Delco Daily Times sports scribe/ unintentional comedy writer Jack McCaffery is still on the “Trade Ryan Howard for pitching” campaign. This time he sets his sights a bit higher than Kip Wells or Ted Lilly, but manages to think this idea through even less than his norm, even while playing the smart-ass and sneaking in a crack at Pat Gillick. From the Delco Daily Times
…But should the Phillies not reach the playoffs, they will have to confront a reality: That nucleus, so talented, so popular, is never going to win anything. And once they realize as much, general manager Ruben Amaro and his assistant Pat Gillick will have to edit their list of untouchables.
They must do that because history says David Montgomery will not spend the necessary money to gain a championship. But if done right, the Phils can spend their other valuable resources. They can exchange Howard, Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels or Brett Myers for maximum value in trade. And if they are at peace with their baseball integrity rather than married to the realities of sports marketing, they will realize that there is one name on that list ill-fitted for the National League yet also so contractually appealing that his very mention by an auctioneer would invite a stampede.
When they do that, they will consider trading Howard for the ace pitcher they lack. And might not the Minnesota Twins be interested in offloading Johann Santana, soon due a record raise, for Howard, who could D.H. for about a million per for the next four years?
That is a cue for the shallow of thought to shout out, œThere they go again, trying to run a superstar out of town. But the idea is not to dump a superstar, just to find one who can pitch….
…What responsible baseball reason? This one: Ryan Howard is about two errors from lifting Steve Blass off the hook for that throwing-phobia disease. And as long as the Phillies are in the no-D.H. league, they cannot commit to a max contract for a position player unable to toss a smashed beer can into a 200-gallon trash drum.
There was always some layer of mystery as to why Howard proved incapable in his double-secret outfield auditions, the ones that could have kept Jim Thome in Philadelphia. The only constant is that more than one scout has crossed eyes and raised eyebrows whenever the subject has been broached. If it weren™t impolite, they may even have shuddered.
This has nothing to do with Howard™s rampage to 173 strikeouts, for any hitter capable of going for 40-plus and a buck-20 can strike out as often as he pleases. But it does have to do with the discomfort that the left-left Utley-Howard power base risks. And it does have to do with the rebirth of Pat Burrell, who is good for 30-plus right-handed dings. And it does have to do with moving Utley out of harm™s way at second and protecting him from more injury. And it does have to do with Iguchi, the kind of situational hitter that the Phillies have lacked, and who will re-sign here only if he has a real shot at an every-day position.
And mostly, it does have to do with the only way the Phillies can acquire a superstar pitcher…
Well thought out Jacko. McCaffery cites Dave Montgomerys unwillingness to pony up mega-$$$ but feels that a trading off 4 years of Ryan Howard at bargain price for nothing more certain than one year of Johan Santana is a swell idea. I look forward to a future McCaffery article suggesting that the Phillies trade Jimmy Rollins to Oakland for Joe Blanton.