No. 1: Declining Ryan Howard’s Option
Ever since Ryan Howard signed his huge five-year, $125 million extension in 2011, it his loomed over his play. Every strikeout was followed with some jeer about the contract he signed and how it was too much money. His declining play coupled with his large contract tarnished the huge part he played in bringing a World Series championship back to Philadelphia.
In fairness, criticism about Howard’s play compared to his contract have plenty of ground. He was above-replacement level just once after the 2011 season. Even at his best in 2013, he was only worth $3.1 million according to Fangraphs. Overall, Howard cost the team $15.5 million in value over the span of his contract.
When the reality set in that Howard’s time in Philadelphia was coming to an end, fans finally took a step back and recognized the important part Howard played in the best era of Phillies baseball. The team conducted a ceremony before the final game of the season for Howard, and he received one final standing ovation as he left the field one final time.
Howard’s option was officially declined once the World Series ended as the final player from the 2008 team ended his Philadelphia tenure. As mentioned with Ruiz’s departure, the changing of the guard was complete as the Phillies severed the last ties to a time that feels like so long ago.