Kinda Liking These Ryan Howard and Orioles Whispers

Sports and Bets — March 11, 2015 at 12:28 am by

If you can just for a second shut out all the NFL free agency and trade chatter for a second you may hear a faint whisper of a rumor coming out of Spring Training.  The rumor, which has been mostly discussed within the Philadelphia internet sphere, involves the Orioles and Phillies first-baseman, Ryan Howard.  According to CSN’s, Jim Salisbury, the Orioles are ” keeping their eye on Howard.” Of course, this could be nothing, Philadelphia fans and writers have been trying to trade Howard and his massive contract for almost three years, but it could be something, and it could be a nice fit for the Orioles.

Assuming that the Phillies would eat most of Howard’s remaining 2 year/$60 million dollar contract (They are going to have to if they trade Howard to any team.), the 35 year old Howard could give the O’s some bonafide left handed power at the DH position.  The Orioles do have depth, with Travis Snyder, Steve Pearce, and Delmon Young all on the team and all figuring to get DH at bats.  But all are question marks.  Snyder has had exactly 1/2 of a productive season and Steve Pearce was a career journeyman until he had his career year last season.  Delmon Young historically gets eaten alive by right-handed pitching and isn’t exactly Willie Mays out on the outfield lawn.  Any of these players could bust or prove themselves to be nothing more than role players.   If that happens, Ryan Howard could help this club.

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Howard has reportedly lost weight and he’s looked good so far this spring.  He did hit 23 home runs last year and that flag court would have to look awfully close to the big lefty.  2012 and 2013 were miserable years for Howard but he was coming off Achilles surgery in 2012 and he suffered toe and knee injuries over the next two years.  Last year wasn’t great, but he did hit those 23 homers and he did knock in 95 runs.  (Those 95 RBIs put him in the top 20 in all of baseball in that category.)  He could be primed for a nice season.  He’s two years removed from any injury and weight loss has got to be a positive sign. Plus, isn’t Howard the exact kind of player who could put down the glove and become a solid AL designated hitter before hanging up the cleats for good?

Obviously, this isn’t a deal that the O’s would make now.  There are too many variables and question marks. At the root of it all is Ryan Howard himself; he would have to produce when the games start counting for real.  And the O’s won’t be exactly sending Dylan Bundy up north for Howard either. But if the Oriole bench gets short due to injury or lack of production, and all the planets and stars align, it would be kinda cool to see Ryan Howard launching baseballs onto Eutaw Street in July, August, and into the fall.

Of course, this whisper of a rumor could disappear like a fart in the wind just as quickly as it almost appeared.

 

cover pic: offtherecordsports

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