Ryan Howard can’t exactly run anymore. Not that it was his forte before this season, but watching him run is painful. Watching him hit isn’t that much fun either. The Philadelphia Phillies are paying the guy $20 million this year. His .254/.287/.432 slash line is absolutely abysmal and miles under his career averages. Through about a quarter of the season, he’s on pace to strike out over 200 times and walk 36 times. Think about that for a minute.

Make no mistake about it, the Phillies record does not reflect their play. They are two games below .500 through 50 games and their run differential of -37 means they should be closer to nine or ten games under .500. The luck will, eventually, catch up to them.

The Phillies think they are still competitive. By the All-Star break, we’ll probably see some familiar faces being traded away. Isn’t it about time manager Charlie Manual takes a look at Darin Ruf?

Don’t get me wrong, though. Ruf isn’t the second coming of Albert Pujols. He’s not going to single-handedly save the Phillies 2013 season. Ryan Howard probably won’t be playing in Philly by this time next year, either. There’s nothing to lose – except for a little more of Howard’s meniscus.

The Phillies have played it safe by sending Ruf to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Not a lot of people are talking about it because it seems that the $20 million man at first base is the only option. He’s not the only option and it is certainly time to start talking about trades and replacements at the first bag.


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