Report: Phillies willing to pay teams $50 million to take Ryan Howard

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Ryan Howard has two years and $60 million left on his $125 million contract and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports that the Phillies are willing to cover $50 million of that money if a team trades for him.

That sounds like a lot and it is, but it also means any team trading for Howard would still have to commit to paying $10 million for two seasons of a 35-year-old, poor defensive first baseman who slugged just .380 last season and has a combined .720 OPS during the past three seasons.

Howard has essentially been a replacement-level first baseman for a long time now, meaning teams can typically find his level of production–low batting average, decent power, .700 OPS–in lots of first basemen available for minor-league deals and waiver claims every year. Those guys cost $500,000 per season, not $5 million.

My guess it that if the Phillies are truly committed to moving Howard they’re going to need an injury to cause some team to get desperate or they’re going to need to essentially eat his entire contract while also requiring a low-level prospect in return.

Report: Twins, Michael Pineda agree to two-year, $20 million contract

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Pierre Noujaim of Fox9 Minneapolis reports that the Twins and free agent starter Michael Pineda have agreed on a two-year contract. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes confirms Noujaim’s report and adds that the deal is for $20 million.

Pineda, 30, signed with the Twins in December 2017 while he was in the process of recovering from Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2018 season but began the 2019 season on time. Pineda went on to post a 4.01 ERA with 140 strikeouts and 28 walks across 146 innings. He was suspended 60 games in early September after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. There are 39 games remaining, so he won’t make his season debut next year until mid-May.

Pineda will rejoin a Twins rotation that features José Berríos and Jake Odorizzi. The Twins are likely not done hunting for rotation help.