Phillies Lose 8 to Free Agency, Activate CF Odubel Herrera
Eight members of the 2019 Phillies elected free agency on Thursday, while Odubel Herrera was activated from the restricted list.
Amid Thursday’s news that the Phillies claimed RHP Robert Stock, parted ways with RHP Pat Neshek, and hired Bryan Price as pitching coach (while losing infield coach Bobby Dickerson to the Padres), nine other transactions took place regarding players from the 2019 season.
The club activated CF Odubel Herrera from the restricted list, while also having lost the following eight players whom elected free agency, according to Phillies.com: 1B Logan Morrison, 2B Brad Miller, RHP Nick Vincent, LF Corey Dickerson, LHP Drew Smyly, RHP Tommy Hunter, 3B Sean Rodriguez, and RHP Juan Nicasio.
Herrera, 27, played just 39 games this past season, slashing .222/.288/.341 with 10 doubles, one home run, 16 RBI, 11 walks and 33 strikeouts spanning 139 plate appearances from Opening Day to May 26. Herrera was suspended 85 games (and the 2019 postseason, if applicable) for violating Major League Baseball’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.
Just because Herrera was activated does not mean he will ever play again for the team, as the Phillies could decide to part ways and would have to eat the remainder of the 2016 All-Star’s contract ($21 million). In order for the Phillies to cut Herrera, however, it would have to be for baseball-related reasons, unrelated to his suspension. The Inquirer’s Matt Breen writes:
"The Phillies could simply release Herrera, but the league’s collective bargaining agreement states that the transaction must be done for baseball reasons and not because of his suspension. The Phillies could point to the .216 batting average and .632 OPS Herrera posted in 539 plate appearances over his final calendar year, before his suspension, as a baseball reason. Before being suspended, Herrera already had played himself out of a starting role."
The Phillies signed Morrison, 32, to a minor-league contract in mid-July, after being released by the New York Yankees. In 29 games with the Phillies, he slashed .200/.263/.400 with one double, two home runs, three RBI, three walks and 10 strikeouts over 38 plate appearances.
Miller, 30, is famous among Phillies fans for his bamboo that rallied the team since he joined them in mid-June, also from the Yankees. According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Miller became the first player in Phillies history with three multi-homer games in a span of nine games. He would finish with 12 home runs and 21 RBI in 66 games and 130 plate appearances.
Vincent, 33, signed a minor-league contract on August 9, after being released by the San Francisco Giants. In 14 appearances (four games finished) in red pinstripes, Vincent went 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, and 17-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio spanning 14 innings.
Dickerson, 30, a former Gold Glove Award winner and All-Star, made a significant impact to the Phillies, homering eight times while producing 34 RBI over 34 games. He missed a good portion of the final month of the season, however, being placed on the 60-day injured list with a fractured left foot.
Smyly, 30, made 12 starts with the Phillies, going 3-2 with a 4.45 ERA, 68-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 1.324 WHIP spanning 62 2/3 innings. He signed a one-year contract with the team on July 21, after being released by the Milwaukee Brewers just a few days prior.
Hunter, 33, appeared in just five games in 2019 (late June, early July), tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings. This past summer, he underwent season-ending surgery to repair his flexor tendon. The 12-year veteran went 5-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 65 appearances in red pinstripes in 2018.
Rodriguez, 34, was limited to a bench role throughout the 2019 season. In 76 games and 139 plate appearances, the 12-year veteran slashed .223/.348/.375 with four home runs and 12 RBI. He infamously will be remembered for calling fans “entitled.”
Nicasio, 33, was dealt to the Phillies last December as part of the Jean Segura and James Pazos acquisition from the Seattle Mariners, who received J.P. Crawford and Carlos Santana. In 47 relief appearances, Nicasio went 2-3 with a 4.75 ERA, 45-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 1.648 WHIP spanning 47 1/3 innings. The right-hander previously made two appearances with the Phillies in 2017, going 1-0 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.