The Atlanta Braves made a very interesting decision to add Ryan Howard on a minor league deal. Howard seems like a good bench option considering the current talent on the roster.
The Atlanta Braves linked Ryan Howard to a minor league deal on Thursday that will send the former Phillies slugger to AAA and could give the Braves a power option off the bench. Ryan Howard spent his entire career to this point with the Phillies terrorizing Braves pitching.
Adding Ryan Howard to a minor league deal one that should soon send Howard to the Braves bench. The weakest spot on the Braves current 25-man roster is their lack of power off the bench. A bench that features three catches and Emilio Bonifacio as the 4th outfielder.
Adding Howard to a roster that has a healthy Freddie Freeman may seem like an off move but it is one that would make sense considering the makeup of the roster. Howard would allow a powerful option off the bench that the Braves have lacked for a long time. It would also allow Freeman to have an occasional day off without starting a middle infielder at first.
Howard may not be at his best defensively but he is capable of an occasional start at first while playing above average defense. His power is his best tool and a tool that the Braves could really use coming off of the bench late in games.
Coming up against right relievers late in a game who would they rather face in fairness Jace Peterson or Ryan Howard? The answer is obvious and one that should force the Braves to add him to their bench shortly.
The one problem for the Braves will be getting Howard regular AB’s when the game is not close or a pinch hitter is not often needed. Letting Freeman rest for a few games this season may not be a bad idea considering the injury problems he has had at times in his career.
Howard is a capable hitter still who deserves a Major League chance and should get just that coming off of the Braves bench. Howard hit 25-homers last season though batting only .196 for the season. His second half numbers were much better though as he hit .262 in the second half of the season.
Adding a known Braves killer into their system is not only a tip of the cap but a wise move by a front office that seems unwilling to leave any stone unturned. For the sake of the bench let’s hope the Braves opt to add Howard to the Big League roster sooner rather than later.