The Phillies have announced a wide slate of roster moves today, setting the team up for another fascinating offseason. In particular, the club has shorn a big chunk of its 2019 pitching staff from the roster in one fell swoop.
Philadelphia declined club options over righty Jared Hughes, righty Pat Neshek, and lefty Jason Vargas. Also heading to the open market are five players were outrighted: infielder Phil Gosselin and righties Jerad Eickhoff, Mike Morin, Blake Parker, and Edubray Ramos.
That’s a big chunk of innings going onto the open market despite ongoing control rights. To be exact, the Phils are kicking 219 2/3 of their frames from 2019 back into free agency. It’s hard to argue with any of the decisions.
Hughes was solid as a late-season gap-filler, but didn’t rate at a $3MM price tag for 2020. He’ll get a $250K buyout on the way out. Neshek takes $750K with him instead of pitching for $7MM. That’s no surprise after he was limited to 18 frames due to injury. Vargas is due a $2MM buyout instead of a $8MM salary; the Phils evidently feel they can do better in the rotation on the open market this winter.
The biggest departure is that of Eickhoff. The once-promising starter projected to earn only $1.5MM, with one more season of control thereafter, but the Phils decided to cut bait after watching him struggle to a 5.71 ERA over 58 1/3 innings. Eickhoff had a few encouraging outings upon his return from a long injury layoff, but struggled thereafter and was again sidelined with arm woes.
The other three were also eligible for arbitration. Morin, who has a $1.2MM projected arb salary, struggled to get strikeouts during his stint with the club. Parker surprisingly turned in 11.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 25 frames but also gave up a host of homers and earned runs. Perhaps he’d have been worth a lower-cost keeper price but the Phils weren’t biting at a projected $4.7MM. The 26-year-old Ramos entered the year as a key piece but struggled with injuries and showed a velocity decline when he was available. He projected to earn only $800K, but the team may not have been convinced of his ability to return to full health.
Meanwhile, a host of players were added back to the 40-man roster. Among the players activated from the 60-day injured list is starter Jake Arrieta, who has exercised his player option and will remain with the organization. On the heels of a messy, injury-marred campaign, that comes as no surprise. Additionally, outfielder Odubel Herrera was reinstated from the restricted list after the conclusion of his suspension for a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy. His future with the organization remains unclear following this procedural move.