USATSI_8075172_154511044_lowresAll indications are that the Philadelphia Phillies would like to dump their aging first baseman Ryan Howard and they would be willing to eat a big chunk of the $60 million remaining on his contract for the next two seasons.

Naturally, many Rays fans thought Howard would be a perfect buy-low, high-upside slugger for a team that needed a designated hitter and needs all the offense it can find. However, there is one big reason to think it was a long-shot to begin with and a second reason to think it is no longer even a good fit.

The first problem with Howard is that he won’t be as cheap as it seems.

First of all, the Phillies are not going to eat all of the contract. Maybe they eat $45 million or so. That would mean the new team would owe Howard $15 million for the next two seasons.

$7.5 million per season is a reasonable price for Howard considering the Rays just gave that same amount to Asdrubal Cabrera. But that is not all the Rays would have to give up.

If the Phillies are going to eat $45 million of Howard’s contract, they are going to want a decent prospect or two and the Rays are not a team that gives up prospects for veteran players.

The second problem with Howard is that it appears the Rays no longer have an opening at DH.

According to John Hickey, John Jaso has been told by the Rays that he is coming here “to hit” and says he will mostly DH with the Rays and serve as a third catcher.

Of course, this means the Rays still need a second catcher. But it also means Howard is not going to be traded to the Rays.

Game over.

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14 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    I'm okay with that.

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  2. Gus says:

    Big fella can't play anymore, but I would like a veteran with winning experience somewhere added to the team here. Maybe that is a back-up catcher or a RH DH candidate or maybe that is Longo and Loney's job now exclusively. I like almost every move of the Silverman era -- righting almost all of the wrongs of Andy Friedman's drunken salior phase -- and disagree with Cork's assessment that they are worse offensively right now. I think this team scores more runs than the 2014 team by a good margin. But would be nice to have a Howard-type veteran guy on the bench now that Zobrist-Molina-Price are all gone. Team chemistry is never factored in when the bare metrics are applied. 2008 team had some nice veteran presence (Floyd in particular). Would like an attempt at that. But they have to be able to play.

    Further, Escobar's departure is already helping team chemistry, and we haven't started spring training.

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  3. Dave L says:

    I am glad my Jaso was not brought here to catch suspicions were verified.

    Ryan Howard would be a horrific fit for the Rays on virtually every level.

    Aging Phillie masher brought in to DH for one....enough said.

    But look at his declining numbers since his Achilles blowout on his back power plant foot. Sure he gave the Phils 23 HR in a power starved MLB, but it took him 648 excruciating at bats to achieve it in which he fanned 190 times for a 1 in 3 rate. Then even if he gets on base with his ,223 BA he will just clog the bases. I wouldnt take him if the paid all but $3M of his salary, it would have to be a number low enough that we could DFA him in March or early April and walk away with no regrets. I laughed today when I read the Phils will only eat $35M and want prospects as well. Any AL team that takes Howard is foolish

    I will take Jaso LH bat over Howards any day regardless of the $$$. Jaso is a dynamic player who could play the field in a pinch and still has legs.

    I am glad the departure of Escobar and the obvious value we got in return exposed the folly and silliness of those who wished last year to DFA him. Or let him go scott free to the A's when they claimed him last year on revocable waivers as an opportunity to dump his contract. Remember just because you personally give up on a guy and 'know' he is done doesnt mean MLB shares your opinion. Never give away something someone will pay you for.

    Great moves so far Matt S!

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Decent post, but you're killing me with the "my insight was verified/my suspicions were correct/my thoughts were verified by Rosenthal" garbage in regard to Jaso.

      Every...single... baseball writer in the Rays-iverse, when writing of the trade, explicitly stated that Jaso wasn't brought here to catch, so you AGREE with everyone with a baseball mind, they don't justify or verify your opinions.... take your ego outta the wheelbarrow and move along.

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      • Dave L says:

        Hey Mr Smith, Cork nor no commenter here even touched on the fact that Jaso would not be a catcher. Many assumed he was our #2 or even #1 catcher. Everytime i noted it there was no response. Were Rays fans aware Jaso was shut down last August due to one too many concussions???

        I was attempting to start a conversation in Rays Index about whether or not Rays fans considered he was damaged goods and likely done with respect to the catcher position and the angle of bringing in a LH DH whos secondary position was backing up a LH 1st baseman. Nobody engaged in that conversation.

        Last year Jaso was a catcher first and a DH second-- period. Now his secondary positions are 1st Base and Outfield. I didnt realize that was common knowledge in the Rays fanbase as NO ONE discussed it.

        I am not a baseball insider nor claim to be one.

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      • Dave L says:

        To clarify my first post speculating that Jaso may be DONE as a catcher were made on January 11 at 10 am here in the commentor section. It was then I speculated he would be a DH and his secondary position would be backup 1st behind Loney which was curious.

        Send me the multiple links to the Rays media world posting where that fact was obvious prior to that date and time Mr Smith and I will be forever humbled.

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        • Ted Sheckler says:

          Here's an article written on the 10th that talks about Jaso spending most of his time at DH. It also includes many replies in the comments section talking about him not catching and discussing his concussions... http://www.draysbay.com/2015/1/10/7525893/ben-zobrist-yunel-escobar-trade-analysis-rays-athletics-john-jaso-daniel-robertson-boog-powell

          Here's another written on the 10th that talks about his concussions and suggesting that the Rays might limit his time at catcher... http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/matt-silverman-on-the-ben-zobrist-trade.html

          And another written on the 10th that talks about the concussions, how the Rays view him as a hitter first, how the Rays plan to try him at 1st and OF, and how Jaso is ready to "do whatever gets thrown at him" and wants to "build his resume to be a more versatile player"... http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/rays-trade-zobrist-escobar-to-oakland-as/2213224

          The writing was on the wall immediately after the trade. Just because nobody here responded to your post doesn't mean nobody was talking about it elsewhere. If Rays fans weren't aware of Jaso's concussions, then they just didn't read any articles about the trade. And you certainly weren't reading the comments at drays bay the day of the trade or you would know that you weren't the only one talking about how Jaso was going to be a DH. There was even a discussion about what free agents were still available to sign to be the 2nd catcher.

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          • Dave L says:

            Ok thats fine then. The DRays bay article assumes 100 AB's at catcher. If you read the mess that is the DRbays commentor section then God give you patience to sift through that jumbled mess dont assume everyone else does. I am not debating every 5th grader in that commentor section

            His last concussion shut him down for 6+ weeks and ended his season. Any more and it doesnt limit his time as a catcher it ends it.

            I just dont take at face value Jaso would backup Loney. Loney is an everyday player. Last year the only games he sat were against certain LHP that RH Rodriguez murders.

            Jaso as instant utility guy on a team that demands plus defense everywhere is kinda wacky.

            Something is missing from this puzzle.

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          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            My point exactly, Ted.

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          • Ted Sheckler says:

            Dave L, I don't assume everyone else reads their comments section. I assume most people don't. I do find it interesting that you don't read them but you call them 5th graders. They were discussing what you said no one else was discussing and they pretty much agreed with your take on it from what I read. I've actually wondered if you were also a regular poster over there because your takes tend to be more like theirs. But they do sometimes come off as know-it-alls who aren't very nice, which is why I never bothered discussing anything over there. So calling them 5th graders isn't totally without merit. But they are mostly much smarter than your average 5th grader.

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          • Dave L says:

            Ted honestly I dont even read draysbay unless someone posts a link. Also I have to admit I dont read MLB trade rumors. The sites that have 100's of commentors, i never sift through their discussions to try to find an pearl of wisdom in thier acres of BS.

            Here its a much more intelligent discussion. I am likely older than most here I was a washington senators fan as a kid.

            Some of the other Rays sites seem like a corporate analysis of guys who are assigned to cover the Rays and they bored the hell out of me

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  4. FortMyersDave says:

    Last season Howard batted 0.223 and had 190 Ks and 67 walks in 569 ABs. He did have 23 homers and 95 rbis but its pretty obvious the guy is on the downside of his career and there is no reason in this post PED age that anything is going to bring Howard back to his glory years where he hit over 40 HRS and had 150+ rbis with over 100 walks to go along with the still high K rate; in fact last year was the first since 2011 where he got over 300 ABs. The Phillies are just trying to get someone to eat 25% of his salary and fleece a few prospects as well; sounds more like something the O's would take a stab at, not the Rays.

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  5. Juggy says:

    Bring back Jonny Gomes on a minor league with an invite to spring. He would bring the fire back the the Bay. He's a cheap free agent right now and adds a decent righty bat that hit pretty well at the trop

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    • FortMyersDave says:

      I've liked Jonny Gomes ever since he came on the seen as a Devil Ray (yeah hard to believe but he got his first call up in 2003 before finally becoming a regular fixture in 2005 when he got a lot of votes in the Rookie of the Year vote and blasted a couple of homers off of the Batters Eye Restaurant). I think he holds the Rays record for # of times he has been hit by a pitch. I also like how he went after the Yankme 2nd baseman in Spring Training '08 after Aki Iwamora was spiked by the player, starting a brawl. It kind of set the tone for the '08 season in that the Rays were not gonna take any garbage from the Yankmes, Sox or anyone else. So I agree with Juggy 100%, Gomes is a great guy to invite to Spring Training and give him a chance to earn a roster spot; the guy will definitely be a positive influence to the youngsters in the clubhouse!

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