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2015 Phillies Player Preview: Ryan Howard

Is there any way in which Ryan Howard is a productive player in 2015? It depends on your expectations.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Steamer 105 -0.6 .226 .305 .400 17 46 53 .310 96
ZiPS 108 0 .234 .310 .415 18 51 77 .315 99
numberFire N/A N/A .230 .314 .414 21 56 71 .313 N/A

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.

More of this please, Ryan. A lot more.