We could be having an abrupt and somewhat ugly divorce on our hands.

According to a CBS Sports report, the Phillies are "trying hard" to trade 1B Ryan Howard before the July 31st trade deadline.

Jon Heyman cites sources that any takers would be from the American League and the Phillies would indeed be eating most, if not all of the sluggers $60+ million remaining on his $125 million contract.

Heyman reported earlier this week that Howard has been reduced to having a value of $4-5 million in the American League only, due to injury concerns and a declining ability as a power hitter.

The Phillies have sat Howard the last two consecutive days and have chosen to start Darin Ruf to see how he fares. The team has even considered releasing him at the end of the season, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly.

Anything would be better than Howard who is hitting .224 with a .682 OPS. The former NL MVP has just a 1.8 WAR since 2010. To put that in perspective, Mike Trout already has a career WAR over 25.

Just yesterday, Howard spoke at length to reporters about his contract expectations, playing elsewhere and his recent struggles at the plate.

Howard told reporters that he "used to" carry a burden with him due to his mega contract, but now he's realized that baseball is "just a game."

As expected, that has rubbed fans the wrong way and many believe that the Phillies should indeed release the first baseman at seasons end.

Still, the Phillies don't have many alternatives behind Howard.

Ruf has battled injuries himself this season and has been option back and forth from the minors. Ruf is batting 0.77 in 15 plat appearances this season and like Howard, has a propensity to strike out times.

As Phillies beat writer Kevin Cooney pointed out today on 97.3 ESPN FM, there is growing concern that the Phillies will attempt to use Howard as a "scape goat" for such a poor showing the last two seasons.

The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st.

--Pete Giordano