Howard, who has yet to even start his crazy five-year, $125 million contract (that kicks in for 2012) is entering his age-31 season coming off his worst season in the majors to date. Sure, 31 home runs and an .859 OPS is pretty awesome for most players, but Howard's usually good for over 40 home runs a year and the Phillies absolutely need him to return to being a force in the middle of the order. Otherwise, the offense could be the Achilles heel of the club. If Howard can't return to previous levels, not only will the Phillies be stuck with one of the worst contracts in the game (really, who gives a bulky first baseman $125 million two years before they have to that kicks in at age 32?) but the offense might be poor enough without Utley to make the NL East a race to watch between the Braves and Phillies.
PLAYER ORACLE -- From the 17-81 Quakers back in 1883 to present day...
- Emil Gross played with Bill Gallagher for the 1883 Philadelphia Quakers
- Bill Gallagher played with Tom Daly for the 1884 Philadelphia Keystones
- Tom Daly played with Nick Altrock for the 1903 Chicago White Sox
- Nick Altrock played with Ossie Bluege for the 1924 Washington Senators
- Ossie Bluege played with Early Wynn for the 1939 Washington Senators
- Early Wynn played with Tommy John for the 1963 Cleveland Indians
- Tommy John played with Tony Phillips for the 1985 Oakland Athletics
- Tony Phillips played with Roy Halladay for the 1998 Toronto Blue Jays
In the hilarious comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, airing on FX, Mac penned a love letter to Chase Utley back in 2009, in the way only Mac can write it. The video is below. (Note that one swear word appears in the video.) Utley would later appear on the show along with Ryan Howard on Dec. 3. You can view more information on that episode here.
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