It came three years too late, but it seems as if some form of common sense has crept into the brain of Ruben Amaro Jr. As of an hour ago according to Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk, the Phillies are reportedly willing to eat up to and including $50 million of Ryan Howard's enormous (read, incredibly stupid) contract that runs through the end of next season. There is an option on his contract for the 2017 season, but let's not kid ourselves into believing that that will actually get picked up by, well, anyone. If the Phillies really do go ahead and swallow the $50 million remaining on Howard's deal, that leaves basically the $10 million buyout for 2017 for some team to give Howard before he walks away and disappears into the woods somewhere.
If Amaro really intends to dump Howard faster than a knocked up Prom Queen, he has to hurry. Howard's 10 and five rights kick in on May 2nd, allowing him to block any trade to any team whilst he trolls the Phillies cheesesteak loving fanbase. Until then, Howard has a limited no trade clause that allows him to block trades to 20 Major League teams, seven NPB teams, five KBO teams and two ABL teams*. The Major Leageue teams that Howard cannot block a trade to are the Orioles, Red Sox, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Yankees, Mariners, Rays and Rangers. And, yes, I did notice that all of those teams are American League teams. It seems the contract negotiators were well aware of Howard's inability to properly wear a baseball glove. It goes on your hand, Ryan, not your head.
Personally, I am in agreement with Gleeman and his stance in his article linked above. The kind of production that a team can bank on when it comes to Ryan Howard is the same kind of production that they can bank on from a player making the league minimum. In fact, teams could probably get it for cheaper if players weren't guaranteed to make at least $500,000 at the Major League level. Since the extension kicked in, Howard has been worth -1.0 fWAR. That's right, negative. He was worth a whopping 0.4 fWAR in 2013, but some players are worth that much by simply brushing their teeth and flossing properly every morning. Howard, however, is six inches taller than me, and because of that, I have been in contact with the Phillies organization in an attempt to work out a deal that centers around me sending three tuna fish sandwiches, two bags of sour cream and cheddar ruffles and a sprite. I could really use the help dusting the top of my refrigerator and hanging pictures. But if Amaro pushes for Cheez-Its, I am tabling the talks. I have my dignity to think about here.
Best of luck to you, Amaro. Howard started tanking before this extension even kicked in, and I'm almost positive that all 30 Major League teams have some warm body hanging out in their system who can play terrible defense, strike out like its a fashion statement and take the occasional walk. All while not rupturing their Achilles Tendon on a groundout. Just sayin', Ruben. Just, you know, sayin'.
* - I Believe that the Australian Baseball League really only has two teams. They just put different names on different colored uniforms to make people believe that they have a fully functioning league.