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The Tigers should not trade for Ryan Howard, so stop asking

Yes, Miguel Cabrera is hurt, but we shouldn't lose our minds here.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Cabrera will be out of action for at least six weeks with a Grade 3 left calf strain, which leaves a massive hole in the middle of the Detroit Tigers lineup. Sure, they are still a talented bunch; Victor Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez, and Ian Kinsler make up a very productive core. However, the Tigers will likely look outside the organization to add a cheap bat at the trade deadline to help offset Cabrera's absence.

That bat is not Ryan Howard.

Sure, it may sound like a good idea. Howard is a former All-Star and MVP who has six 30-homer seasons under his belt. He led the National League in RBI three times from 2006 to 2009. The Philadelphia Phillies are bad, and his contract is ugly enough that they would likely eat the majority of it in hopes of clearing him off their roster.

This is not the Ryan Howard you're familiar with, though. Howard has been a below average hitter for the past four seasons, dating back to his injury-shortened 2012 season. He is hitting .231/.301/.416 with 61 home runs in just over 1,500 plate appearances during this stretch, and has just one season -- 2013, when he only played 80 games -- with a wRC+ above 100.

This season, Howard is hitting .220/.267/.433 with 13 home runs in 297 plate appearances. Sure, the .213 isolated power (ISO) is impressive, but that's it. His 90 wRC+ is the second-worst figure among qualified MLB first basemen and he is striking out 5.5 times for every walk he takes.

To put this in more familiar terms, let's compare Howard's numbers to some Tigers hitters. His 90 wRC+ is only slightly better than Anthony Gose (88 wRC+), while Howard's on-base percentage is lower than both Nick Castellanos (.281) and Bryan Holaday (.271). Howard's 27.6 percent strikeout rate is nearly identical to Alex Avila's, at 28 percent. In fact, Howard's .220 batting average and .267 on-base percentage are reminiscent of Victor Martinez's numbers (.216/.308/.270) before he was put on the disabled list.

Stat Number Closest Comparison
Batting average .220 Nick Castellanos (.234)
On-base percentage .267 Bryan Holaday (.271)
Slugging percentage .433 Josh Wilson (.429)
OPS .700 Ian Kinsler (.695)
ISO .213 Tyler Collins (.216)
wRC+ 90 Anthony Gose (88)
WAR -0.1 Daniel Fields (-0.1)

There is a silver lining, though. Howard is batting .247 with a .484 slugging average against right-handed pitching this season. His .291 on-base percentage against righties is still rotten, but an all-or-nothing lefty bat still has some value, and I don't know if Steven Moya would be able to put up those numbers in the major leagues yet.

Of course, there's still that contract to worry about. Howard is being paid $25 million this season and in 2016, and has a $25 million team option for 2017. Roughly speaking, the 35-year-old Howard is due a minimum of $47.5 million before his contract expires. Unless the Phillies pick up nearly every dime of that deal, I can't see any reason why acquiring Howard would be beneficial to the Tigers.

So stop asking.