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Phillies officials “have contemplated the possibility of paying off” and releasing Ryan Howard

Jul 23, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

ryan howard getty Getty Images

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was inked to a massive five-year, $125 million contract extension in April 2010 and is still owed more than $60 million in guaranteed money. But the 34-year-old is batting just .224/.305/.377 through 417 plate appearances this season and Darin Ruf got the start at first base for Philadelphia on Wednesday night against the Giants. Jim Salisbury of now reports that Howard’s future with the club is very much in question

The team has floated his name in trade talks, but Howard is owed the remainder of $25 million for this season and $60 million over the next two seasons. No team is interested in taking on that amount of money — or even part of it because the Phils know they’d have to eat a large portion of Howard’s salary — for a declining player.

The logical next step is to release Howard. Sources say team officials have contemplated the possibility of paying off Howard and moving on without him after the season.

“It’s been a disappointing year for me, period,” Howard told’s Todd Zolecki on Wednesday afternoon. “Things haven’t necessarily shaped up the way I’ve wanted them to, coming back after basically not playing for the last two years, trying to make it through a full season. There have been a lot of highs and lows. A lot of frustration. There’s frustration from the fans, frustration period. I have my own frustrations as well. You know, it’s really, you try to stay positive. I know people are going to put a lot on either how much money I make, or what I’m doing on the field, this or that or whatever, but at the end of the day, you go out there and try, you try to do what you can. I’m really just trying to get back in the flow of things.”

The Phillies are expected to be one of the most active sellers at this year’s trade deadline.

It appears that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Co. have finally been forced to embrace a rebuild.

  1. cohnjusack - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Just a quick reminder next time your weighing the opinions of various sportswriters:

    The reactions back in April of 2010 when this contract was signed:

    Roy Neyer: “It’s also a testament to old-school ignorance: ignorance of aging patterns, ignorance of position scarcity, ignorance of opportunity costs … hey, take your pick. The Phillies have done a lot of things right over the last few years. But this is a big bowl of wrong.”

    Jon Heyman: “good job by #phillies to sign superstar ryan howard to a 5-year contract extension”

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:24 PM

      This all said, I have read about Amaro “considering” various things for two or three years now. Wake me up when he actually does something.

  2. Caught Looking - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    A terrible deal when it was signed; an even worse one now.

  3. andreweac - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    So it wasn’t a good contract after all? To bad nobody in baseball ever saw this coming…

  4. phillysports1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Why not just trade him and eat the remaining of the contract ?

    • paperlions - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      Trade him for what?

      Just about every team has a guy playing 1B in AAA that is a non-prospect that can hit MLB pitching as well has Howard is and provide more value on the bases and in the field than Howard.

      The reason the would cut him is because every team they talked to said they wouldn’t take him if he was free…..and honestly, he probably isn’t worth the roster spot.

      • dan1111 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:42 AM

        If I were an AL team, I might be willing to give up a marginal prospect to take a chance on Howard at DH (if the Phillies ate his salary, of course).

        With his history, it is worth seeing if he could get back on track if he no longer had to play the field. He was a good hitter against righties as recently as last season.

      • paperlions - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        Eh, maybe. He was aided with a .370 BABIP vs RHP last year, indicating a good amount of luck in those numbers. If Philly picked up the entire contract, you might ship them a non-useless organizational guy.

    • toodrunktotastethischicken - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      The best you could get at this point is a batting practice pitcher, packs of chewing gum and maybe some new bats.

    • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      Trade him to whom?

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Actually, he just might be worth Amaro taking a shot with one team ….

      “Paging Brian Cashman!”

      • dondada10 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        I’m as far from a Yankees fan as it gets (a Mets fan who grew up in the Bronx), but there’s no way Cashman even considers something so dumb.

      • dan1111 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:47 AM

        That’s correct, the Yankees would never require a washed up player who can’t hit any more.

        …except for Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, Lyle Overbay, Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, Brian Roberts…

      • Tick - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        “but there’s no way Cashman even considers something so dumb.” Really? I’d like to see some evidence that Cashman considers anything. Seems like the guy just rubber stamps anything that gets put on his desk and then goes back to playing Candy Crush.

  5. phillysports1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I’m a little confuse ..

    • illadelphiasphinest - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      Because nobody wants him. He thinks he’s a cleanup hitter, but he can’t hit! It doesnt’t matter anymore if it’s a lefty or a righty. He can’t hit. His D is terrible. He can’t run. It makes no sense for a tea to give up anything for him when they could get him for next to nothing as a FA.

  6. rollinghighwayblues - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Not to pile on, but come on. Four years ago everyone BUT the Phil’s front office thought this was a bad move. I remember everyone was scratching their head after they heard the news. Zero sympathy for the Phil’s and the boneheads who pull the strings as of late.

    • tuberippin - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:01 AM

      Please refer to the comment at the top of the comments section.

  7. 1harrypairatesties - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    I guess this is what happens when you have 3 unproductive years in a row.

  8. scatterbrian - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Can we please rekindle those Howard for Pujols trade rumors?

  9. geejon - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Dodgers are probably nearing the same point with Crawford and Ethier. Even worse … those guys aren’t simply making a ridiculous sum with little return (like Howard), but they’re actually blocking Joc Pederson from a call-up. The kid would not only be an offensive improvement but he plays a hell of a CF unlike their present options.

  10. phillysports1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    I know he’s garbage. Believe me ! I know he stinks ! Hopefully they release him tomorrow for all I care. But I’m just saying, at least try to get anything for him ! Lol

  11. phillysports1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    I’m hoping that will open doors for Franco next season.

    • cgaz87 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      Julio? He has got to be in his 50’s by now.

      • kindasporty - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:40 PM

        I’m sure he can still hit.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        Ruben’s kind of guy

  12. aphillieated - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Trade him for a bucket of bubble gum.

  13. realgone2 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    I dunno…The Angels took Vernon Wells.

  14. whatacrocker - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    An aging slugger? A veteran presence? I’ll bet that if he gets cut, the Phillies will sign him.

    Oh, wait.

    • dan1111 - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:49 AM


  15. mianfr - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Kind of sad to see him become a scapegoat for what’s wrong with the Phillies. While he is the most glaring example, this organization has been making awful management decisions for years.

    • Joe - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      He’s not becoming a scapegoat. He’s actually that bad right now. The rest of the old and (arguably) overpaid guys are doing pretty well.

      • mianfr - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        Presumably the general manager bears some responsibility for the rest of the team and its farm system as well.

      • Joe - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        No doubt he does. But regardless, Howard isn’t being benched because of Ruben Amaro’s stupid decisions as GM. He’s being benched because of his abysmal performance.

  16. jayquintana - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    What has Amaro done that, literally, a person off the street couldn’t have done?

  17. tommyjeans - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Amaro should be the 1st to go!

  18. realgone2 - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Secretary: Your Unholiness, Reuben Amaro is on line 2. He wants to know if he can payoff Ryan Howard and release him. Then sign Cory Hart to a 5 year 70 million dollar contract and still keep his job?

    Satan: Good God Woman! Don’t you know there are even limits to my powers?!

  19. chaseutley - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    Howard is terrible, right now. If he remotely resembled the guy who signed his current contract, the Phillies’ lineup would look completely different.

    • dan1111 - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:53 AM

      Even if he played like his 2009 self throughout this contract, he would be ridiculously overpaid.

      But yeah, the Phillies would be better. Just in general, they would be way better off if age-related declines did not exist.

  20. stan97 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    This coming from a team who just this last off season decided that ‘maybe’ it might be time to hire an “analytics guy” only 11 years after Moneyball was published and about 45 years after sabermetrics was invented…

    Don’t hold your breath on this team doing anything right moving forward. They are the laughing stock of baseball.

    • tuberippin - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:10 AM

      I dunno. I mean, we get laughed at a lot, but all it takes is one higher-up (looking at you, Montgomery) to sour on Amaro’s idiocy and clean house. I mean, we did spend most of the early 00s watching horrendous Phils teams, only to see them turn it around and have a good amount of success from 2006 to 2012.

    • jwbiii - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:39 AM

      Forty five years? This was published in 1954.

  21. hushbrother - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Favorite stat: in 2008 Howard led the NL in home runs (48) and RBI (146) and finished second in the MVP voting. But according to bWAR, he was only the ninth-best player that year – on the Phillies:

    Utley 9.0
    Rollins 5.4
    Victorino 4.4
    Hamels 4.3
    Werth 3.7
    Moyer 2.8
    Lidge 2.4
    Burrell 2.3
    Howard 1.8

    • stan97 - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Yeah, what a joke – Utley should have been MVP that season.

      Howard has sucked for like 6 out of his last 7 seasons, it’s past time for ppl to stop making excuses for him.

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