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Potential Target: Ryan Howard

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
    Apr 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) makes a catch along the rail in foul territory during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    The Rangers' top winter priority is upgrading its starting pitching but they're also going to be looking for a bat.

    Target: Ryan Howard, 1B/DH

    2014 stats: .223 batting average, .310 on-base percentage, .690 OPS, 23 home runs, 95 RBIs, 190 strikeouts

    Howard might have the worst contract going in baseball right now, at least he's competing with Josh Hamilton's in Los Angeles. The Phillies have been trying to part ways with him for some time now, but haven't found many takers in the midst of his 5-year, $125-million contract. But recently, reports surfaced that said why the Phillies might have had so much trouble finding a trade partner.

    Howard can block trades to 20 teams, leaving only nine potential partners for the Phillies to work with. Those same reports from ESPN.com said one of the nine teams he can't block a trade to is none other than the Texas Rangers.

    The only problem here is that the Rangers don't have a need for a first baseman, and really don't have a need for a designated hitter at the price Howard will cost. Now, if the Phillies wanted to pick up a significant chunk of Howard's money, it could work. This is worth the speculation only because of the limited number of teams the Phillies can work with, and the fact the Rangers are one of them.