Phillies outright Heath Hembree, Adam Morgan off roster
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies have made their first offseason moves to address their bullpen
The first significant player moves of the Philadelphia Phillies offseason have been made — and it does not involve star free-agents J.T. Realmuto nor Didi Gregorius. Rather, the team already appears to be addressing its bullpen, which posted a 7.06 ERA in 2020 — the second-highest since earned runs were tracked (1912-13).
Thursday morning, the Phillies outrighted arbitration-eligible relief pitchers Heath Hembree and Adam Morgan off of their 40-man roster, thus placing them on waivers, according to The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro. And, as MLBTradeRumors.com’s Steve Adams notes, both Hembree and Morgan have enough service time to reject their reassignment and enter free agency. Neither have yet to do so, however.
The Phillies acquired the Hembree, along with fellow right-handed reliever Brandon Workman and cash considerations from the Boston Red Sox this past summer in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold. Workman is among the Phillies who entered free agency on Wednesday, meaning that both of their returns from the August trade could already be gone after just two months.
Hembree, 31, struggled in red pinstripes, posting a 12.54 ERA and 2.357 WHIP ratio spanning 11 appearances and 9 1/3 innings. Earlier in the season for the Red Sox, he had a much better 5.59 ERA and 1.241 WHIP across as many outings. Hembree won the 2018 World Series with Boston; that series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he tossed one scoreless inning.
Morgan, 30, has pitched for the Phillies since debuting in June 2015. While he posted a 5.54 ERA in 2020, the left-hander had an ERA 4.48 or less in four of his first five career seasons in the majors. The Tampa, Florida, native recently underwent flexor tendon surgery and is undergoing his six-to-nine month recovery. Therefore, he would have likely missed at least half of the 2021 season.
Hembree may decide to become a free agent after a rough finish to the 2020 season with the Phillies. Given Morgan has spent his entire career in Philadelphia, however, he may accept the reassignment off of the 40-man roster and fully focus on returning to good health. Time will tell what they choose.