The Philadelphia Phillies appear to be a team in need of an identity. Are they a contender? No. Are they in a race to see if they can get the No. 1 pick in next year’s MLB First-Player Draft? Probably not. So, what sort of team are the Phillies going to be in 2015 and beyond? Not a very good one. Still, that has not kept Ruben Amaro from completely blowing up the roster, opting to trade Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd, yet hold on to Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Amaro is smart in looking to maximize any deal involving Hamels, but may have missed his opportunity to trade away Lee, following the news of yet another serious injury for the southpaw. But now, it is time to trade away another tenured member of the 2008 World Series champions. After adding three more teams to his list of approved destinations, the Phillies simply must go out and trade Ryan Howard.
Through the 2014 MLB season, the six teams that were on Howard’s list where the Phillies would not need to ask for his approval were the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels. But it is now believed that Howard also allowed the Phillies to add the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Rays to that list, meaning the team could deal him to any of those nine teams without having to get his permission.
It has also been said that the Phillies are willing to eat approximately $50 million of the remaining $60 million owed to Howard through the 2016 MLB season. Now, I understand that Howard is no longer the same player that helped Philadelphia reach consecutive World Series back in 2008 and 2009. But, if you simply look at his numbers from last season and add to the fact that a team would only have to pay him $5 million per year for two seasons, this is a player who should stand out to many teams.
Howard can still hit over 20 home runs and drive in well over 80 runs over the course of a full season. Sure, his batting average from here on out is likely to remain abysmal but, in a day and age where teams are desperate for run production, is there really that little of a market for Howard’s services?
Simply put, there can’t be.
That means that Amaro must be asking for too much in exchange for the former slugger. Now, if the Phillies are willing to pay that much of his salary, then they are justified in asking for a decent package involving some mid-level prospects. But, if the Phillies are going to continue to ask for the moon for all of the players, then the true rebuilding process will never really begin.
Amaro will not be doing this team any favors if he refuses to look ahead to the future.