The Phillies announced Thursday that they have declined the 2017 team option on Howard's contract, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports, and he is now a free agent.

Howard hit 25 home runs in 2016 for the seventh time in his career, but he also hit just .196 and would have been due $23 million had the Phillies picked up his option, so there was not much of a decision for them to make. Howard has not announced any intention to hang up the cleats, so he will likely look for a job elsewhere. At this stage of his career, however, he is likely looking at a reserve job wherever he lands.

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