The Phillies have agreed to a deal to bring back center fielder Odúbel Herrera, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.
Salisbury tweeted yesterday morning that a reunion was possible.
As Phillies look to fill two openings in outfield, a reunion with Odubel Herrera is possible. There’s been recent contact between two sides. We’ll see where it goes.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) March 13, 2022
The rumors picked up speed that afternoon, with a couple of tweets from Jon Heyman.
Phillies working on deal to bring Odubel Herrera back @JSalisburyNBCS mentioned possibility— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 13, 2022
Sources: Odubel Herrera close to deal back to Phillies— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 13, 2022
It seemed that the deal was all but official, especially after Math Gelb of The Athletic had this to say.
Sources: Odúbel Herrera's deal with the Phillies is a major-league contract. He's expected to be more of a part-time player -- possibly as part of a CF platoon with Matt Vierling.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) March 14, 2022
Story from Day 1 at Phillies camp, as some targets shift: https://t.co/voRfYjPyFJ
However, it was not until this morning that Salisbury confirmed the move.
Phillies work out at 1 pm today. Team is in agreement with Odubel Herrera, pending physical.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) March 14, 2022
Herrera had an $11.5 MM option for the 2022 season, which the Phillies bought out for $2.5 MM. Many fans thought this marked the end of his tenure with the franchise.
It seems, however, that after Kevin Kiermaier trade talks fell through between the Phillies and the Rays, the Phillies pivoted back to Herrera.
According to Matt Gelb, the plan is to use Herrera and Matt Vierling in a platoon in center field, although we’ll just have to wait and see who Joe Girardi decides to play on any given day.
I don’t need to say much more about this signing. I made my personal feelings on the subject clear last season — I do not think there should be a place for Herrera on the Phillies or in Major League Baseball. I’m not going to discuss it any more detail, because I don’t think the topic merits further discussion. I think The Good Phight should be a place where women, LGBTQ+ people, and anyone whose life has been affected by domestic violence can come to read about baseball without constantly being subjected to details or discussions about this horrible topic.
From a baseball standpoint, I have equally little to say about the signing. I really don’t see the point in making this deal when so many free agents and trade candidates are still out there. Herrera is, at best, a minimal upgrade over what the Phillies already had on the roster. He’s a competent defender who should hit in the eighth or ninth spot in the lineup. He’s not a liability (unless Joe Girardi continues to bat him in the leadoff spot and let him start against tough left-handers), but this signing certainly doesn’t make the team that much better.
If the Phillies want to improve upon last year’s 82-80 record, they’re going to need to make serious upgrades at several other positions, because it looks like they won’t be improving in center field. We just have to wait and see what Dave Dombrowski has planned.
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