WaPo’s Dave Sheinin notes that Frank Howard is out of a job and makes a pitch for the Nationals to do something about it:
At 72 years old, Howard is, in fact, a free agent, having been let go recently by the New York Yankees, for whom he had been working as a professional scout. He had a lifetime contract with the Yankees, courtesy of longtime owner George Steinbrenner, but — with the Boss in poor health, and having ceded control of the franchise to his sons, Hal and Hank — Howard was approached about terminating the contract, and agreed to do so . . .
. . . Nationals President Stan Kasten said this morning he is aware of Howard’s release from his Yankees contract, but declined to comment on a potential fit with the team. “I don’t have anything to say about that,” said the notoriously tight-lipped Kasten.
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: This is something that needs to happen. The Nationals maintain few tangible ties with Washington’s baseball past — the franchise’s official history includes the 36 years it spent in Montreal, but not the two incarnations of the Senators — and could make a major impact by bringing onboard the extremely popular Howard, who hit 237 of his 382 career homers in a Washington uniform.
I agree completely. History matters in baseball, and the Nats — a team without much of an identity of its own — have a century’s worth of baseball in Washington lying around waiting to be claimed.* Even if they don’t need him as a scout, Howard could prove incredibly valuable just by hanging around to do media, meet the fans, and serve as an ambassador for Nats’ baseball. It’s not like the Texas Rangers are claiming him.
Added bonus: if the Nats take my advice from yesterday and sign Adam Dunn, they could print up a bunch of posters with the 6’6″ Dunner next to the 6’7″ Howard and call it “Return of Hondo” or somethin’.
Like you wouldn’t buy one?