Thanks to the presence of rookie Roman Quinn, Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has recently shifted from center field to right. It’s unclear whether that alignment will hold up in 2019, but manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday (via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com) that he wants both players to enter next season prepared to handle center. Kapler also suggested that Herrera hasn’t been at top physical condition this season, per Zolecki, saying: “I think he can come into camp in better shape in 2019 than he came in 2018. … This is something that he and I have discussed and will continue to discuss. I think he can be in incredible physical shape. We’ve seen it from him in the past. If you look back a couple years you see a version of him that is fast, athletic, explosive and I think that’s in there and I’m excited about helping him and supporting him to bring that out.”
Going by fWAR (1.1), this has been a dud of a season for Herrera, who posted between 2.9 and 3.8 in that category from 2015-17. Perhaps Herrera will be an offseason trade candidate, then, though the Phillies would be “selling low” on him, Zolecki points out. He also notes Quinn’s history of injuries could make it all the more difficult to part with Herrera, who’s set to turn 27 in December and has four guaranteed seasons left on the five-year, $30.5MM extension he signed prior to 2017.
Here’s more from the East Coast…
- Major League Baseball has issued a five-game suspension to Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and a three-game ban to Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com was among those to report. Both players will serve their suspensions at the beginning of the 2019 season, if they’re upheld through the appeals process. Sabathia was ejected from a win over the Rays on Thursday after throwing at catcher Jesus Sucre, a retaliatory move which served as a response to Kittredge nearly hitting Yankees backstop Austin Romine in the previous half-inning. Sabathia’s ejection may have cost him a significant amount of money, considering he was cruising through five innings and was only two frames away from notching 155 for the season. Had Sabathia reached that mark, he’d have secured a $500K bonus. It’s still possible the 38-year-old will earn that money, though, with George A. King III of the New York Post noting the Yankees could use him for a couple innings Sunday in Boston in a postseason tuneup. However, Sabathia told reporters on Saturday that he’s not interested in doing that (via Erik Boland of Newsday). “Nah, man, the season’s over for me. I’m ready for the lights to come on,” he said.
- Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada won’t make his scheduled start Sunday on account of a sore back, per Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, meaning the pending free agent may have thrown his last pitch as a member of the team. The 35-year-old Estrada, a Blue Jay since 2015, said he’d “love to hear from” the club again and is “comfortable” in Toronto, though he’s not sure whether the club’s interested in re-signing him. Thanks in part to the Jays’ youth movement, not to mention Estrada’s struggles this season, a parting of ways may be in order. Estrada had been a quality starter for the Jays from 2015-17, but he only managed a 5.64 ERA/5.44 FIP over 143 2/3 innings this year.