Ryan Howard's ruptured Achilles will have the Phillies looking for a short-term fix while he rehabs his injury, which could be most of the 2012 season. In response to that, I'm hearing from some Nationals' fans who think the answer may be right here in our nation's capital.
I've heard from a handful of fans who are thinking that the Nats can send Adam LaRoche to Philly to hold Howard's spot, and then go after soon-to-be free agent Prince Fielder.
I don't think so, boys and girls.
In the first place, there's no guarantee that the Phillies would even be interested in LaRoche, who's coming off of labrum surgery. In the second place, there's going to be some reluctance by both teams to deal within the division. In the third place, you can't be guaranteed that Fielder would choose Washington.
I'm sure there are other reasons why that particular transaction has little chance of happening, but for now, three should be sufficient.
Howard's injury is unfortunate, but I doubt the Nationals are really that interested in doing anything to help the Phils get over it. Besides, LaRoche is still likely the best defensive first baseman in the National League, and if he only has his typical year at the plate in 2012, that's 25 homers, give or take, and around 90 RBIs. That's acceptable.
If I'm Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, the first thought that would've come to my mind would be bringing back Howard's predecessor, Jim Thome. Sure, Thome is 41 and hasn't played much first base in five years, but he'd be relatively cheap, would accept a one-year deal, has some fondness for Philadelphia and can still hit 25-plus bolts given 450 at-bats. The short-term aspect of the gig shortens the list of prospective candidates, so it's not like Amaro will be looking at Fielder or Albert Pujols.
The Phillies will come up with something, you can count on that. It just won't be coming from Washington.