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Phillies willing to pay $50 million to rid themselves of Ryan Howard
So says Anthony Castrovince of Sports on Earth, who wrote yesterday that if the team really is open to carrying that sort of salary, a deal might be in the cards.

Howard has two years and $60 million remaining on his ill-advised five-year, $125 million extension, which means that an acquiring club would only have to pay him $5 million annually through 2016. The 34-year-old could justify that investment with merely 1.0 WARP production, depending on what sort of return the Phillies would seek in exchange for the massive salary coverage.

Trouble is, Howard hasn’t eclipsed 1.0 WARP since 2011, when he was actually a 2.6-win player. He came in at 0.3 wins below replacement last year, posting a .261 True Average in 648 plate appearances to go with subpar defensive metrics.

A litany of leg trouble, most recently surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee on July 10th, 2013, has sapped much of the value still left in Howard’s game. Even a mild recovery might get him back to where he needs to be to warrant $10 million in paychecks in the next two seasons. But whether any clubs are willing to take even a modest leap of faith on the first baseman remains to be seen.

Matt Wieters’ return to catching proves short lived
Remember how Matt Wieters put the gear back on yesterday for the first time since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last May? Well, he won’t be doing that again for a little while.

The Orioles announced yesterday that Wieters is now dealing with tendinitis that same elbow, an ailment that will keep him out of the squat for at least a week. Wieters played six innings at catcher in Baltimore’s game on Tuesday and appeared to come away fine, but that wasn’t the case Wednesday morning.

There’s no reason yet to believe that the tendinitis is a long-term problem, but the Orioles have to be a bit nervous that Wieters needs a break after just one day at his normal position. Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph are the only other catchers on the club’s 40-man roster. J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Lavarnway, and Brian Ward are in camp as non-roster invitees.

Reds tab Raisel Iglesias to round out rotation
The new look Cincinnati starting five is set: Holdovers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake will be joined on Opening Day by Anthony DeSclafani, Jason Marquis, and Cuban import Raisel Iglesias.

That completes a position battle that wound down when the club announced a few days ago that left-hander Tony Cingrani was bullpen bound. Now, another southpaw, Paul Maholm, will have to showcase his skills in relief, as well.

Maholm, a 32-year-old who joined the Reds on a minor-league pact in early February, will have to get accustomed to a new role if he’s to stick with the big club. He’s made 250 of his 273 career major-league appearances as a starter, and most recently pitched for the Dodgers before tearing the ACL in his right knee and undergoing surgery last August.

A deep arsenal built for starting could work in Maholm’s favor as he fights for a relief spot, though he’s always been much more effective versus like-handed batters. He’s held enemy lefties to a .246 TAv while watching righties tee off at a .290 clip.

The Reds pitching depth chart could get even murkier when Homer Bailey, who’s recovering from forearm surgery, is ready to come back.

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NJTomatoes
3/19
My opinion is TJ surgery is a much, much bigger problem for a catcher than a pitcher. The C makes a throw back for every one he receives, has to make quick, hard throws for pickoffs and steal attempts by exploding into the movement rather than a graduated move into a throwing motion, while having no day of rest between most of his starts. Wieters future is at 1B.
oldbopper
3/20
The logic behind your comment seems pretty solid, but a quality catcher is so hard to find that I am sure the O's will make every effort to keep him behind the plate. He loses almost all his value at 1st base.
lmarighi
3/20
It's an interesting idea, but I know there is a lot of belief that is the stress of the throws even more so than number that breaks down the UCL, and it seems like the throws back to the pitcher are way less stressful on the arm then an actual pitch. Your point about the pickoffs/caught stealing is well taken, though.
SaberTJ
3/22
If this were true, why do so fewer catcher have TJ surgery?