Last night the Phillies did the obvious moves with two players, declining their options on Andrew McCutchen and Odubel Herrera.
The Phillies have declined club options for the 2022 season on outfielders Odúbel Herrera and Andrew McCutchen.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) November 3, 2021
McCutchen’s option was for $15 million and Herrera’s was for $11.5 million, so it’s a nice hunk of change for the Phillies to use more effectively in 2022. As a result of the decline, McCutchen will receive a $3 million buyout, while Herrera will get $2.5 million.
Neither one of these moves should be surprising. For the amount of money that would have been owed to both, the production they gave in return was not matching up. In McCutchen’s case, there remains the possibility that the team brings him back on a smaller salary, in a more reserve role. He remains very popular in the clubhouse and with the fanbase and since his power came back, he could work if used in a platoon role. His tenure here feels marked by missed opportunities. Having his knee explode in 2019 ruined what looked like a good season for him, the team going into the tank once he was hurt. They had no answer the rest of the season for the leadoff position and the offense suffered as a result. He never returned to full strength on the field, batting decently enough this season, but becoming a liability on defense.
Herrera also had a down season, finishing with a below average wRC+ yet again. However, he has not been completely let go by the organization. They still hold arbitration rights to him, so they could survey the market for center fielders and decide he is a better option than what they see. MLB Trade Rumors projects that he would earn $11.6 million, so if the team is not picking up an option for roughly the same amount, it’s unlikely he will be brought back. You never know with this team though.
Parting ways with these two players frees up roughly ~$21 million for the team to spend, but much of that will likely go into arbitration raises. Still, for a team that continues to avoid the luxury tax like
some players avoid the vaccine the plague, any amount of money that they can use to upgrade the roster will help.