The Phillies haven’t had center fielder Odubel Herrera since May 28, when Major League Baseball placed him on administrative leave after an arrest on a simple assault charge relating to a domestic violence incident. MLB has since extended Herrera’s leave twice, and while it’s unclear whether he’ll return this season, the Phillies are operating as if they won’t be able to count on him, general manager Matt Klentak said Monday (via Matt Gelb of The Athletic).
“I can tell you from a roster building perspective,” Klentak said, “we need to assume that we’re not going to have Odúbel anytime soon.”
In addition to dealing with potentially abhorrent off-field behavior from Herrera, the Phillies haven’t benefited from his on-field presence of late. Herrera was a valuable producer from 2015-17, a span in which he accounted for 9.4 fWAR and landed a $30.5MM contract extension from the Phillies. He could still earn another $24MM on the deal, including a combined $3.5MM in buyouts from 2022-23, which is hardly a crippling amount for the club. Still, the Phillies haven’t gotten what they’ve wanted on the diamond from Herrera, who has essentially been a replacement-level player since 2018. The 27-year-old came out of the gates this season with a paltry line of .222/.288/.341 (66 wRC+) and one home run in 139 plate appearances before going on the restricted list.
Shortly after Herrera went away, the Phillies saw Andrew McCutchen suffer a season-ending torn left ACL in early June. They then promoted outfield prospect Adam Haseley, who quickly went to the IL because of a groin issue. With those three not in the mix at the moment, Philly has deployed Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn – almost exclusively the former – in center over the past two-plus weeks.
The 25-year-old Kingery’s enjoying a fantastic season, meaning the Herrera-less Phillies shouldn’t necessarily have to upgrade center in advance of the July 31 trade deadline. However, because Kingery’s also still seeing time at third base, where Maikel Franco has fallen out of favor, it’ll give the playoff-contending Phillies room to seek help at either position in the next month-plus.