The Phillies have designated outfielder Odubel Herrera for assignment, according to The Athletic’s Matt Gelb (Twitter link). With Brandon Marsh just being acquired in a trade with the Angels, Herrera now becomes an expendable part of Philadelphia’s outfield picture.
Herrera has hit .238/.279/.378 over 197 plate appearances this season, after re-signing with the Phils on a one-year, $1.75MM deal following the lockout. With center field continuing to be a revolving door for the Phillies, Herrera and Matt Vierling have split much of the time up the middle this year, after Herrera missed the first couple of weeks with an oblique injury. Both Herrera and Vierling have posted rather lackluster results at the plate, and the likes of Mickey Moniak, Roman Quinn, Oscar Mercado, and Simon Muzziotti have also seen action in center, as the Phillies hope Marsh can finally stabilize the position.
Selected away from the Rangers in the 2014 Rule 5 draft, Herrera has spent almost his entire pro career with the Phillies, and at one point looked like a cornerstone piece for the organization. Following an All-Star year in 2016, the Phils signed Herrera to a five-year, $30.5MM extension, but his performance soon began to decline. In May 2019, Herrera was changed with simple assault of his girlfriend, and later suspended for 85 games by Major League Baseball under the joint domestic violence policy.
This is actually the second time the Phillies have DFA’ed Herrera, as they previously designated him after his suspension was up following the 2019 season. Unsurprisingly, no team claimed or made a move to acquire Herrera due both his remaining salary and the cloud of the suspension still hanging over him. As a result, the Phils outrighted him to Triple-A, but Herrera ended up not playing at all in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season. Amidst much speculation that the team would just release Herrera entirely, he returned to regular action in 2021, appearing in 124 games. Philadelphia then declined its $11.5MM club option on Herrera for 2022, buying him out for $2.5MM prior to re-signing him to the smaller amount in March.
It is possible Herrera could get claimed this time around, depending on how rival teams’ roster needs could shake out in the wake of the deadline. A club that just dealt away outfielders, for instance, could want Herrera just as a stopgap for the remainder of the 2022 season. It is also possible, of course, that Herrera passes through the waiver wire again — due to his past outright, Herrera can opt to become a free agent if the Phillies were to try and outright him again to the minors.