The Phillies have declined club options on first baseman Ryan Howard and right-hander Charlie Morton, according to a club announcement. Howard’s option was for $23 million, while Morton’s was worth $9.5 million.
Howard will receive a $10 million buyout, while Morton will receive $1 million. All told, the decisions represent a savings of $21.5 million for Philadelphia.
Howard, 36, hit just .196/.257/.453 with 25 home runs in the final year of the 5-year, $125 million extension he signed with the Phillies in 2010. He has spent his entire career with Philadelphia since breaking into the majors in 2004, but will now hit the open market for the first time. Howard is likely to reach a short-term deal with an American League team looking for a designated hitter this winter.
Morton, 32, made four starts for the Phillies before undergoing hamstring surgery and missing the season’s final 5 1⁄2 months. He is the owner of a career 4.54 ERA in nine years with the Pirates (2008-15) and Phillies (2016), and will be an interesting bounce-back candidate in a weak market for free-agent starters.