Hot Stove: What do Phils need from Howard?

Hot Stove: What do Phils need from Howard?

January 13, 2014, 9:00 am
Share This Post

The Phillies finished 73-89 and 23 games out in the NL East in 2013.

They've missed the postseason for two straight years, and Ryan Howard hasn't been the same player since 2011.

Over the last two years, Howard has a combined 25 home runs and 99 RBIs, missing 173 games over that span.

If the Phillies want to contend in 2014, what kind of player does Howard have to be?

"I think you need close to what he used to be," Comcast SportsNet Phillies analyst Ricky Bottalico said on Phillies Hot Stove. "Obviously, you're not going to get 50 home runs from him. I think you need this guy to be close to 30 home runs. He's got to be well up into the hundreds, 100-110 RBIs, for this team to go anywhere.

"That's a little low, but I'm just throwing something in there. Jimmy [Salisbury] in the open stated it's not just Ryan. People around him have got to do the job. You put a Marlon Byrd in there, he can add some power. But I really believe that Ryan Howard is the guy with the RBI experience."

Do the Phils need Howard to be an elite player for a shot at the playoffs?

"If they're going to contend, I think he needs to finish in the top 10 in the MVP voting,"'s Jim Salisbury said. "I think he needs to be 32 [homers], 118-120 [RBIs]. I don't know if that's going to happen, but he's got at least a fighter's chance because for the first time since 2011, he's going to be healthy.

"And if you looked at his numbers in those six years preceding 2011, they were off the charts. We're talking 45 home runs a year, but I don't think he's that guy anymore. But if he can give you 30 home runs and 115 [RBIs], he's gotta do it. The guys in front [of him] have to get on base if he's going to knock in runs. And that's a tall order because you have [Jimmy] Rollins and [Ben] Revere with low on-base percentages."