Phillies GM told Ryan Howard they’d be better off “not with him but without him”

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With the Phillies in the middle of a rebuilding effort, they are facing some tough (and long overdue) truths with their veteran players. After officially dealing shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. made an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia yesterday and was pretty blunt about how the club feels about the future of longtime first baseman Ryan Howard.

Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media has this quote from Amaro’s interview:

“We’ve talked to Ryan,” Amaro said in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli on Friday afternoon. “And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

As we have said many times in this space before, moving Howard is no easy task. He turned 35 in November and is owed $60 million through 2016. The Phillies would likely have to cover most of his remaining salary in order to get a deal done, but that still leaves a limited number of teams would could be in the market for a declining DH-type player. Howard amassed 23 home runs and 93 RBI last season, which are appealing numbers on the surface, but he hit just .223 and his .690 OPS was 119th among 146 qualified hitters in MLB. He has a .720 OPS (and a 98 OPS+) over the past three seasons. While the Phillies want to turn the page, Amaro has no plans to release Howard if they can’t find a trade partner.