So you Phillies fans, is Darin Ruf going to amount to anything? I'm in a fantasy baseball league with more teams than normal, so finding good players is tough, especially when you have to replace big bats that go down in your lineup.
He hasn't done that much so far. He has power, but he's never had an opportunity to play everyday at the big league level. I'm hoping that the Phillies find a way to buy out Howard's contract so that Ruff can move to 1B next season and Howard has the option of becoming a DH in the American League. It's the best option for all concerned.
As is the case with most Phillies fans, I believe that Ryan Howard can still be a productive player if he can stay healthy. If one looks at the last two half-seasons he's played, he's hit twenty five home runs and driven in close to one hundred runs despite playing hurt for much of that time. He's not baseball's premier power hitter or run-producer anymore, but he's still a dangerous hitter and could help a team under the right circumstances. I think he could probably hit between 30-35 home runs in the AL while spending most of his time at DH. But if he remains in the NL and plays 1B, he'll end up out of baseball by 2015 at the rate his health has declined. His body has gone the way of Mo Vaughn and can't take the pounding of playing the field each day.
I like Howard and think he's one of baseball's genuinely nice guys. I'll never forget chatting with him while he was still in the minor leagues and coming away impressed with how he carried himself. Be that as it may, he should never
have been signed to that ridiculous contract. Ruben Amaro should have been fired for that blunder alone (much less every other stupid thing he's done recently). And Ruf needs to play. He's the player who's going to help the Phillies done the road, not Howard.
Charlie Manuel refused to move Howard out of the clean-up spot because he doesn't believe anyone can provider Howard's level of production. Dominic Brown has shown he can hit for power, and Ruf's production would likely increase were he allowed to stay in the lineup more frequently. The Phillies should do everything they can to get rid of Howard, even if it means eating a chunk of his salary to make things work. Utley should be allowed to walk, as his deal is up at season's end.