Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera left camp today with a wrap on his leg after aggravating a hamstring strain he’d suffered a few weeks ago in offseason workouts, writes Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Manager Gabe Kapler called the issue “mild,” and there doesn’t seem to be any immediate concern, though it’s obviously a situation worth monitoring. More broadly, though, Salisbury’s latest piece takes a look at Herrera’s future with the Phillies — particularly with the addition of Bryce Harper still very much on the table for the Phils. Herrera could potentially become a trade option in the event that the Phils land Harper, Salisbury notes, and even if it’s not Herrera, one of the Phillies’ incumbent outfielders would likely be forced out of the picture. Although Herrera only just turned 27, he’s been a fixture on the Phillies’ roster for the past four seasons. He’s guaranteed $24.5MM over the next three seasons as part of a $30.5MM contract extension that also contains a pair of club options.
Here’s more from the National League East…
- Mets fans have become all too familiar with the injury bug in recent seasons, and unfortunately, the club is already dealing with at least one injury scare. As Tim Healey of Newsday writes, newly signed infielder Jed Lowrie is headed for an MRI after experiencing discomfort in his left knee. Lowrie describes the issue as soreness on the back side of his knee and says it first surfaced when getting up to full speed in running drills and when taking batting practice. Beyond Lowrie, outfielder Brandon Nimmo is experiencing some shoulder soreness but is confident that the issue is just a matter of early-spring soreness rather than an indication of anything serious.
- The Braves will give top third base prospect Austin Riley some work in the outfield this spring, writes Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That experiment isn’t indicative of a permanent position switch but instead would be a means of seeing if Riley can provide some value to this year’s MLB roster after the addition of Josh Donaldson firmly blocked Riley’s path to regular at-bats at the hot corner. As evidenced by his .294/.360/.522 slash line across three levels last year (including .282/.346/.464 in 374 Triple-A plate appearances), the soon-to-be 22-year-old Riley may not have much left to prove against minor league pitching. Donaldson’s addition already pushed versatile Johan Camargo from a starter back to a utility role, Cunningham notes, and the emergence of Riley as a viable MLB option would only further limit Camargo in 2019. Of course, that scenario wouldn’t necessarily play out early in the season, and if Riley does eventually prove ready, it’d only be a boon to the Braves’ roster to have that level of depth and talent in the dugout. The 25-year-old Camargo is sometimes overlooked by those who don’t follow the Braves closely, but he posted a very solid .272/.349/.457 slash with 19 home runs last season and is slated to get a few starts per week as a backup at third base, second base and shortstop.
- The Marlins received limited trade interest in Starlin Castro at last summer’s trade deadline, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, but they’ll likely have more motivation to make a deal involving him this time around. Infield prospect Isan Diaz, acquired from the Brewers in last year’s Christian Yelich trade, reached Triple-A as a 22-year-old last season, and while he struggled there against older competition, he’ll have another several months to inch closer to MLB readiness. Diaz ranked 104th among MLB prospects on Fangraphs’ 2019 rankings and is slotted in seventh among Miami farmhands on MLB.com’s rankings (in addition to being their No. 10 overall second base prospect). Castro, meanwhile, is set to earn $12MM in his contract’s final guaranteed season ($11MM salary, $1MM buyout on next year’s $16MM team option). At that price, he’s not exactly a bargain but he isn’t grossly overpaid, either, considering last year’s .278/.329/.400 slash (101 wRC+, 107 OPS+). Fangraphs valued Castro at 2.3 wins above replacement, while Baseball-Reference was more bullish at 3.3 WAR.