The Philadelphia Phillies announced on Tuesday that they have designated outfielder Odubel Herrera for assignment. Herrera did not play the remaining 85 games of the 2019 season after he was suspended for violating MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assualt and Child Abuse policy.
The Phillies owe Herrera $20.5 million, per Phillies Nation‘s Tim Kelly. Per Matt Gelb of The Athletic, Herrera’s $6.1 million average annual value will count toward the luxury tax for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Herrera was arrested on May 27 at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Atlantic City after an incident in which he caused “handprint marking to her neck area and small scratches to her arms” to his 20-year-old girlfriend, Melany Martinez-Angelo. Five weeks later, Martinez-Angelo declined to press charges during a hearing in Atlantic City.
Matt Klentak and the Phillies front office explored the possibility of trading the center fielder. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reported during the Winter Meetings that there was “no interest” in trading for Herrera.
The Phillies now have seven days to either trade Herrera, which is highly unlikely to happen, release him or send him to Triple-A. It’s also doubtful that another team will claim Herrera. In the unlikely event that he is claimed, Herrera’s salary will come off the books. Salisbury also reported that it’s “very possible that he could end up in minor league camp.”
Things could get tricky if the Phillies release Herrera. The Player’s Association could claim that the Phillies punished Herrera a second time for the same incident, which is a violation under the policy. The team could argue that the move was made strictly for performance reasons, and they would have a case. Before his arrest, Herrera batted only .222 and was worth -0.4 fWAR through 39 games.
Herrera’s 40-man roster spot will go to former Reds outfielder Nick Martini, who the team claimed off waivers. Martini is a career .269 hitter with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 87 games.
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