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Should the Phillies think about trading Ryan Howard?

May 11, 2013, 10:45 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

First baseman Ryan Howard, 33 years old and still suffering lingering effects of an Achilles injury suffered in Game Five of the 2011 NLDS, should be on the trading block according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. The lefty slugger entered tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks with a .262/.299/.476 line and is in the second year of a five-year, $125 million contract signed in April 2010.

As the Yankees’ acquisition of Vernon Wells shows, moving an albatross contract isn’t impossible. The Angels are paying $9.5 million this year and $18.6 million next year for Wells to play in the Bronx. The Phillies would similarly have to assume a very large portion of Howard’s remaining contract.

Murphy writes:

The Phillies are going to be paying Howard regardless, and with a free-agent market that features potential replacements like Mike Morse, Corey Hart, Mark Reynolds and a gaggle of bounce-back candidates, the Phillies could pay Howard the bulk of his salary to play for another team and use the remaining dollars to sign a capable replacement. This is about the talent the Phillies need at the premium positions that they are going to need to fill, and if trading Howard and eating a significant chunk of dollars can land them a potential second baseman or third baseman or shortstop of the future, they would be wise to move heaven and earth to make it happen.

The Phillies, if they continue dragging their feet, will head towards the deadline with the ability to trade free agents-to-be Chase Utley, Michael Young, Roy Halladay, along with Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon, both under long-term contracts, potentially. Howard could be among them as well.

  1. thebadguyswon - May 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    They should fire Ruben Amaro first.

    • kitn1958 - May 12, 2013 at 6:36 AM

      My last paycheck was $7500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. The potential with this is endless. This is what I do, Rich4.Com_

  2. andreweac - May 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    After firing Amaro I doubt the next GM could get a decent prospect from Howard unless a) Tony Reagins is hired as GM for another team or b) they eat $70 of his $85 million left (which includes buy-out).

    A bad defensive RH platoon 1B just isn’t worth a lot in this market.

    • dondada10 - May 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

      You’re right, but I don’t think they’d have to eat that much. I can see eating 50 mil.

      Now, does a team see Howard as a viable option for 3/35?

      • Kevin S. - May 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        They shouldn’t, but some might. Nobody’s giving up anything of value, though. Even if Philly ate the whole thing, would you rather play Ryan Howard’s corpse or a young prospect the minimum?

      • evanwins - May 12, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        I can’t ever remember the Phillies eating any salary so I doubt this is going to happen. There are other solutions that keep him on the roster and maximize what you can get out of him, as an only against RHP platoon.

        It’s tough to see but he does have the most HR’s and is top 3 in RBI’s since he’s entered the league, which has value (and that includes missing most of last season).

        Also, his PH numbers are off the charts. I’m not sure how that will translate to a DH position.

    • thebadguyswon - May 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

      I can’t see how Ryan Howard is tradable. But then again, I didnt think Vernon Wells was either.

      • jwbiii - May 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Yes, the Yankees acquired Wells, but the Angels and the Blue Jays are paying 70% of his remaining salary and the Yankees gave up a couple of non-prospects: Exicardo Cayones (20 years old, LF, 228/374/291 at Low A Staten Island last season) and Kramer Sneed (24, RP, 5.37 ERA in High A Tampa). The Phils might be able to dump a small portion of Howard’s salary, but they’re not going to get anything useful, much less a replacement for Utley, in return.

  3. randygnyc - May 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Combined, Roy Holliday and Ryan Howard have the trade value of less than zero (considering the phillies will have to eat 20 of the 25 million dollars each year for the next 3 years to move him, and, get nothing back for him). Holliday, as is, is useless and not worth a roster spot for any team in the league except maybe the Astros and marlins, but Roy won’t pitch for minimum wage. Utley might yield a pitcher like Phil Humber in return. With cliff Lee and Papelbon’s bloated salaries, they’ll be lucky to shed a good portion of it but won’t even get back a bushel of seeds back. Phillies are Phucked.

    • dondada10 - May 11, 2013 at 11:10 PM

      Halladay.

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Humber for Utley? You’re on some good dope man. Teams would take Utley and Halladay was obviously hurt. Ryan Howard doesn’t have a lot of value.

  4. randygnyc - May 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Dondada- correct. As in auto-correct. Now make HBT give us an edit button so as to avoid the blush of embarrassment.

  5. onbucky96 - May 11, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Derrick Bell thinks its time for Operation Shutdown.

    • drone501 - May 12, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      can’t believe how far and fast this team has fallen. do all general managers get stupid once they to phillie.

      • tuberippin - May 13, 2013 at 1:16 AM

        Except the autocorrect word would be “holiday,” as in a day of celebration, not “Holliday,” as in Matt Holliday (as opposed to Roy Halladay).

  6. dawglb - May 12, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    What would be a crime is, trading any of these guys without giving Sandberg a chance to inspire better play with this group. I say, fire Charlie now. Let Sandberg have a 30+ game run before selling off the talent….

  7. andreweac - May 12, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Ryan Howard and his .289 is “talent”?

  8. randygnyc - May 12, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I know the Philly fans have grown cold on Charlie, but IMO, he’s the only thing there that’s not rancid. Sure, he’s not eloquent, but damn, he’s got serious baseball knowledge and is more savant than simpleton.

  9. grnthghs - May 12, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Every year the same dumb question is asked about Ryan Howard especially after the WS win in ’08. Howard is a big Phillies fan favourite and the trade will never happen unless you want the fans to burn down Citizens Bank Park and crucify Montgomery and Co. Just forget about it, but the idea of getting rid of that arrogant pr… Amaro is a great one! Pat Gillick should be brought back since he created their championship team not Rube. Since Pat, Rube has ruined the Phils making really bad moves. Also, the Phils should bring-up their minor league players sooner not keeping them there forever. Howard lost four years on his career at least and their players come from the minors in the mid-20’s. Ruf is 26 and now in the minors again. Dom Brown is 25 and confused as of the Phils burning his years in the minors. Jesse Biddle is nearly 20 and Amaro said he wasn’t ready. How can he make such an assessment creating such a mess since Gillick? Biddle struct out 16 batters the other day. I know it is the minors, but please Tyler Cloyd or Phillipe Aumont, Valdes, Horst and please for god sakes Chad Durbin! Anyone would be better than those players.

    • ryanrockzzz - May 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      Yes, the Phillies suck this year. But there’s certainly some valid counterpoints to everything you’ve posted here.

      – This championship teams were not built by Pat Gillick. They were in fact built by Ed Wade, who got railroaded out of town by fans and media also. He drafted Howard, Utley, Hamels, Rollins, Ruiz. Pat Gillick inherited a team that had all the pieces, but needed re-tooling at secondary positions, something Wade was never good at.

      – At the time Ryan Howard signed his contract, he was coming three very good years. He was going to be hitting free agency, where he was in line for a huge contract. The Phillies signed him at a fair deal, and they would have paid more had they let him go to free agency. That was not a bad move by Amaro. Also, Amaro inhertied an aging roster of players getting older. Gillick inherited a team right at their prime. Despite all that, the Phillies still went to another WS with Amaro as GM, and probably should have played in another one (St. Louis) if they could have scored more then 1 run in game 5. They were a very good team that year. The point here is that the Phillie had their window. If they win another WS, that would make one under Gillick and one under Amaro, which changes the innacurate perception about him.
      – One mistake Amaro has made, is trying to keep this window open longer then he should have. The Phillies needed to re-build after last year, and now that process will have to wait until at least midseason.
      – About these prospects: Darin Ruff didn’t start playing in the minors until he was 23. So he’s only had 3 years of professional ball. He had every chance to win a job in the spring and he could not. Dom Brown I agree with. Should have just let him play someone consistently. Jesse Biddle is no where near ready, however since he’s at 11 K/9, ERA under three, i’d give him a few more starts and then maybe bring him to AAA. Outside of that, there really isn’t anyone else. Gilles had been demoted to AA, Joseph, is stuck behind Ruiz, and players like Cesear Hernandez aren’t ready either.

  10. dirtyharry1971 - May 12, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    i see a nice fit for the bluejays, this guy whiffs a LOT!!! and so do the jays

    • jimeejohnson - May 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Feud much?

  11. dannomac21 - May 12, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    What if the Phils hung on to Yuni Betancourt?

  12. coryfor3 - May 12, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    That contract was a disaster from the start

  13. misterj167 - May 12, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    The Phillies are learning the hard way how difficult it is to field a competitive team year in and year out. People jibe the Braves and Braves fans for their lone WS win during their stretch of 14 consecutive division titles, never mind that even playing above .500 for more than a decade is a pretty remarkable feat.

    Maybe team owners will pay more attention to fairly simple ideas of not paying huge sums of money and long-term contracts to athletes who could be one pitch or one bad play away from a career-ending injury, but then again, you don’t necessarily need to be smart to have a lot of money. The Phillies are stuck with Howard not because he isn’t a good ball player but because no one in their right mind would take on that salary for so many years for a player who is never going to be as good as he used to be.

  14. thekingdave - May 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    @grnthghs

    Dominic Brown sucks so he has no reason to be confused. You guys sound more and more like Astro fans in 2007 everyday.

  15. phillies816 - May 12, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    If any team is dumb enough to take Ryan Howard l would be overjoyed. However the Phillies problems are so widespread that Howard is just one of them. The fish stinks from the head down. Amaro is in way over his head, Manuel is a good players manager but sucks at strategic decisions, the position players have all seemed to stop killing the ball right around the same time the Phillies got caught stealing signs from the bullpen, and quite frankly it is a pretty stupid team when it comes to fundamentals. I do love this team but this year they are really tough to watch. Like someone else said on here they need to fire Charlie and give Ryne Sandberg a shot before trading off guys like Utley, Rollins, Howard (like anyone wants him), Papelbon (maybe back to Boston?) Lee, Chooch. If Sandberg can’t get more out of them then trade them off and start over. The only good thing is that the ticket prices are dropping like rocks online because all the fairweather fans (mostly drunken younger “fans”) in Philly don’t think it’s the cool place to be now that the Phillies suck.

  16. gibbskins9 - May 12, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Phillies should trade a 33 yr old broken down first basemen making 25 mill per year, To who? Really your bad contract live with it.

  17. kyzslew77 - May 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Where are all the Phans who want to tell the whole internet that Howard is actually undervalued because of all the RBIs he gets? I seem to remember running into a lot of them on the internet the past few years. For some reason they’re really quiet this year

  18. modellforprez - May 12, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    filthadelhp isnt aint winning no more young bull or Ock. ya dig so yalls should just trade that herb. I RIP THRU FREEWAY SHOOT THRU MEMPHIS FOR MONEY BAGS STOP IN FILTHY ORDER CHEESE WIT’S AND EAT BEANS FAST

    • jwbiii - May 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Art Modell died last fall. Those are some long lasting drugs.

    • jwbiii - May 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Unless you’re talking about Jennifer Modell. I haven’t seen her in ages, but I might be ok with that.

  19. 13arod - May 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    the only team that can afford howard is the redsoxs

    • jwbiii - May 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Who don’t need a 1B. The Yankees, Dodgers, Angels and Tigers could also afford him, but they are also set.

  20. paperlions - May 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    I am confused as to why Murphy thinks Philly could get “a potential second baseman or third baseman or shortstop of the future” in a Howard trade. He is a well below average 1B right now, and really doesn’t look like it’ll turn around. He’s never been good in the field or on the bases. Why would anyone want to even commit to having Howard on their roster for his age 34-36 seasons AND give up a potentially starting infielder for the…ahem…privilege? I would be surprised if they could just get a team to agree to pay more than $20M of his remaining salary, much less give up any prospect of value as well.

    That this team was going to decline badly has been fairly obvious for a couple of years (I’m sure people remember those debates). Getting old and expensive while emptying your farm system to keep things going is a recipe for future disaster….especially when the FO still operates as if it is the mid-90s. The Philly FO has been a disaster since Gillick and Arbuckle left…those were the guys that put together a great team and a deep and talented farm system. This regime has already spent all of that currency, now they are broke (in terms of valuable assets), and don’t have any options.

    • evanwins - May 12, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      Not that I disagree about Howard’s value.

      But, he has improved greatly in the field, currently holding the longest errorless streak at 1B.

      He IS the HR leader since he came into the league. He is also near the top in RBI’s in that time.

      They didn’t decline until last year, having the best record in baseball the year before (which is obvious not decline). Last year can easily be blamed on injuries. This year of course is not over (although not looking positive).

      Almost everyone they traded in the farm system has turned out to be nothing. There is not a single piece, to date, that has done anything.

      They may be broke in terms of MLB ready talent but they do have talent in their farm, especially pitching. Nad they have plenty of real money and are only going to get more of it soon.

      • 18thstreet - May 12, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        The defense of Howard always begins with the RBIs. As if having teammates who get on base has nothing to do with that.

  21. evanwins - May 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    It’s funny how they’re are so many “Phillies should trade…” stories and I haven’t seen one story on who the Dodgers, Angels or Blue Jays should trade.

    Not a ton of stories on how epically bad those teams are either but again, I see a lot of those on the Phillies. The Dodgers just lost 8 straight and barely a peep from the media.The Angels can’t even beat the Astros but, hey, it’s the Phillies that stink.

    Ryan Howard is a Philadelphia Phillie. He is what is he. He is going to stay a Phillie. He helped bring us a World Series Championship, 5 Division titles and 2 league pennants, which is more than most players have helped deliver to their fans.

    • 18thstreet - May 12, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      For $20 million, isn’t he supposed to do those things?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 12, 2013 at 8:14 PM

        You mean $25M right?

      • 18thstreet - May 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        The first $20 million is supposed to cover winning. The next $5 million is for being a fan favorite.

        Uh, yeah. That’s what I meant to say.

      • evanwins - May 13, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        Right. And of course every player who makes $20M does all of those things.

  22. millmannj - May 12, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Mark Reynolds is listed as a top free-agent-to-be that the Phillies should go after once they trade Howard? Did Reynolds hit a HR against the Phillies a few weeks back and that is why the reporter mentioned him? Yeah, great move: replace Howard with someone who’ll hit about 10 fewer homers a season, but strikeout 60-75 more times than him.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      Yeah, great move: replace Howard with someone who’ll hit about 10 fewer homers a season

      Since ’09, Reynolds 147 has hit HR to Howard’s 129. Since 2010, Reynolds has hit more HR each year than Howard has. Y’all know this stuff can be looked up right?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 12, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        Yikes, me flunk English, that’s unpossible.

        Reynolds has hit 147 HR to Howard’s 129 (and in ’08 he hit 44 to Howard’s 45).

      • evanwins - May 13, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Howard played in SIGNIFICANTLY fewer games in that span. You don’t feel the need to take that into consideration?

      • millmannj - May 14, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        @church- Yes, I do know this stuff can be looked up. Like, since 2010 Reynolds has struck out 169 more times than Howard. So, in exchange for 3 more HR/season, Reynolds strikes out 34 more times a season. This in addition to hitting 20 points lower and driving in an average of 14 fewer runs.

        In 2012, Howard was out almost half the season recoving from an achillies injury. He played in 64 fewer games than Reynolds but hit 14HR with 56RBI, compared to 23HR & 69RBI

        My orginal point being, why would you trade away Howard (and the only way you do that is by eating a TON of his contract) for someone who isn’t that much of an upgrade, and an argument could be made that you are getting a lesser ballplayer.

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