Don’t know what’s worse…throwing the PED’s or HOF out there.
But who could have predicted that Howard’s decline would be so abrupt and precipitous? He’s obviously in the last stages of a dwindling career. A combination of injuries and age deterioration has caused Howard’s abrupt demise. The shock of it hit Philly fans like a brick and it has taken them some time to grasp the fact that Howard wasn’t dogging it. He didn’t just suck for no reason. He wasn’t trying to play bad to hurt the city or force a trade. His mythical run has come to an end. In the same manner that Don Mattingly’s back stole the last years of a potentially great career and how Sandy Koufax’s arm troubles limited him to shooting star status as an all-time pitcher.
Or did Howard juice? His career does fit the “profile” of a PED-user.
From ages 25 to 31, he was one of the best sluggers in the game; since then, he’s been plagued by injuries and just hasn’t been getting it done.
Since the start of 2012, Howard has been worth -0.7 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which is equivalent to a below-replacement-level player, and he doesn’t project to improve very much from here on out. Add in the reality that he turns 35 in November and it’s safe to say Howard’s full-time playing days are over.
...Maybe hanging on and reaching that 400-homer plateau will be enough to get Howard into the HOF one day, but that’s not likely, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Hall of Fame Monitor, on which 100 is a “Likely HOFer.” Howard is at 98, just short. On their Hall of Fame Standards, which is more weighted toward career stats, and on which 50 is the “Average HOFer,” he’s at 25, well short.
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