The Philadelphia Phillies have made their first notable transaction of the offseason, as they announced Tuesday that they signed former All-Star Josh Harrison to a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Harrison, 32, is coming off of consecutive down seasons. In 2019, his lone year with the Detroit Tigers, Harrison hit just .175 in 137 at-bats, and posted a -0.6 fWAR.
That said, Harrison made two All-Star teams during parts of eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The most recent came in 2017, when he slashed .272/.339/.432 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs. He was also an All-Star in 2014, a season where he posted a 4.8 fWAR and ultimately finished ninth in National League MVP voting.
Given that Harrison isn’t guaranteed a roster spot, this is a low-risk, potentially high-reward signing. Harrison, a natural second baseman, also has recent experience playing third base and both corner outfield positions. At a minimum, that would allow him, if healthy, to slide into the role that Sean Rodriguez filled in 2019.
It’s unclear what the Phillies infield will look like in 2020. Maikel Franco almost certainly won’t be back with the team. Cesar Hernandez is likely to be traded or non-tendered, though it’s not impossible he returns to the team. The Phillies, per Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic, have considered moving Jean Segura away from shortstop. Scott Kingery is a natural second baseman, but he spent the majority of his time between center field and third base in 2019. And the Phillies are reportedly interested in former New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius.
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