If you think that dealing with injury and expectations and losing has been hard for Ryan Howard, imagine what it’s been like for him to be in a legal and financial fight with his very own family.
That fight, now settled, but likely still a major cause of angst for anyone in Howard’s position, is detailed by David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News:
Court documents filed in Howard’s home state of Missouri paint a picture of a family in turmoil. Howard’s brother Corey alleged that he had unjustly terminated a consulting agreement between the two, and Ryan in turn alleging that his father, mother and brothers were enriching themselves at his expense.
It’s not totally unlike that which we have seen with other athletes or celebrities in the past — his focus is on baseball, everyone else’s focus is on . . . other things — but it’s notable given the sheer size of Howard’s contract and how, earlier in his career, his family was such a big part of his personal story. Back when he first came up we heard so much about his parents and his twin brother and the general idea of what a great foundation Howard’s career was built on. And maybe it was. But, sadly, it spiraled in unfortunate directions.
Here’s hoping Howard is able to put this stuff behind him as he enters the next phase of his career. One that could find him on another club next season.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.