Ryan Howard Injury: How Torn Achilles Will Be a Good Thing for Phillies

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 07:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies stumbles as he runs out of the box on his ground out for the final out of the game as they lost 1-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to have to replace Ryan Howard's production, and that will ultimately lead to them being a stronger team in 2012.

Howard and the Phillies are still awaiting the results of an MRI to determine if his Achilles' tendon is indeed torn, but all indications point to that being the case. That will almost certainly shelve Howard for the entire 2012 season.

With Howard out of the Phillies' plans for 2012, the Phillies will have no possibility hiding under the false illusion that their weak offense is enough to win the World Series in 2012.

They will have to be aggressive in the offseason to replace Howard's prodigious production. Howard hit .253 with 31 home runs and 108 RBI this season.

His home run and RBI totals led the Phillies. He had 23 more RBI than the next closest Phillie.

The Phillies will have to scour the free-agent market for a good bat. This will not be enough, though, and this is where the injury will benefit them the most.

In order to replace that production, the Phillies will likely be forced to trade one of their big four starting pitchers.

Starting pitching is always at a premium in baseball. The Phillies have an excess. While having a pitching staff with that depth does wonders in the regular season, it is not as big of an advantage in the postseason. Pitching rotations are shortened. Three quality starters is enough to carry a team to a title.

If the Phillies can trade one of those starters and bring in a couple of good bats, then they will become a better team in the process.