The Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols swap that Buster Olney reported last week is..never going to happen.
This is not a personal attack on Olney’s reporting skills, because I’m sure he was correct by saying it was talked about in the Phillies clubhouse, because I’m sure it was. However, the concept, or dream for that matter, of obtaining the best player in baseball (Pujols) is something that undeniably comes up in every clubhouse, the Phillies not being any different.
On the surface, it may make sense. Ryan Howard, a two-time MLB All-Star in the prime of his career returns to his hometown of St. Louis as part of a trade that sends the player who may go down as the best player in Major League Baseball history packing for the City of Brotherly Love.
Wow, would that make some headlines or what!
In all seriousness though, the possibility that this deal may happen before both players become free agents at the end of the 2011 season is just as likely as the Washington Nationals winning a World Series by that time. While the Phillies seem like the perfect trade partner, due to the fact that they have more money than the Cardinals to satisfy Pujols’s demands of his next contract (should be the largest in MLB history) along with having Howard on their roster, who would possibly take a hometown discount for his next contract to play in his hometown for the rest of his career, it’s just to complicated of a deal to actually have a chance to go down.
Here’s the case that I am making against this deal for the Phillies..
First of all, the deal has flawed logistics on both sides. As it stands right now, Ryan Howard is making more money than Albert Pujols. Crazy, I know. I’m sure that won’t be the case come 2011, but for the Cardinals to think that they can’t afford Pujols but CAN afford Howard is extremely far-fetched, hometown discount and all.
Minus the financial hoopla, for the Phillies, the main question is why. Why would they make this deal? Sure, the allure of having the best player of baseball on both sides of the diamond is tempting to say the least, but this deal would surely have the capability to disrupt the chemistry of a team who has already gone to the last two Fall Classics, without Pujols.
Lastly, let it be known that Ryan Howard is not just a role player that you can replace. Yes, the critics say that he may strike out an inordinate amount, or make an error in the field that leaves you dumbfounded at times, and to that they are right. But, to them, I say this. At the end of the day, when the schedule reads “Game 162”, Howard’s 40+ HR’s and 120+ RBI’s have been among the leagues best every year since he became a full-time starter in 2005. Along with his production, his presence both on field and in the community and strong chemistry with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and company has been vital to allowing the Phillies to reach the status of a potential dynasty.
You can’t expect anything more out of your cleanup hitter.
The Phillies are a little over a week from solidifying there 25-player roster to start off the season, and pretty much everything is working out the way it should. Minus the decision on the final spot in the starting rotation, everybody’s position on the team is pretty much set in stone. For everyone who thought that Dominic Brown had a shot to make the opening day roster, I think his demotion to the minors after a 2 HR performance earlier this week shows that those within the organization feel that their 20 year-old #1 overall prospect needs a bit more seasoning.
While Brown’s demotion made the headlines, the real surprise of this projected list was not who was left off the roster, but who will most likely be on it.
If you didn’t know who David Herndon was at the start of this month, I wouldn’t have blamed you. The Rule 5 pick and 2006 5th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels, who most people inside baseball circles will tell you did not figure into the Phillies plans at the start of spring training, has pitched himself into a envious position, as he will most likely make the opening day roster as a situational reliever in the bullpen. While his stay in the big leagues may be shortlived, as Brad Lidge and J.C Romero are due to come back from their injuries around the time of opening day, Herndon will most for all intents and purposes join the loser of the Kyle Kendrick/Jamie Moyer battle for the 5th starter’s spot, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, Antonio Bastardo, Danys Baez, and Ryan Madson in the bullpen for at least the start of the season.
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS
12 Days until Opening Day..