PHILADELPHIA — In response to a report earlier this week that revealed Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard has a limited no-trade clause allowing him to block a trade to as many as 20 teams, sources indicated on Wednesday that 29 Major League Baseball franchises have the right to block any trade that would bring the underperforming first baseman to their teams.
“Howard’s no-trade clause is certainly making it difficult for (Phillies general manager) Ruben Amaro, Jr. to trade him,” noted the insider, who wished to remain anonymous. “And it’s also hurting him that the other 29 teams have the right to refuse trading for a grossly overpaid player of such diminished abilities.”
The Phillies have been open about their aspirations to trade the once-formidable Howard, who batted just .223 in a 2014 season that saw him hit 23 homeruns and strike out 190 times in 153 games. Once the game’s most feared slugger, Howard was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 and his 262 homeruns between 2006 and 2011 were the most of any player in either league. But having already jettisoned longtime shortstop and fan favorite Jimmy Rollins as well as veterans Antonio Bastardo and Marlon Byrd, Amaro appears to be in full rebuilding mode, a task that is more difficult thanks to the $60 million in remaining salary owed to Howard over the next two-plus seasons.
“Ruben’s hands are tied because of that ludicrous contract, which in hindsight might have been the worst decision of his lackluster regime,” said former New York Mets general manager and current MLB Network analyst Steve Phillips, a pot who enjoys calling kettles black. “The decision to extend Howard at that age for that much money is almost as baffling a move as MLB Network hiring a man with a track record as dubious as my own to analyze the work of current front office executives and personnel.”
But while detractors like Phillips feel all hope of trading Howard and unburdening the Phillies of his considerable salary obligations is lost, others feel Amaro’s chances of dealing the portly power source are not nearly as dire.
“All it takes is one halfwit who has no business running a professional baseball team to pull the trigger on a Ryan Howard trade and Ruben will be back in business,” said longtime Oakland A’s general manager and widely revered executive Billy Beane. “It’s too bad for Ruben that Steve Phillips disgraced himself outta the business because Steve was always my go-to guy when I needed to dump salary and/or deadweight on some unsuspecting simpleton. But Ruben just needs to find his Steve Phillips and he’ll be back on track in no time. Is Omar Minaya still in baseball?”