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August 12, 2017

Ryan Howard putting off retirement (again) signs minor league contract (again) with Rockies

On Aug. 30, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies made a final touch on their projected playoff roster when they traded for a powerful pinch hitter two days before the deadline to have a player in your organization who could be eligible for the postseason.

In exchange for a player to be named later (who would eventually be left-hander Fabio Castro), the Phillies acquired first baseman/outfielder Matt Stairs from the Toronto Blue Jays. Stairs had just 17 regular season at-bats with the 2008 Phillies, but when the postseason got underway, well, the rest was history.

Perhaps this is the thinking the Colorado Rockies had when they made a surprising signing early Saturday evening. Although unlike with Stairs in ’08, the player the Rockies acquired hasn’t been playing regularly this summer.

The Rockies announced they agreed to a minor league contract with Ryan Howard.

Yes, that Ryan Howard, the 37-year-old former Phillies MVP who played in his last major league game nearly 11 months ago. Howard hasn’t played anywhere for the last three months: he was released by the Atlanta Braves back on May 8, a month and two days after signing a minor league contract with them during the first week of the 2017 season.

Howard spent a little over two weeks with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate and the results weren’t encouraging, leading to his release: he slashed .184/.238/.263 in 11 games and had one extra-base hit – a home run – while striking out 11 times and walking twice (once intentionally) in 42 plate appearances with the Gwinnett County Braves.

Apparently, the Rockies are giving the Big Piece what could be one last chance. The Rockies (much like the Braves) surely remember Howard in his prime as one of his quintessential postseason moments occurred at Coors Field: the “get me to the plate, boys” at-bat in Game 4 of the 2009 NLDS in Denver.

(Apologies for posting the version of this with the near-monotone play-by-play announcer. Yikes.'s video archive system wasn't cooperating with the better version).

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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