Recently things got grumbly between Ryan Howard and the Phillies as Howard’s playing time was reduced. He’s clearly on his way out of Philly and, as a wise man once said, everything ends badly; otherwise it wouldn’t end.
But there’s at least some chance that Howard’s end will be somewhat enjoyable for him. Pete Mackanin said yesterday that the first baseman will start Howard in each of the final two home weekends, at least against righthanders. Previously Mackanin said that Tommy Joseph would get those starts too, but he reversed course, acknowledging that Howard deserves a sendoff and that a handful of at bats for Joseph wouldn’t matter.
That’s the right call. Howard may not have been the player everyone hoped he’d be these past few years, but he is still loved by Phillies fans for what he did before. They deserve the chance to cheer him one last time and he deserves the chance to hear those cheers.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.