Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard might be a touch overrated. He's almost certainly paid more than he would be on the open market. He gets MVP votes in seasons where he might not be one of the top four or five first basemen in the league.
But he's still good. His OPS+ in down years is around 125, and when that's ripped from a lineup, it'll hurt. Howard's Achilles injury has hurt the Phillies' offense, as they've made do with Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. But Ryan Howard coming back soon would help the Phillies and that team OPS+ of 82. And how. So there's encouraging news from the Associated Press:
Phillies 1B Ryan Howard took batting practice for the first time since February at the team's spring-training facility in Clearwater, Fla. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called it "progress." Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, has been sidelined since having a procedure to remove an infection near his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.
The Phillies' moribund offense can use him, and he's still targeting late May or early June for his return.