The Philadelphia Phillies are planning on blowing up their ultra expensive and quite useless roster at this point, which includes trying to find someone willing to take some of the huge contract they still have to pay Ryan Howard. The Kansas City Royals aren’t usually up for these kind of moves, but they might be willing to make an exception this time.
Howard is owed $50 million over the next two seasons and for 2017 he is guaranteed $10 million if he’s bought out, with his $23 million being a team option. Howard was one of the best hitters in baseball from 2006 to 2011, which included four seasons of hitting over 40 home runs. But over the last three years injuries and a huge drop in his ability (.223/.310/.380/.690) have made him a liability for the team that’s now trying to rebuild by getting rid of all their overpaid players.
The Royals weren’t built to succeed through big signings and veteran players. It’s about finding guys who can consistently hit and make plays without flash or power. But none of their players last season had 20 home runs or 75 RBIs. In the grand scheme of things, not having a consistent power hitter might have been a problem for them when it came to overcoming the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
In 153 games, Howard still hit 23 home runs with 98 RBIs last season. He’s not an All-Star anymore, but he’s definitely DH material for a team like the Royals, who might change slightly in the way they do business in order to build on last year’s success.
This thing only works if the Phillies eat up a lot of the salary Howard is due in the remaining three years. If the Royals are willing to pay something around $5 million to $8 million of his salary, the Phillies will probably take the deal just to get him off the team and start moving in a new, cheaper, and hopefully better direction. For less than eight figures, maybe Howard is worth the uncharacteristic risk for the Royals.