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Is Ryan Howard Right to Have a Beef with Benching?


Late last month I discussed if the Phillies should trade Ryan Howard.

The Big Piece is still in red pinstripes as the calendar has turned to September, but is seems as though he will be spending most of his time on the pine.

Manager Pete Mackanin said the following in regards to Howard starting on Tuesday night, as quoted in this CSN Philly article.

“Just to get him in there,” he said. “I’m going to start using Joseph more. I’ll play [Howard] today and [Joseph] tomorrow and then I’ll lean on Joseph a little bit more the rest of the way.”

Howard has seen an increase in playing time after the All-Star Break and his production has risen. However, that does not seem to be enough to sustain the playing time in the eyes of Mackanin.

The 36-year old Howard does not see eye-to-eye with his manager on the situation. He said the following on Wednesday in response to the situation, as quoted in this article.

“You’re talking about an evaluation process of where you’ve gotten to see players this year play. And you’ll have another opportunity to see those same players play again next year and I won’t be here,” he said. “So, for me, I just want to play. I don’t necessarily think it’s right or fair, considering this is my last month here, but it is interesting.”

Does Howard have a case to be upset with the lack of playing time down the stretch?

Absolutely not.

Although Howard is hitting right around .300 since the All-Star Break, his production does not match that of 25-year old first baseman Tommy Joseph’s. Joseph has clubbed 17 homerruns and boasts a .500 slugging percentage this season.

That alone should be enough to warrant benching Howard, but to tack on to the argument, Joseph is the future. This season, which is nothing more than a showcase for the current players on if they deserve to be in the conversation for 2017, should be filled with youthful lineups. Plus, the future former-future first baseman Darin Ruf was called up to the big leagues this week.

I doubt Ruf will see that much time at first base, but he is another, maybe even more viable option, at the position than Howard is right now.

The lone remaining member of the 2008 World Series Championship team has no one to blame, but himself for the current situation. His poor numbers early on this season, plus the bloated salary, made him basically impossible to trade.

As much as it would have been emotional to see another Phillie great leave the City of Brotherly Love to play out the twilight of his career for another team, it would have made the most sense and the fan base would get over it, just like Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley.

Unfortunately, for Howard, his career won’t end like his former teammates. He doesn’t get an Act II in another ballpark. He gets to sit next to the water cooler and spit sunflower seeds.

Don’t worry, Ryan, just 29 more games left until you can put that bat away for good, although, you could probably do it now because you won’t be getting a chance to use it anyway.


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