The Colorado Rockies raised some eyebrows when they signed free agent Ryan Howard to a minor league deal. Could the Rockies call the former National League Most Valuable Player up to help them grab a playoff spot? It may be a longshot, but it is still a possibility.
On Friday, Colorado manager Bud Black was asked about the potential of Howard joining the Rockies by the end of the season. He didn’t say the scenario was not feasible.
“I’m not sure. We’re talking about it,” Black told Rox Pile and other media members before the Rockies faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of a critical three-game series to open September when asked if Howard may be called up.
Howard was signed by the Rockies on August 12 and reported to Triple-A Albuquerque. In 13 games with the Isotopes, Howard hit .231 with three home runs and eight RBI in 39 at-bats. They were far better numbers than he posted with Atlanta’s Triple-A team in Gwinnett when he logged a .184 average in 38 at-bats with just one home run and five RBI.
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One of those home runs in Albuquerque was a walk-off home run to give the Isotopes a win in the first game of a doubleheader.
As this article noted after Howard was signed by the Rockies, if he could recapture his power, the 37-year-old Howard could potentially spark Colorado in a month where they are facing a glut of division foes. When he was terrorizing the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies, Howard hit a total of 262 home runs over five seasons, including his MVP year of 2006 when he swatted 58 home runs and had 149 RBI with an OPS of 1.084.
However, for the Rockies to bring Howard up, Colorado would need to make a roster move. Howard is currently not on Colorado’s 40-man roster so a spot would need to open up for him to be placed on the roster and find a spot in Denver. Would the Rockies be willing to take one of their young, talented players off the 40-man roster in exchange for the possibility that Howard could be a lightning rod the team could use to not only reach the postseason but make some noise? That could be the biggest question lurking with this potential move with the power-hitting first baseman.