Phillies DFA outfielder Aaron Altherr

The Phillies have designated outfielder Altherr for assignment, likely bringing to an end this chapter of his career. (Ian D’Andrea/Flickr)

The Philadelphia Phillies activated center fielder Odubel Herrera from the Injured List on Saturday. As a corresponding move the club has decided that Aaron Altherr will be designated for assignment.

With the move, Altherr has been officially removed from the Phillies 40-man roster. This “DFA” move means that the club now has a number of potential outcomes involving the 28-year-old outfielder.

Altherr will now pass through waivers with the potential to be claimed by any team. Should a team make such a claim, Altherr could be pulled back and kept by the Phillies. That is not a likely scenario. Should a team claim him, the Phillies will likely just let Altherr move on.

The Phillies could also work out a trade with any claiming team rather than pull him back. That is not likely, as Altherr’s value is fairly low at this point. Finally, Altherr could pass through waivers without any team claiming him. In that scenario he would become a free agent and could negotiate with any club.

Born in Germany, Altherr was the Phillies pick in the 9th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft out of an Arizona high school. He reached the big-leagues in 2014, and by 2017 was taking a regular turn as a corner outfielder for the club. In what was by far his best season that year, Altherr slashed .272/.340/.516 with 19 homers, 65 RBIs, and 48 extra-base hits.

Injuries and a lack of production when he was available derailed Altherr’s career in the 2018 season. With the signings of free agents Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, his role for the 2019 season was to be as a bench player.

With the athletic ability to cover all three outfield positions and some pop in his bat, it was hoped that Altherr would prove to be a valuable piece of the new Phillies bench puzzle, but that has not been the case. He was slashing a microscopic .034/.067/.136 this season with just one extra-base hit and one RBI over 30 plate appearances across 22 games.

“We wish Aaron well and believe this is what’s best for him and, obviously, the Phillies,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said per’s Todd Zolecki. “We think he can still be a productive player. Just the situation here with us, it was very difficult for him to even get on the field, even to the point of having difficulty finding him pinch-hit at-bats…

Herrera has been recovering from a strained right hamstring and had been on the Injured List since mid-April. The Phillies announced Saturday’s starting lineup with McCutchen still in center field, where he has played in recent days. Phil Gosselin will get the start in left field.

This is likely due to the fact that the Washington Nationals are starting lefty Patrick Corbin on Saturday. Kapler almost certainly prefers giving Herrera another day to rest in the field while having his bat available as a pinch-hitter later in the game. With right-hander Anibal Sanchez scheduled to start on Sunday for Washington, it is likely that Herera returns to the starting lineup at that time.

Whenever Kapler decides to write Herrera’s name in the starting lineup, the Phillies will have their regular starting group together for the first time in weeks. McCutchen, who has covered center field in recent days, would slide back to left field. Nick Williams would return to a bench role.




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