Careful! The Phils don’t want to see Howard’s trade value go down.
Kyle Lohse went from pitcher to hitter to NFL safety in the time it took him to run to first base.
The Milwaukee Brewers righthander had himself a night against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, picking up the win and racking up three hits in a 9-5 victory over the worst team in baseball. One of those hits did not come easy, however, as Lohse wound up running right into the backside of mammoth first baseman Ryan Howard while trying to leg out an infield single.
Lohse is listed as 6’2”, 215 pounds. Ryan Howard is 6’4”, 250 pounds (if you believe that).
Howard is not, will not be and arguably never was the guy worthy of a $125 million extension in 2010, and the Phillies acknowledged as much in trade talks this winter, telling (uninterested) teams they’re willing to swallow a significant sum of the $60 million still owed to Howard over the next two years. Word is, the team would be willing to take on somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million.
“It seems like every time I look at him, he’s got a few guys around him,” manager Ryne Sandberg said of Francoeur. “I think there’s a good reason behind that. Players tend to go to him.”
Francoeur and Howard have been nearly inseparable during the first week of camp.
Their lockers are next to each other. They were in the same, three-man group, with infielder Andres Blanco, when hitters faced live pitching Friday. They are in the same, six-man team under Charlie Manuel’s guidance in the team’s carefully crafted hitting groups this spring.
The Phillies signed Francoeur to a minor league contract this winter because they think he has the chance to make their major league club as a much-needed righthanded bench bat. But like Manuel, he’s also someone with a history with Howard - they played against each other as NL East foes for years - and someone with an unwavering positive outlook, too.
The Phillies have made no secret of their desire to trade Howard, who turned 35 in November and will earn $25 million in both 2015 and 2016. The Phillies have a $23 million club option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout, so Howard is guaranteed a minimum of $60 million through the end of his contract.