The New York Yankees are looking towards the future but a veteran with a winning attitude and resume may be worth a gamble. Since free agency started the Yankees have been rumored to be interested in a few bats. While most are of the power variety the team must be careful not to overspend for possible production.
This is where a player like Ryan Howard comes into play.
Howard is a former MVP, Silver Slugger, Home run, and RBI king but most importantly, he has a World Series ring. The Yankees are on the cusp and a veteran presence like the former Philadelphia Phillie could be a nice bridge between the old and new.
Howard is not what he use to be. He’s 37 years old, numbers are in decline and injuries have taken some spring out his step but that was in the National League. The Yanks are American League and that means DH. No defensive assignment for Howard at first base, giving him the green light to be a slugger. This is his strong suit.
His career in Philly was outstanding but as the team looks to get younger, Howard was often overlooked in the batting order. Plus with the Phillies in rebuild mode, there was no clear incentive for Howard to go all out. The Phillies ranked near the bottom in all offensive categories making it harder for the former RBI leader to knock in the necessary runs to help the team.
Put him on a Yankees team that can put guys on base and Howard can easily knock in 70 runs in 2017. He’s still dangerous with the long ball as he hit 25 last season with 59 RBIs with a .196 BA in 331 PA.
While the bats of Jose Bautista and others are still available, their price will be higher than Howard’s. And to be honest, neither brings his winning pedigree and clutch hitting to a team that’s in desperate need of some.
Fans may balk at this choice but if the Yankees are to be taken as serious contends it starts with the small moves.