2008, when the Phillies won the World Series, now feels like a long time ago. 2006, when Ryan Howard won an MVP award, feels even longer. Certainly, Howard no longer seems to be the player he was then. He sat out Wednesday’s game, and team officials are now apparently considering eating his hefty contract and releasing the once-feared slugger. CSN Philly reports:
Multiple sources say the team has also discussed moving on without Howard. The team has floated his name in trade talks but Howard is owed the remainder of $25 million for this season and $60 million over the next two seasons. No team is interested in taking on that amount of money — or even part of it because the Phils know they’d have to eat a large portion of Howard’s salary — for a declining player.
The logical next step is to release Howard. Sources say team officials have discussed the possibility of paying off Howard and moving on without him after the season. “I’m not thinking about that,” Howard said. “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Me personally, I think the easiest thing to do when times get hard or don’t go your way is quit. I think it really shows the kind of character you have — and again, I’m not talking about anybody in this clubhouse, I’m just talking in general — but when times get hard, the easiest thing to do is quit or try to give up or whatever. For me personally, you work through it. It’s a character building kind of thing and you try to work through it. And I think once you do work through it you become that much stronger.”
Howard’s .682 OPS — the sum of his on-base percentage and slugging average — ranks 126th out of 162 qualifying major-league hitters.