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November 03, 2016

Phillies officially cut ties with Ryan Howard

Eight years and four days ago, the second team in Phillies history to win a World Series paraded down Broad Street on Halloween afternoon. The last tie to that championship team was severed on Thursday afternoon.

About 12 hours after the official end of the 2016 major league season, the Phillies announced that they had declined the 2017 club option on Ryan Howard’s contract.

It was hardly unexpected, of course: Howard, who turns 37 in two weeks, has hit .226 with 96 home runs and a .719 OPS in the last five, mostly injury-plated seasons. Instead of getting paid $23 million by the Phillies next season, Howard receives $10 million (the buyout clause in his contract) and will be a free agent free to sign with any team for the first time in his career when the market officially opens on Tuesday.

The Phillies also declined right-hander Charlie Morton’s $9.5 option for the 2017 season; he receives a $1 million buyout. In other roster maneuvers, the Phillies reinstated pitchers Zach Eflin, Matt Harrison, and Aaron Nola from the 60-day DL.

After Carlos Ruiz was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers two months ago, Ryan Howard was the last player on the roster that remained from the 2008 World Series championship team. Although the Phillies officially cut ties with Howard on Thursday, they said their goodbyes 4 1/2 weeks ago in one of the most memorable days at Citizens Bank Park since that ’08 parade.

Howard, a fifth-round pick in the 2001 draft, hit .258 with 382 home runs (second most in franchise history) and had an .859 OPS in 13 seasons with the Phillies. Howard, who signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension in April of 2010, won the National League MVP in 2006 and the NLCS MVP Award in 2009.

Howard hit .275 with 284 home runs and a .928 OPS in 1,0008 games in the seven-year period between 2005 and 2011.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21