Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Ryan Howard Has Ruptured Achilles, Needs Surgery

It was announced this evening that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has been diagnosed with a ruptured achilles tendon and will require surgery. Here is Todd Zolecki from MLB.com:

First baseman Ryan Howard’s MRI revealed a rupture of the left Achilles tendon.  He cannot have surgery until the swelling resolves and it has not been determined who will perform the surgery.  Recovery time won’t be known until after the surgery is complete and there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training.

So, the talk that he might miss the 2012 season may have been a bit premature, but it is likely he will miss at least 6 months or more. Six months gets him back on the field in April, and that assumes everything goes well.  For those of you in keeper leagues, Chase Utley went for $25 in the UBA NL-only league auction draft, and I can see Howard going for something similar.

More fantasy baseball thoughts and an update on the Howard injury after the jump:

ESPN's Jason Churchill reported the following regarding how long Howard could be out of the Phillies lineup in 2012:

The Philadelphia Phillies have decisions to make over the winter, including what to do about free agents Ryan MadsonJimmy Rollins and potentially Roy Oswalt. They'll also have to address first base with Ryan Howard likely out for at least half of 2012 with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

We will learn more about how long Howard will be out after he has the surgery, but right now it appears he will miss at least the start of the 2012 season and possibly longer.

Unless Phillies GM Ruben Amaro makes a big offseason move, and I wouldn''t put it past him, it appears John Mayberry Jr.will man first base for the Phillies to start the 2012 season, assuming Howard is not ready for the start of the season This means that Domonic Brown would see time in left field, but there are questions as to whether Brown is ready or not, so the Phillies could look to the free agent market for a left fielder.

David Murphy, from the Philadelphia Daily News, did a little speculating in his article today:

If Howard's injury is not a big factor, Mayberry is the best option in left. But he has never played on a regular basis. And heading into a season with him and Domonic Brown as the top two options in left would require a huge leap of faith.

Which is why the Phillies should seriously consider free agency, assuming Amaro can't pull another big trade out of his hat. Nick Swisher could be a free agent if the Yankees decline his option. That isn't a sure thing, but he's an OBP guy who can work a count, something that was noticably missing from the Phillies' line-up during the postseason. Josh Willingham is another player in that mold. Defense is the big issue there, but he isn't replacing a Gold Glove in Ibanez. I wouldn't rule out Ibanez returning at a drastically lower salary and without any guarantee of regular playing time. But his is the one position that can clearly be upgraded through free agency.

Swishalicious in Philly? I think the Yankees pick up his option, so that means the Phillies could go after Josh Willingham. I think Willingham would be perfect in the Phillies lineup as he is a power right-handed bat they so sorely needed in 2011 before dealing for Hunter Pence.

And Zolecki also reported that Phillies starter Cole Hamels is also having surgery this offseason:

Left-hander Cole Hamels will have loose bodies removed from his left elbow on October 14.  He also has an inguinal hernia and surgery for that is scheduled for a week later.

It all sounds like minor surgery so nothing to worry about, but it is something to think about should Hamels not be ready for spring training, or have elbow issues in 2012.

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