There is no secret in the difficulty of getting Ryan Howard off the Phillies' books. While theoretically, he could find a spot as a DH on an American League team, there have hardly been a surplus of offers or interested parties in the 35-year-old slugger.
There are, however, suitors lining up for Marlon Byrd. At 36 and limited in his own capacity, it is not an exceptionally long line, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that there are teams looking at the Phillies right fielder all the same. One of the curious teams was the Baltimore Orioles, who are trying to restack their offensive deck after the losses of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.
The Phillies were apparently willing to listen, but attempted to finagle Ryan Howard into the deal, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko:
"The Orioles talked to the Phillies about outfielder Marlon Byrd, and he was offered in a package that included first baseman Ryan Howard, according to multiple industry sources. Don't hold your breath on that one, either."
"Age, contract, previous injuries and the decline in production all conspire against [Howard]. I'd imagine that he'd be a hard sell to ownership."
Kubatko clearly doesn't see much to the talks, and Ryan Howard will likely remain on the Phillies' payroll for now. The Orioles are not known for spending - in seeking offense, they were asking after Marlon Byrd, not Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval.
And even with the Phillies eating much of Howard's contract, he would be a limited DH-only option absorbing a potential roster spot in an organization full of young moving parts. However, with little interest in Howard himself, the Phillies may be best off including him as an add-on in another trade.