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Brewers trade rumors: Phillies 1B Ryan Howard a possible Milwaukee target?

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The Phillies could be looking to dump salary. Might the Brewers have interest in first baseman Ryan Howard?

Scott Cunningham

Surprise surprise, the Phillies are rumored to potentially be looking to drop salary, particularly in the form of big first baseman Ryan Howard. Given that, nj.com took a look at three potential destinations for Howard and included the Brewers as one possible trade partner, along with the Athletics and Royals.

The Brewers are probably going to be included as a possibility for any possible first baseman up for grabs. Howard is certainly a name, as well, given the fact he is a former MVP and finished in the top-3 of voting two other times. Here's a look at the Brewers potential interest in a Ryan Howard trade.

Why it makes sense:

Well, the Brewers could use a first baseman, I guess. Though Mark Reynolds started off as a great surpise, his bat has dropped off tremendously recently. As a whole, Brewers' first baseman rank sixth-last in the MLB with a .300 wOBA. It also wouldn't take much to acquire Howard. It wouldn't take anything, in fact, I'd suspect.

Hang on. Am I seriously trying to make any sort of sense as to why Ryan Howard could be a reasonable acquisition? Let's try this again.

Why it doesn't make sense:

Ryan Howard is under contract through 2016. Through that time, he is still owed roughly, oh, $68 million. Now, the article mentions this being a 'what if Phillies management ate 75% of the contract' type deal. That would still leave $17 million in the hands of whoever were to actually trade for Howard, or around $6.8 million/season. That's a lot of dough, still. It's a lot of dough for a decent player.

And Ryan Howard is no longer a decent player. Yeah, he has some power hitting lefty, but that comes purely in the form of 15 home runs on the year. Despite those long balls, he has a .378 SLG%. And a .301 OBP. Mark Reynolds is hitting .201/.298/.381, or one OPS point behind Howard, and Reynolds is making $2 million this year. But then, Howard wouldn't be taking Reynolds' place. He'd be taking Lyle Overbay's as a lefty bat (a $6.8 million/year platoon player!). Now, I may not be a huge fan of Overbay but I'll take his 663 OPS and $1.5 million deal over Howard any day.

Howard used to be a pretty good, if a bit overrated, player. Then he got old and the Phillies signed him to one of the worst contracts in history. The Brewers are better off with a large variety of options than paying any part of Howard's contract, even if they don't have to give up a player in return. The team still has Hunter Morris eroding in Triple-A, if they really want to make a change. A trade for a first baseman isn't the worst idea. A trade for Ryan Howard is pretty close to the worst idea.

So, no, the Brewers wouldn't have interest in Ryan Howard. I shouldn't say wouldn't, I guess. I don't know what the front office is thinking. Shouldn't, is a better word. Probably wouldn't. But then, Doug Melvin did acquire Yuniesky Betancourt on two separate occasions...