The Philadelphia Phillies seem to be under the impression that they will find a big league team with a front office that does not watch baseball or send scouts to watch baseball.
Ryan Howard needs to be traded. Opposing teams know that. The Phillies know that. He is no longer an everyday first baseman, even if his $125 million deal tells a different story. It is time for the Phillies to move on and for Howard to find a role more suited to his skills, something part-time and with the words “designated hitter” involved.
The Phillies are doing a few things to try and better position themselves to deal Howard. For one thing, they have become more open to the fact that they will have to absorb a significant part of Howard’s contract to move him. They are also continuing to start him this season, after a very brief benching, in an effort to pad his stats and persuade a team that he is worth a trade.
That’s where they seem to think that their colleagues do not watch the games, that they cannot see for themselves that Howard is a glorified platoon man at this point, no matter how many RBI he has this season.
The team will not adopt a damaging public message, not when its intent is to pad Howard’s statistics to build value and placate a player with considerable stature…
…The front office’s hope, according to sources familiar with the situation, is that an American League team will take a chance on Howard if he reaches plateaus such as 25 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Hitting those numbers will certainly help, but ultimately the Phillies are just going to have to hold their noses and get an ugly deal done so that they can salvage something for Howard and his awful contract and move on.