The Atlanta Braves, looking for obvious bench help have agreed to terms with former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard to a minor league deal.
The Braves have signed Ryan Howard to a Minor League deal. He'll go to extended Spring Training and then likely join Triple-A Gwinnett— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) April 6, 2017
Far removed is Ryan Howard from his MVP caliber days of 2005-2008 when the slugger hit .279/.381/.591 while mashing out 175 homeruns and collecting a .971 OPS, but the low risk signing makes sense for the Braves because if he rebounds he provides a big bat off the bench - something the Atlanta team sorely lacks. The signing also prevents Ryan from absolutely obliterating the Braves as he has done in his career - to the tune of .280/.362/.573 with 52 homers in 183 games.
While his splits from 2016 are nothing to write home about, .749 OPS vs RHP and a .355 OPS vs LHP, he did hit .265/.328/.590 over his last 39 games. He joins a Gwinnett team who has an outfielder turned first baseman, Matt Tuiasosopo, so if anything he will provide a solid alternative to Matt in Gwinnett.