After the Phillies gave Ryan Howard an unprecedented five-year, $US125 million contract in 2012, Howard’s skills have declined with his age.
At 35 years old, Howard was benched several times last year as he batted .223 with 23 home runs, 95 RBIs, and a .310 on-base percentage.
The Phillies haven’t been shy about wanting to trade Howard. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently said on a radio show, “I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organisation not with him but without him.”
But getting rid of Howard will be difficult for the Phillies. Howard has a no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to reject trades to 20 MLB teams. The nine teams Howard can’t reject a trade to — the Yankees, Royals, Tigers, Angels, Mariners, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, and Red Sox — either don’t have a need for a first basemen or DH, or have small payrolls and wouldn’t want to pay Howard’s monstrous contract.
Howard is owed $US25 million through the next two seasons. For 2017, the Phillies have a $US23 million team option on Howard, and a $US10 million buyout option, so he’s guaranteed a minimum of $US60 million through the next two years.
Howard has failed to live up to the value of his contract, making him extremely difficult to trade. This chart shows Howard’s career earnings versus his career value:
With a dry trade market, the Phillies may be forced to eat the next two years of Howard’s contract at $US25 million per year as well as the $US10 million buyout of his 2017 team option.
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