Post first appeared on phillyinfluencer.com on Aug. 17, 2016.
Traditionally Ryan Howard has produced more at the plate as the summer went along and the weather got warmer. This season is no different as the Big Piece is having his best month of the season thus far at the same time that people in the Delaware Valley break a sweat just stepping outside of their house.
Howard’s batting average has dipped as low as the .140s this season, but his successful month of August has allowed it to balloon up to .197. Since the calendar has turned to August, Howard is hitting .429 with a .448 on base percentage. Additionally, he has seen an increase in playing time as well as he has over half as many at-bats this month as he had all of July.
With the Aug. 31 non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaching, should the Phillies trade the recently recharged first baseman?
As we all saw last night with Chase Utley, we can let go of Phillies greats and still enjoy their success with another team. I agree with the decision by General Manager Matt Klentak and company to hold onto the St. Louis native up until this point as obviously there was not a large market for an aging, over-paid, first baseman with below average fielding skills and a .150 batting average.
However, with his recent climb back to respectability this season, I believe there could be a few suitors for the former 5th round draft pick as teams make their playoff pushes. Here are a few likely landing spots, in no particular order:
1. Miami Marlins
This team may come as a surprise, especially since it is an NL East ball club. However, the Marlins have already been rumored to be trying to persuade the recently retired Alex Rodriguez into a comeback and couple that with the loss of slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the season due to injury, the Marlins, who would earn a wildcard spot if the season ended before Tuesday’s games, could be in the market for some heavy hitting for a late-season push. Howard would not only bring that bat, but also would bring the intangibles of a veteran who has been on a World Series winning team.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
North of the border, the Jays are battling for the the American League East crown with the Baltimore Orioles as the two squads were tied atop the division heading into Tuesday night. Toronto is 5-5 in its last 10 games and is missing some pop in its lineup as Jose Bautista is on the 15-Day Disabled List with knee sprain. He is due back on Aug. 25. Howard could just serve as a designated hitter, but he could see the field as well. Currently the Blue Jays’s options at first base are Justin Smoak and Edwin Encarnacion. Yup.
3. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are gearing up for a big push for the postseason. The AL West team is 5.5 games back in the division and two games behind in the AL wild card battle, however, it is 9-1 in its last 10 games. Aside from a few veterans such as Nelson Cruz, Chris Iannetta, and Robinson Cano, this team is vastly comprised of younger players without that fall baseball experience. Adam Lind and Dae-Ho Lee are rotating at first base and DH for the Mariners with Lee leading the way hitting .249 this season, his first in the major leagues. Howard could jump into the rotation, sure up a veteran presence on the right side of the infield with Cano, and provide a long-ball threat for Seattle who is eyeing up a playoff spot.