Howard announced his retirement from baseball Tuesday.
It's something of a surprise that this hadn't already happened, as the 38-year-old hasn't played in the majors since 2016 and hasn't played at any level this year. The Phillies may have wished he retired after the 2011 season, as he posted a 93 wRC+ over the last five years of his career while making $125 million. The first baseman's steep decline and big contract shouldn't overshadow the success he had in the first half of his career, however, as he was a Rookie of the Year, MVP and World Series champion. He'll end his career with 1,475 hits and 382 homers, tied for 67th all time in the latter category.
Howard has reported to Triple-A Albuquerque and will be available for Saturday's game.
After inking a minor-league deal with the Rockies' organization earlier in the day, Howard has already reported to Triple-A and will be in uniform Saturday. He'll need to show more at the dish than he did earlier in the season at Triple-A Gwinnett, when he slashed just .184/.238/.263, in order to get consideration for a promotion to the Rockies before the year is out.
Howard agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with the Rockies on Saturday.
The veteran slugger has been a free agent since he was released by the Braves in May. Howard slashed a mere .184/.238/.263 in 11 minor-league games in the Braves organization prior to his release and he hit just .196 in 112 games with the Phillies last season. He won't be on the 40-man roster to start, but if Howard starts getting back on track, there's a possibility of him joining the Rockies as a left-handed power bat off the bench in September.
Howard was released from his contract with the Braves on Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Howard mustered just a .184 batting average and struck out 11 times in as many games for Triple-A Gwinnett. Even if Howard still has the power -- and he wasn't showing it this year, as he'd managed just one home run -- it's obvious that his bat is just too slow for him to be a productive major-league player at age 37.
Howard is expected to make his season debut for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
Howard, who agreed to a minor-league deal with the Braves earlier this month, has been prepping for the season in extended spring training. The 37-year-old certainly isn't the dynamic slugger he once was, but has shown he still has pop against right-handers, mashing 24 home runs against them last season. Howard likely serves as organizational depth, but could serve as an interesting call-up for interleague games or as a heavy hitter off the bench.
The Braves signed Howard to a minor-league deal Thursday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. Howard will participate in extended spring training before reporting to Triple-A Gwinnett.
With Freddie Freeman locked in as a franchise player at first base, Howard didn't exactly join a spot that puts him on the fast track to the bigs. Still, Atlanta could have worse organizational depth pieces than someone who hit 23-plus home runs in the previous three seasons. The 2006 National League MVP must wait for an opportunity, though it may come as a bench bopper or as a designated hitter in interleague play at American League parks. The latter avenue could serve as a teaser before Atlanta uses him as trade bait for AL clubs later in the season.
The Phillies announced Thursday that they have declined the 2017 team option on Howard's contract, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports, and he is now a free agent.
Howard hit 25 home runs in 2016 for the seventh time in his career, but he also hit just .196 and would have been due $23 million had the Phillies picked up his option, so there was not much of a decision for them to make. Howard has not announced any intention to hang up the cleats, so he will likely look for a job elsewhere. At this stage of his career, however, he is likely looking at a reserve job wherever he lands.
Howard went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Mets.
The veteran slugger took Bartolo Colon deep in the fifth for his 25th bomb of the season, the third consecutive year in which he's eclipsed the 20-homer mark. Howard has hit safely in three of his last four games, giving him a chance to finish the season above the Mendoza Line if he's in the lineup Sunday for the final contest of 2016.
Howard will not be in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Braves, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Howard started five of the last six games at first base and is expected to start all three of the Phillies' final three games this season, so manager Pete Mackanin decided to give him a day to rest. Tommy Joseph will man first base for the Phillies in Howard's place.
Howard went 2-for-3 with a walk, a solo homer and four RBI in Tuesday's game against the Braves.
Howard has homered in three of his last five games. The two-hit game pushed his average up to .196, giving him a chance to cross the Mendoza Line before the season ends. Despite the poor batting average, Howard has been somewhat productive this year with 24 home runs and a .453 slugging percentage in 316 at-bats. Furthermore, the first baseman's 56 RBI total is second-most over his last five seasons. (In fairness, he only played half a season in 2012 and 2013 due to injury). Howard's disappointing season can mainly be attributed to his abysmal first-half performance, as he's been significantly better-- and even fantasy-relevant -- since the break.
Howard went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Braves.
Howard has homered in three of his last five games. The two-hit game pushed his average up to .196, giving him a chance to cross the Mendoza Line before the season ends. Despite the poor batting average, Howard has been somewhat productive this year with 24 home runs and a .453 slugging percentage in 316 at-bats.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Howard will play a lot over the Phillies' final nine games of the season, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia reports.
Howard returned to the starting lineup Thursday after missing a few games with a sore knee. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and his 23rd home run of the season. He's now hit .272/.344/.642 with nine home runs since the beginning of August.
Howard (knee) is back in the lineup Thursday against the Mets, Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal reports.
Howard was held out of the lineup four consecutive games due to some issues with his knee, but it seems the extra days off have gotten the slugger back on track to finish out the season. Howard will take over at first base and is expected to get a good number of starts there as the Phillies give him a nice sendoff for all the years he spent with the team.
Howard (knee) will be held out of the lineup Wednesday, but is available to pinch hit, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Some reports cropped up that Howard may not be injured anymore, but manager Pete Mackanin seems content with keeping him on the bench for the time being so that the slugger's knee doesn't flare up and spoil his last hurrah in Philadelphia. Howard could return to the lineup as soon as Thursday when the Phillies face right-hander Seth Lugo and the Mets, but in the meantime, Tommy Joseph will continue to see starts at first base.
Howard (knee) remains out of the lineup Tuesday against the White Sox.
Howard had told reporters that he was aiming for a Tuesday return, but evidently the knee is still presenting issues as Tommy Joseph is slated to start at first base again for Philadelphia. Regardless, Howard seems confident that he will be able to return at some point soon as he looks to finish his farewell tour with the club on a high note.
Howard, who is day-to-day with a left knee injury, told reporters he could be ready to play by Tuesday, Stephen Gross of the Philadelphia Morning Call reports.
Howard was a late scratch from Saturday's lineup and was once again held out in Sunday's series finale. The team had a day off Monday, and the veteran first baseman is optimistic that will give him enough rest to be ready to return Tuesday. Until Howard resurfaces, Tommy Joseph should see regular starts at first base.
Howard (knee) is out of the lineup Sunday against the Marlins, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Howard was scratched from Saturday's lineup due to some swelling in his knee, and it seems the inflammation hasn't gone down enough to allow him to play Sunday. Tommy Joseph will slot in at first base in his stead. Consider Howard day-to-day for the time being.
Howard was scratched from Saturday's lineup with a left knee injury, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports.
Apparently Howard has some fluid buildup in his knee, and he was non-committal about returning Sunday, saying "we'll see." Tommy Joseph is now slated to man first base Saturday against Marlins right-hander Jose Urena.
Howard went 1-for-2 with a solo homer and two walks in an extra-inning victory over the Marlins on Friday.
Though his average remains firmly below the Mendoza Line at .193, the 36-year-old Howard does have a pair of homers and five RBI over his last six games. His average is a career low by far, a dubious distinction that Howard has managed to offset somewhat with a third consecutive season of 20-plus homers.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Howard will start the next three games against the Marlins at first base, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia reports.
Howard has been splitting time at first base fairly evenly of late with Tommy Joseph. Mackanin also said the Phillies plan to start Howard for the team's final three home games of the season against the Mets. They will be Howard's final games with the Phillies before he becomes a free agent.
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