There’s been much talk this offseason about the age of the Phillies' roster, and justifiably so. It’s a major concern. Older players are susceptible to breakdowns and when you start playing too many reserves, well, you finish in fourth place. Teammate Corey Seidman has dealt with the age topic extensively in recent days.

Another topic that’s gotten a lot of play: Ryan Howard. Some say the Phillies should trade him. Some say they should buy him out. Some say they should platoon him in 2014.

We’ve heard all the angles.

Let’s quickly weigh in on those ideas:

Buy him out
Howard is owed $85 million over the next three seasons. Write the check and let him go, right?


There are a lot of reasons this shouldn’t happen.

First, even a diminished Howard is an offensive power threat that the Phillies don’t have. Who takes his place?

Second, Howard averaged 44 homers and 133 RBIs the six seasons before his tore his Achilles tendon on the final swing of 2011 season. Sure, he’s older now, and the recovery from that injury and a subsequent knee injury adversely affected the next two seasons. But Howard appears healthy now. Physically, he looked good -- stronger and leaner -- when he visited with and worked out with teammates during the final weekend of the regular season in Atlanta. It’s crazy to even consider buying out Howard before he might play his first healthy season since 2011. Still, we hear it a lot.