Ryan Howard came into camp 15-20 pounds lighter, the result of cutting sugar out of his diet. He also entered this spring lighter in a metaphorical way too, with the financial troubles involving him and his family seemingly behind him as well.
So if you were trying to come up with some reasons to be optimistic about The Big Piece in 2015, well, there you go.
No team has, as of this writing, taken a chance on trading for Howard, and it appears those off-season rumors that the Phils could release the player "they'd be better off not keeping" (Ruben Amaro has since apologized to Ryan for saying that publicly).
And that makes sense. Howard is due $25 million this season, $25 million next season and will certainly get a $10 million buyout of his 2017 season. That's a lot of cash for a guy who hit .223/.310/.380 last season with an fWAR of -0.3. And the projections for Howard this season don't see much improvement.
Yeah, that's not a very rosy scenario no matter which set of projections you look at.
But is there a possibility that, with a healthy off-season behind him, with his family legal troubles hopefully behind him, in the BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE, could it be that Howard becomes a 30-homer man just once more?
Happily on Friday, Ryan did a thing.
Ryan Howard clears the right-field fence for a two-run home run in the fourth inning. It's his first of the spring.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) March 13, 2015
More of this please, Ryan. A lot more.