Among a slew of moves that helped the team moving forward this season, the Phillies acquired Matt Harrison. Harrison is still here, though his presence is strictly ornamental. His current job is to be in the clubhouse, waving at people and generally being pleasant. It's nice. But what exactly is he at this point?
Todd Zolecki allowed a Matt Harrison-based question to slip into his inbox recently.
He has back issues, and he had no chance of pitching for the Phillies last season.
Harrison underwent two separate back surgeries in less than a month in 2013 and was a flesh-colored pile of money the Phillies were taking from the Rangers to help alleviate Hamels' salary. They did not see him becoming a key cog of their masterful 2015 rotation. 2016, though? Read on!
It seems unlikely he will pitch next season for the Phillies, either, as there is just no talk about him fitting into the rotation, which one assumes is because of his health.But if anybody is concerned about the Phillies committing payroll space to a pitcher who can't pitch, don't fret too much.
To be honest, I forgot about Harrison so hard that I haven't even had the chance to fret about this. There are so many things in this city ahead of Matt Harrison on the constantly-updated fret-list chiseled into the back of William Penn's head on top of City Hall, no one's even found the time in their fretting schedule, or "fret-ule" as the well-known colloquialism goes, to fret about him.
Nobody talking about Harrison as a member of the rotation likely means that he is not a part of the rotation. But if you'll recall, and you definitely won't, but if you'll let me remind you, Harrison himself said back in August that the team was telling him he could be a part of their future.
"[Pete Mackanin] knows what's going on and just said be smart with it, and [he also said], 'We're looking for you to be on the staff next year and the next year after that,' so he said just get healthy right now and see where it goes," Harrison said.
Mmm, thanks, Pete Mackanin.
Harrison is owed $28 million, but the Phillies managed to snatch his insurance policy out of the Rangers' hands in order to not have to pay the 30-year-old lefty all that he is owed. So, yay.
But the most Harrison news, outside of assumptions based on the fact that there is an absence of news, is that he was taken off the 60-day disabled list on November 3, even though he wasn't done being injured, and put back on the 40-man roster on November 6. He exists as the sole receiver of Phillies money past 2017, currently on the team's books in the form of a $2 million buyout in 2018.
HOWEVER! His $13.25 million 2018 option becomes guaranteed if Harrison can pitch 600 innings from 2015-17. So far, he's up to 16 IP, and we can probably assume that takes 2016 into account, too. That puts a lot of pressure on 2017, since that $13.25 million was also supposed to increase by $500,000 every time he threw 200 innings starting in 2013 (he has thrown 44 between then and now). Can Matt Harrison throw over 500 innings of baseball in one season? I'll say the Phillies are about to become the most entertaining team in sports history.
Anyway, the widely presumed correct assumption on Harrison's future is that it will not include a large amount of pitching, as anyone even giving a side glance at the sport will tell you. There does, however, exist some literature below the surface as to how things could have been for the poor lefty.