NL Notes: Howard, Phillies, Venters, Brewers

Here’s the latest out of the National League …

  • The Phillies reversed course on Ryan Howard‘s playing time because the club believes the only way it can salvage anything in return for him is to keep him in the everyday lineup, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Philadelphia hopes that an American League team will bite on Howard over the offseason, especially if he can put up the kinds of numbers (25 home runs, 100 RBI) that would shine up his surface appeal.
  • The word around Philadelphia is that no major changes to the decisionmaking structure will occur while club president David Montgomery is on leave, as’s Todd Zolecki reports. Both GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ryne Sandberg gave short and simple explanations that the status quo would continue. “We’re not really at liberty to really discuss much more about it,” said Amaro.
  • Braves reliever Jonny Venters will undergo and attempt to return from a third Tommy John procedure,’s Mark Bowman reports on Twitter. Venters was one of the game’s better southpaw setup men over 2010-12, but he would be a rare pitcher to make it back from a trio of UCL replacements.
  • The Brewers are unlikely to make any last-minute moves, GM Doug Melvin tells’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter link). Though the club made a claim and tried to acquire Rockies’ first baseman Justin Morneau, Melvin indicated that nothing seemed in the works at this point. “You never know, but probably not,” he said.

21 Responses to NL Notes: Howard, Phillies, Venters, Brewers Leave a Reply

  1. Jaysfan1994 10 months ago

    If there are still any GM’s valuing a players worth based on RBI’s, I think that their team would’ve acquired Ryan Howard by now.

    • Tko11 10 months ago

      Yeah, not saying WAR is all that matters but hes been consistently bad for the past 5 years. Hell even when he hit 48 homers in 2008 his WAR was only 1.8

      • NotCanon 10 months ago

        Which is yet another example of how WAR is a flawed “statistic” (quotes used because it’s actually just a weighted amalgamation of numerous other stats). Aside from the fact that fWAR ranked him at 2.7, not 1.8, there is no way his mediocre D at the easiest-to-field position in the sport should have offset an .881 OPS and a ridiculous .292 ISO to such an extent that he’d be “replacement-level” or even near to that.

        • Jaysfan1994 10 months ago

          Massively negative Rfield and massively negative Rbaser.

        • Melvin Mendoza, Jr. 10 months ago

          Yeah, WAR values defense way too much

          • Jaysfan1994 10 months ago

            Not true, I think defense is a key value in WAR. Unless your pitching staff is capable of striking out 27 straight batters, a good infield and outfield defense is a must when looking into how a team wins a game.

          • Melvin Mendoza, Jr. 10 months ago

            No, a PASSABLE defense is a must. Offense and good pitching are much more important. It is a ridiculous notion that Ryan Howard was near replacement level in 08 when he hit 48 home runs and drove in nearly 150. I’m not saying defense is a total nonfactor by any stretch, but WAR regards it way too disproportionately.

          • Deelron 10 months ago

            Replacement level is 0 wins (which is why WAR is wins above replacement). fWar had him at 2.7 in 2008, which is above league average (and no where near replacement level), and had him (overall) as the 77th best player, which again is nowhere near replacement level even with his terrible defense and his mediocre base running.

            Note it was also a pretty high offense year, which does lower the overall value of the offensive component.

          • Melvin Mendoza, Jr. 10 months ago

            Yes, but with those stratospheric offensive numbers I still consider 2.7 to be low, especially for a first basemen. Andrelton Simmons is sitting at 3.0 this season and he is having a horrible year at the plate.

          • Deelron 10 months ago

            Yes, and the offensive replacement bar is much lower then in 2008, if Howard had that season now it would have relatively been worth much more (which is a legitimate complaint if you think WAR should be doing something other then which its designed to do, it’s baseline changes every year).

            Howard’s numbers in 2008 were not stratospheric outside of his home run and RBI total. In just comparing qualified 1B, he was 12th in walk rate, 27th (dead last) in strikeout rate (28.4% compared to the top ten who were 15.6% and under), 20th in BA (for what it’s worth) and perhaps most damming of the “stratospheric” conversation, 5th in slugging. His offensive season wasn’t that great because compared to other 1B he had way too few singles and doubles to make up for his strikeouts and homeruns. He had one less double then Mike Jacobs in 180 more plate appearances. Mike Jacobs (a guy who will definitely make you feel better about Howard’s defense).

          • Melvin Mendoza, Jr. 10 months ago

            Fair enough, but I still think WAR and all the xWAR’s still need a few tweaks.

  2. Bertin Lefkovic 10 months ago

    I will give the Phillies Alex Rodriguez for Ryan Howard. Depending on how many HRs A-Rod hits over the next three years, the Phillies might actually save a few million dollars and if they don’t save any money, it is because A-Rod is being productive.

    • Not really great for either team. A-Rod will need time at DH and the Yanks don’t really benefit from having a full time DH which is what Howard would be.

      • Bertin Lefkovic 10 months ago

        If the Phillies want to play Darin Ruf at 1B as regularly as possible, Howard is no less or more of an albatross than A-Rod would be. While Maikel Franco’s progress would most certainly be inhibited by A-Rod becoming the Phillies regular 3B, I don’t necessarily think that A-Rod has to be as much of a lineup-clog as Howard.

        My feeling is that the Yankees or any team that the Yankees could find to trade him to should tell A-Rod that if he wants to be in the lineup on a regular basis, he needs to be willing to do a lot of work during the offseason and Spring Training at positions other than 3B.

        There is no reason that A-Rod should be unwilling or unable to learn 1B and the corner outfield (if not all of the outfield) positions at the very least and he should even be willing, if not able, to try playing 2B and SS on occasion.

        Being that flexible over the next three years (and using this time away from baseball to load up on as many PEDs as necessary to get his body back into playing shape) is probably one of the best ways that he can earn his place as a MLB player once again.

        Conversely, because of Mark Texeira’s inability to stay healthy, the Yankees could benefit from having someone who can DH most of the time, but also serve as an alternative to Tex at 1B. If the Yankees were to acquire Howard, I only would want him in the lineup for every home game against a RHP either as the DH or 1B. That probably represents approximately 60 games.

        Away from Yankee Stadium, I would let matchups and day-to-day needs dictate his usage, while still limiting his at-bats to those that are against RHPs, which would probably put him in the lineup for another 40 games.

        My opinion is that because of the nature of Yankee Stadium, for approximately the same amount of money over two years that A-Rod will probably be paid over three years, assuming that he earns $12MM in HR bonuses, Ryan Howard could be more productive during that time in 200 games than A-Rod would be in 360 games (estimating 120 games played per season).

        Is there a way to use sabermetrics to use OPS to estimate the number of runs produced (Runs scored plus runs batted in minus home runs) that a hitter might get? If so, my next question would be what would Howard’s and A-Rod’s respective run production numbers be if the former had an OPS of .800 over 200 games and the latter had an OPS of .700 over 360 games, which is what I would I would estimate their respective OPS would be if used the way that I have described here.

        I would also argue that CBP is probably a friendlier ballpark for a RHB like A-Rod than Yankee Stadium, so it is entirely possible that he could be more productive there than in Yankee Stadium, another reason that this trade could work out well for both teams, especially if A-Rod was willing to be a super-utility player.

    • Mike1L 10 months ago

      I don’t see it as useful for either team. If A-Rod can’t play the field even half time, all he can be is a glorified pinch-hitter and DH in inter league games. The Yankees need to keep their DH slot open for Beltran and every other old player there. Howard would end up sitting and sulking.

  3. Mike1L 10 months ago

    I raised this a while ago, but who would have thought that when the Phillies traded the soon to be 35 year old Jim Thome is order to give the soon to be 26 year old Ryan Howard the first base job, that Thome would have ended up with more aggregate WAR from that point forward?

  4. Out of place Met fan 10 months ago

    Howard and Papelbon to Yankees for ARod & one of the young catchers

    • Bertin Lefkovic 10 months ago

      If one of the young catchers is Austin Romine, I would do that deal in a nanosecond. The Yankees could let David Robertson sign with another team and promise the closer’s job to Dellin Betances once Papelbon’s contract ends or he ceases to be effective.

      If I have to give up Francisco Cervelli, J.R. Murphy, or Gary Sanchez in the deal, then I would want to discuss a larger package of players that would also net me Cole Hamels. If being willing to take on Cliff Lee’s contract helps get a deal done, I would do that as well.

      Let’s call the deal A-Rod, Sanchez, Judge, Severino, Banuelos, Austin, Jagielo, and Bird for Hamels, Howard, Lee, and Papelbon. Do we have a deal?

      • Out of place Met fan 10 months ago

        Not a fan of either team, but that looks like it could work for both parties

        For some reason Howard seems like a player who would excell in pinstripes for a year or 2, a la Fielder, and Cashman wants the circus gone before it begins. Next year will be third straight year that baseball is the second story in the clubhouse.

  5. Venters is coming up as a FA. He’ll be let go. In all honestly, at this point after three UCLs, he should probably hang it up.

  6. Mike1L 10 months ago

    I’m not an A-Rod fan, but the idea of him trying to pivot on two repaired hips while playing SS or 2B sounds a tad absurd. And, asking him to become a super utility player at his age and health also seems far-fetched. He’s always been a hard worker (enhanced hard worker) but I think this approach is neither fair to the player, nor likely to help put a quality product on the field.

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