2:12pm: Philadelphia actually will be able to reap some of the insurance benefits relating to Harrison, Salisbury clarifies. The Phils would have been able to save over half of the remainder owed had they kept him on the roster, but instead negotiated a settlement with the carrier that leaves the team with a “lesser payout.”
12:38pm: The Phillies have released lefty Matt Harrison, per a club announcement. Dropping him from the 40-man roster will increase the team’s flexibility this winter.
Harrison, 31, came to Philadelphia as part of the cost balancing in the Cole Hamels trade. He is still owed $15MM through next season, which includes a buyout of a 2018 club option, under the extension he signed with the Rangers.
There were no clear expectations that Harrison would even attempt to pitch this year. Serious back issues have completely derailed his career. Though he was able to return briefly to the majors in 2015, he hasn’t appeared in any competitive action since the trade.
By cutting ties with Harrison now, the Phillies will not be able to collect insurance proceeds to offset the money still owed, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com notes on Twitter. The policy covering Harrison’s contract appeared to have some possibility of paying out for at least a significant part of the remaining salary, but that either wasn’t likely to occur or wasn’t worth the sacrifice of a roster spot.
Though he was never much of a strikeout pitcher, and tended to overperform his peripherals, Harrison pitched to a 3.34 ERA in 399 innings over the 2011 through 2012 campaigns. That led Texas to ink him to a five-year, $55MM extension, but Harrison was only able to make nine more starts from that point forward.