Jul 4, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) in the field against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
With his production plummeting and plenty of questions swirling about whether or not he’ll ever be the player he was, Ryan Howard may find himself playing somewhere other than Philadelphia next season.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the Phillies are trying quite hard to part ways with their 34-year-old first baseman. The club may even swallow a large sum to get rid of Howard.
Getting rid of the “Big Piece” will certainly come at a big price. It’s not likely many teams want to pay $25 million each of the next two seasons for a player considered by so many to have his best days behind him.
Howard was drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2001 amateur draft and rose to be National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in his first two years in the big leagues.
In 2014, Howard hit .223 while striking out 190 times. His home run and RBI totals have been on a decline following the 2011 season, though he was limited to just 151 games combined in 2012 and 2013.
In 11 years with the Phillies, Howard has finished in the top three for errors by first basemen in the NL seven times. He was second in the NL with nine errors at first base in 2014.
There have been rumors about Ryan Howard leaving Philadelphia for quite some time now, but it seems unlikely many teams would take on such a hefty contract unless the Phillies are truly willing to eat a lot of it.