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Much has been made about Ryne Sandberg’s decision to bench first baseman Ryan Howard in both of the Philadelphia Phillies’ last game in favor of Darin Ruf. While some believe the Phillies would be better off paying Howard to go away by releasing him, many believe the Phillies would do better to trade him and recoup at least some value for the aging slugger.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Phillies are “working hard” to deal Howard, and they appear to be willing to eat most of the $70 million left on Howard’s deal in order to trade him.
Howard is in the midst of the worst season of his MLB career, hitting .224 with a career-low .377 slugging percentage. He has only 26 extra-base hits in 371 at-bats this season, and is 2nd-to-last among qualifying first basemen with a .682 OPS.
That said, he can still be useful to AL teams looking for a DH, as he has hit 15 homers with 60 RBIs this season. If the Phillies do indeed bite the bullet and eat a lot of money, it is possible they can deal him and perhaps get a mid-level prospect or player in return.
All we know is that with these Phillies, the lead-up to the trade deadline is going to be very interesting.