The Ryan Howard to the Royals trade rumors just kept circulating earlier this offseason. Perhaps it is because the Royals were in need of a power hitting first base/designated hitter type, and Howard is certainly that. However, aside from the 23 home runs that he hit last year, there was little to suggest that he would have helped the Royals in any real capacity, as his .223/.310/.380 batting line and 190 strikeouts do not exactly inspire confidence.
With the signing of Kendrys Morales, that idea of Howard coming to the Royals is finished. They brought in that potential power threat for a much more affordable contract than the three years and $60 Million Howard is owed, and did not need to part with anything in their system. Yet, one has to wonder why, for a team considered to be a small market club, Howard was even thought of as a possible fit, especially given that salary.
Well, it turns out that the Royals are not on Ryan Howard’s no trade list. Considering Howard has twenty teams on there, the fact that the Royals are not may be a bit surprising. It may be that, since the Royals had an opening where he could have slotted in the lineup, Howard was looking at playing time. Or, given the run that the Royals went on over the past couple of years, perhaps Howard is looking at making another postseason run.
However, it is all a moot point now. Unless Morales or Eric Hosmer get hurt, the odds of Howard becoming a member of the Royals are minimal at best. Even if that was to happen, the Royals may just opt for one of the cheaper free agent alternatives or look to fill the role internally, instead of allocating those financial resources to Ryan Howard.
Maybe, in the details of Ryan Howard’s no trade clause, we see a bit of a difference in how the Royals are being looked at around baseball. For years, being traded to the Royals was akin to being shipped to the gulags of Siberia. You served your time while hoping for an escape. Now, the Royals may be starting to be viewed as a place where players want to go, the rabid baseball hungry fanbase ignited by their World Series run and an ownership suddenly willing to spend what it takes to keep the postseason appearances coming.
Ryan Howard may not have been a real fit for the Royals at any time this offseason, but his willingness to head to Kansas City may speak volumes.