Report: The Royals have had internal discussions about Ryan Howard

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It’s no secret that the Phillies would like to turn the page on Ryan Howard, but finding a match in a trade has understandably been a challenge. However, Bob Nightengale of USA Today hears that Howard’s name has surfaced in internal discussions with the defending American League Champions. That’s right, he’s on the radar with the Royals.

The Royals aren’t about to rip up their payroll, and David Glass suddenly isn’t about to go all Steinbrenner on us, but if the Phillies are willing to eat most of the contract, the Royals have had internal discussions about acquiring him.

They believe he just might be the perfect fit to replace Billy Butler as their everyday DH, and considering they didn’t have a single player hit 20 homers or drive in 75 runs last year, he may be the power threat the Royals need to return to the World Series.

It’s hard to believe that Howard and the phrase “perfect fit” could be used in the same sentence at this point, but here we are. Even if the Phillies cover the majority of his remaining contract ($60 million if you include his $10 million club option for 2017), Howard’s upside is limited. No longer suited for the daily rigors of playing first base, the 34-year-old is a designated hitter on the downside of his career. While Howard had 23 home runs and 95 RBI this past season, he batted just .223 and his .690 OPS was 119th among 146 qualified batters in MLB. He has an OPS+ of 98 over the past three seasons.

Red Sox designate Eduardo Núñez for assignment

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The Red Sox announced a handful of roster moves on Monday afternoon: infielder Eduardo Núñez has been designated for assignment, pitcher Hector Velázquez has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and pitcher Ryan Weber and 1B/OF Sam Travis have both been recalled from Pawtucket.

Núñez, 32, has had an awful year, batting .228/.243/.305 with two homers and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances. He’s owed the remainder of his $4 million salary. Odds are Núñez will pass through waivers and become a free agent, after which his odds of landing with a team will go up.

Velázquez, 30, tossed 36 pitches in an inning of work against the Dodgers last night, taking the loss after allowing three runs in the 12th inning.

Travis, 25, is back for his second stint in the majors this season. Thus far, he has a .387 OPS in 31 trips to the dish.

Weber, 28, has accrued 19 1/3 innings thus far, allowing 11 runs on 24 hits and three walks with 14 strikeouts.