The Philadelphia Phillies have been criticized this offseason for their core players being the age of 34 and older. One player being placed under the magnifying glass closely is first baseman Ryan Howard. He just turned 34 and suffered injuries the past two seasons. Many fans wonder if his prime has come and gone. Howard believes he can make a comeback and be comparable to Boston Red Sox‘ David Ortiz. Is this possible?
Howard has been with the Phillies since 2004, and he has always been productive. However, in the past couple of seasons he has been slowing down. For example, in 2012 Howard only hit 14 home runs and had just 11 this season. In seasons past he has gotten up past 40. Sure Howard’s season was shortened as he was shutdown in July with a knee injury, but he still could have helped his team. Howard is known as “The Big Piece”. His teammates depend on him to drive in runs and help them win, but that has not been happening.
Howard has said recently that his age is not an issue, but I disagree. Injuries come with age and have different effects on players. I believe that Howard’s injuries have had a negative effect on him. Ortiz has experienced injuries over the years, but he has been one of the most productive players in the game. Howard believes he has a chance to come back like him.
Ortiz has hit over 50 RBI the last four seasons along with over 20 home runs. His averages have varied, but he still was there for his team. He was especially big in this year’s playoffs and World Series. Ortiz just turned 38 years old, but he still has game left in him.
Why can’t Howard compare to Ortiz? Howard plays every day and his body is getting beat up more as Ortiz is a designated hitter most of the time. Ortiz also has more experience and knows how to handle taking care of himself more carefully. Howard may just wait until the last possible second to take himself out of the game.
Howard has a lot to learn if he wants to stay in the game for a long time. Ortiz is a big name to compare himself to, but he has work to do to get his numbers up.