Howard will receive a $10 million buyout instead of the $23 million he would have if his option had been picked up.
The Phillies also declined their side of a $9.5 million mutual option for right-hander Charlie Morton, who spent most of the season on the disabled list after requiring left hamstring surgery. He will receive a $1 million buyout.
Philadelphia announced it had reinstated pitchers Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin and Matt Harrison from the 60-day disabled list. The Phillies said Nola (right elbow) and Eflin (knee surgeries) are expected to be ready by Spring Training. Harrison will not pitch again, but he is expected to remain on the 40-man roster through next season so the Phillies can recover some of his $13 million salary through an insurance policy.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.