After being benched for the second consecutive day yesterday, Ryan Howard had some choice words for reporters.
“Talk to him,” Ryan Howard said as he left the Phillies clubhouse. “Him” would be Ryne Sandberg.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 24, 2014
I have a growing sense that Howard didn’t know of the original report that the team had had discussions of releasing him two nights ago when he seemed calmer when speaking two reporters. I think he did yesterday, and that, mixed with being benched against a picher in Tim Hudson who he had success against, caused him to boil over.
This morning, Ruben Amaro attempted to put the squash on any idea that the Phillies planned on releasing Howard.
“That is not something we are contemplating,” Amaro said Friday morning. “I don’t know where that’s coming from.
“Our goal is to try to get Ryan Howard straightened out so he can be a more productive player for us. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t expect him to be the Ryan Howard of 2006, 2007, 2008. What we expect is him to perform better than he is. I know he’s a better player than this.
I think the problem is that the Amaro and the Phillies keep fooling themselves into thinking that Howard can perform better than he is now. He can’t. Howard will provide occasional power streaks and will still drive some runs in, but for the most part, injuries and age have put Howard in a position where batting .230 is really the best that he is capable of. It sucks, but that’s the truth.
All that Amaro’s quotes really tell me is that the Phillies aren’t going to decide next week that they can’t continue on with the Howard charade much longer. At the end of the season, well, I still think that idea is very much in play, especially if Howard continues his struggles.