Ryan Howard, who played 13 seasons for the Phillies, became a free agent late last season after the club bought out of his contract and released him. While in Philly, he won an MVP award and World Series title, made three All-Star teams, and hit 382 homers. But Howard was clearly on his last legs in 2016, hitting .196 and striking out 114 times in 362 plate appearances.
Despite struggling through a dismal, anonymous season last year, Howard insisted that he wasn’t ready to retire. Today, the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies’ divisional rivals, announced that they’d signed Howard to a minor-league deal. His first assignment will be with the Braves’ Triple-A team.
Howard is 37, and his hitting abilities are only slightly better than those of a batter painted on the tarp at a carnival’s speed pitch game, but who knows. Maybe he can give the younger players tips on taters.