this simple:

If Ryan Howard isn't hitting for power he has no value to a baseball team. (It hurt to type that, but it's true.)

He hit for power in ST - yes, he was facing a lot of non-MLB pitching - but he still displayed the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Therefore, I can only conclude that the groin injury is bothering him more than he's letting on and it's sapping his power. Thus, RAJ should bite the bullet, DL the guy until he's healthy, and call Ruf up to play 1B. I know, I KNOW, it's somewhat of a hope and a prayer, but since he tweaked his groin Howard has been utter garbage - .269/.259/.308 since April 15th, with exactly one (1) XBH.

Sure, Ruf could do worse, but I wouldn't bet on it.

bap: The Tigers actually did announce Cast to OF because of Cabrera. He was said to be an slightly below average fielder, but good enough to stick.

I mainly mentioned him because the Tigers are built for a win-now mode and both last year and this year are struggling out of the game - and their catcher is off to a horrible start.

A half year rental like Ruiz won't be worth a huge haul, but if you can find the right team in the right spot, I think you can come away with a future mlb starter.

Joe: RAJ would say what he always says -- something to the nature of, "These players are better; they're just stinking it up right now." He's still in the denial stage.

Give the Tigers Ruiz & Paps (both positions of need) for free if they take Howards contract (also a bit of a need since Victor Martinez is scuffling worse than Howard).

bap - I guess one could argue that a .338 career OBP is "decidedly above-average", but for a middle of the order power hitter it's pretty middling. His career OBP is 83rd among active players, and he doesn't make up for it with a lot of power (47th). He only walks an average of 46 times a year, and Ks almost 3 times as frequently.

I gathered from the header article that the Phils have eschewed power and patience for contact and free-swingers. And Pence is definitely a free-swinger who relies on contact (BA) to keep his numbers up. He's definitely NOT a guy with patience and a lot of power, which is what this team has lost over the years.

BAP: is that denial though? These players can't possibly be this bad, right? It's gotta be SSS. Revere will approach a .700 ops, Brown will get to .750, and Howard will approach .800, right? Right?!?

lore: So, I guess the move is less about Castellanos than about Miguel Cabrera's lack of positional flexibility, and the fact that they've still got a 2-year $25M commitment to a guy (Martinez) whose only possible position, given their roster, is DH. Still seems a bit odd to me, especially considering that Martinez missed all of last year & is completely stinking it up this year. If that continues, and they were to call up Castellanos, the logical move would be to play him at 3rd base & move Cabrera to DH.

BAP: Well these players are better than they've played so far. Revere is underperforming. Brown is underperforming. Kratz isn't a great hitter but he isn't a sub .200 hitter either.

This team is at a spot where the glass is really at the halfway point and whatever way your demeanor goes is how you will naturally choose to view that fact. (And neither the positive nor negative side is absolutely on the mark).

The negatives on the team are- Howard, the catcher position, Brown, Revere, Hamels and the jury is probably still out on Halladay at this point.

The positives are- Lee, Kendrick, the backend 4 guys in the bullpen, Utley, Young, Nixberry

Honestly I don't have any better a read on this team than I did in spring training. So much can fluctuate yet. Hopefully Chooch coming back helps shore up catcher, and Revere starts performing where his real abilities are as opposed to what he is doing right now.

It will be great when Amaro decides to do a firesale, and trades all our best assets for a bunch of prospects who don't walk or hit for power.

jbird, there are a lot of big "names" around MLB that are scuffling worse than Howard right now.

Before his appendectomy Jason Heyward .121 .261 .259 was wretched, ditto Josh Hamilton , BJ Upton .160 .229 .320, Elvis Andrus .225 .279 .275, Uggla .167 .306 .367, Scutaro .227 .263 .280, Pierre .194 .227 .236 (worse than Revere), Ichiro .220 .266 .305, Matt Kemp .247 .278 .315, and a bunch of other guys.

That's not to excuse the Phillies, they haven't been good nor are they even playing up to their true talent level as individuals or as a group, but there has been some terrible baseball from a lot of big name high priced players so far this season.

So, I'm not panicking yet, but I sure would like to see a little improvement.

Hamels is a negative? Last three starts: 21 IP, 19 K, 6 BB, 2.57 ERA. Hamels is good to go.

The problem I see is that just as someone like Revere or Brown start hitting, someone like Young or Mayberry will stop. Howard is toast. They won't be 9-12, but improvement from here means .500.

He's definitely NOT a guy with patience and a lot of power, which is what this team has lost over the years.

I'm not arguing that Pence is a slugger by any means, but he happens to have more HR this season than anyone on the current Phillies roster. His SLG would rank 3rd on the team, & his OPS & OPS+ 4th. Pence also has more BB than Rollins or Revere, & has GIDP fewer DP than the latter. Having cheap OF players is great, right up until you take into account lines like .206/.306/.317, & .205/.241/.229, which are pitiful.

awh - How many of those scuffling players tore their left achilles, are built like Howard, and have an 89 OPS+ over their last 370 PA?

Lots of evidence this isn't a run of the mill slump.

Sophist: Only had him there because of those first two clunkers. I would agree he is all but out of that territory.

For all the optimism about Chooch (and he is obviously a massive upgrade over Kratz), a note of caution. We're talking about a 34-year old coming off a season in which his OPS was 150 points over his career average.

I think it would be a little much to expect last year's Carlos Ruiz. Something more along the lines of his 2009-2011 average (.281/.376/.417 for a 113 OPS+) is probably more realistic, and frankly I think that's still pretty generous. At least some of his OBP from that time period comes from all his ABs in the 8-spot, which won't be happening now.

If I were to guess, a .280/.350/.420 line would be more likely. Again, still an upgrade over what we have now, and obviously his defense will be as well.

You know who else would love to have Ruiz in 2013 - Cincinnati. Hannigan is their main guy and he's banged up, struggling, and not even good anyway.

Hamilton and Cigrani are probably both untouchable though.

We could always ask Seattle for Rauuuul in a trade. .160 .208 .320 right now, but he does have 2 HR, which is one more than Howard. :)

Sophist - Giving up on Howard after 3 weeks?

I don't know what he will do but I do think the groin injury is really hampering him physically. He could even run 180 feet last night to 2nd.

It wasn't his Achilles either. He was running like a guy who had a tender groin and not hobbling on a bad ankle. There is a big difference between some running/sprinting with those 2 injuries too.

.350 OBP from a solid defensive catcher -- that's a huge addition. Anything around a .750 OPS with a .350 OBP would be big. Counting on an .850-.930 OPS is unwise.

Mike Morse has cooled off in Seattle as well: .230/.278/.500, but at least he's still slugging - 6 HR and 10 RBI.

MG - Giving up? No. But it's really silly to point to Matt Kemp and claim "everybody slumps." Howard was already in decline and tore his achilles. We're talking about 370 PA (over two seasons). This isn't like other slumps.

I wonder if MIL would consider trading Yuniesky back to us for Howard straight up?

He's playing 1B, and is currently .263 .290 .474, with 3 HR and 14 RBI.

Howard had 292 plate appearances last year after he returned 9 months following surgery and hit 14 home runs. I am very skeptical of an argument that he had power then but the injury has now sapped him of power.

It could be the groin bothering him or it could be the idea I put forward that with the colder weather he is having trouble keeping it loose throughout the game and it is affecting him. He does seem to regress as the game advances every night.

TTI: Maybe he hits for some more power.

But his plate discipline has been eroding for a long time. If you're going to have a walk right under 10% and a strikeout rate above 25%, you better hit a lot of home runs. Right?

Howard had 292 plate appearances last year after he returned 9 months following surgery and hit 14 home runs. I am very skeptical of an argument that he had power then but the injury has now sapped him of power.

This is a very good point. He also had an entirely different approach to his ABs in Spring Training. So the question becomes, what happened to Howard between then & now?

If Howard isn't hitting at least 30 HRs a year he has basically no value. I was hoping for 250/30/100 from him this year, but I think even that is unrealistic at this point.

Asdrubal Cabrera is struggling in 71 PA. He's definitely not hot in Cleveland: .156 .229 .281

And just to show you that small sample sizes can be misleading, many people here wanted no part of Mark Reynolds this last offseason, but he's putting up a line right now of .283 .371 .700, with 7 HR and 18 RBI in 70 PA, having K'd 16 times and BB's 9.

Anyone here think he'll post that line all season?

"I don't know what he will do but I do think the groin injury is really hampering him physically. He could even run 180 feet last night to 2nd."

So, let's say this is true -- even though you're basically just making up. Given the knowledge that Howard is now 2 years removed from a major injury from which (judging by his complete lack of mobility) he appears to have never recovered, when exactly do you think he will be healthy enough to produce to your expectations and if/when that happens, how long do you believe he'll be able to stay healthy before he incurs another performance-hampering injury (whether real or made-up)?

awh: I think you're missing the point. I'm pretty sure the point on Howard isn't that he's going to hit .274/.295/.384 all season, or that this is his new baseline level of performance.

The question is what do we think Howard's baseline is now at all? I mean, he was terrible last year (but that was coming off surgery). In 2011, he hit .253/.346/.488. Is that it? He's two years older now, and coming off serious leg injuries. Should we expect that?

His HR/FB% and ISO were declining before the injury (and actually spiked a little last year). Isn't it possible the power is just not there all the way anymore, regardless of a slump? Certainly, the injuries aren't helping, right?

TTI: "He does seem to regress as the game advances every night."

Very interesting point. Lets take a look at 2013 so far:

1st PA vs SP: 7-17, .892 OPS
2nd PA vs SP: 6-18, .871 OPS
3rd PA vs SP: 2-15, .400 OPS
1st PA vs RP: 5-23, .542 OPS

*howard has never faced a starter 4 times or the same reliever more than once.

bap, all this argument about Howard's injury or groin just helps make my point above:

DL the guy until he's healthy.

It's possible, but I find it highly improbable that Darin Ruf could be worse than the Ryan Howard we've seen for the last week.

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