If they really, really wanted to, the Yankees could trade for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard without him having to approve of the transaction first. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that the slugger can block a trade to 20 different teams, but cannot stop a deal to the Yankees, along with the Tigers, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, and Red Sox. While Ruben Amaro would very much like to deal Howard away and make him someone else's problem, there's no chance anyone is taking him, even at a discount.
At one point maybe, and I stress maybe, Howard almost made some kind of sense for the Yankees as a backup first baseman and designated hitter. Lol just kidding, no he didn't. There has been much concern about the health of Mark Teixeira over the last few years and, after the 2014 season, the team could use a serious power boost. However, after the Garrett Jones trade and return of Alex Rodriguez, Howard no longer has even a hypothetical place on the roster. He would be one of the most expensive bench players in history, and the 2015 Yankees already have one of those.
It's not that Howard has been hilariously bad, though there have been moments, it's that his production level is nowhere close to matching the money he is making. Injuries have have plague him as well, but it's the contract that makes him a roadblock for a team in the need of a full rebuild. He's kind of just in the way and the presence of Amaro, who already demanded Luis Severino or Aaron Judge for Jimmy Rollins, isn't going to make the problem go away any easier.
The biggest snag that any potential deal will hit is the guaranteed $50 million owed to Howard over the next two seasons. Then there's the matter of the $23 million option for the 2017 season and the subsequent $10 million buyout that any team will opt to pay instead. As disappointing as Mark Teixeira has been, imagine if the Yankees had to pay him a few extra million over the next two years and then pay him $10 million just to go away. Instead, the Yankees can be rid of Tex after 2016 without having to spend any more money than they already have. Positives!
The Phillies have already traded Rollins to the Dodgers, and though Howard is unlikely to go anywhere, they could continue their offseason fire sale with Cole Hamels or Chase Utley. Those two are who the Yankees should be targeting. Let someone else kick the tires on Howard.