The offseason’s first checkpoint has been reached, and the Phillies are already looking a little different.
At the 5 p.m. ET 40-man deadline — where all players must be activated from the 60-Day IL and teams must be at or below the 40-man limit five days after the World Series ends — the Phillies announced a series of moves. To recap:
Hughes, a mid-August waiver claim, had 20 strikeouts against 8 walks over 23 innings with the Phillies to go with a 3.91 ERA (10 ER). His club option would have been worth $3 million; his buyout will net him $250 thousand instead.
Neshek, who returned to the Phillies in the 2017-18 offseason after being dealt to Colorado the preceding July, managed just 20 appearances and 18 innings in 2019 while battling injuries. He ends his Phillies tenure with 82.2 IP and a 2.40 ERA, earning a $750 thousand buyout in lieu of a $7 million option.
Vargas was picked up from the Mets for minor league catcher Austin Bossart this past summer. He managed to complete 55.1 innings in his 11 Philly starts, though the team went 4-7 in those starts as he could only muster a 5.37 ERA and 4.88 FIP. He would have received $8 million, but instead gets $2 million on his buyout.
Outrighted and Elected Free Agency
In order to be outrighted off a 40-man roster, a player must first pass through waivers. The difference between an outrighting and an option is that, given enough service time (5 MLB years), a player can choose to decline the assignment and become a free agent. All five of the above chose to go that route.
Gosselin, Morin, and Parker were mercenaries and likely always faced this fate, but this is a more disappointing turn of events for Eickhoff and Ramos, who not long ago looked to be important pieces for the club.
The Phillies could still re-sign any of these players; their services are just now available to any other team that has interest, too.
Exercised Player Option
Unsurprising. Arrieta will look to rebuild open-market value for himself in 2020 while earning $20 million. The Phillies hold club options for 2021 and 2022 at $22.5 million, but it would likely take a return to 2015 form for Arrieta to see those paydays instead of becoming a free agent once more.
Activated From 60-Day IL
As mentioned above, the 60-Day IL goes into hibernation from now until the Spring. These players needed to be removed and added to the 40-man roster to get everything straight on paper. Hence, the need to push players like those in the Outright group through waivers to try and clear space both on the 40-man and 25(soon-to-be-26)-man.
Activated From Restricted List
A matter of procedure. The Phillies will continue to look to somehow rid themselves of Herrera before the Spring.
After these moves, the Phillies’ 40-man roster is at 35.