Phillies Nuggets with Tim Kelly

Matt Klentak says Odubel Herrera will have to earn any future opportunities


Odubel Herrera’s future is unclear. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak didn’t say Thursday morning that former All-Star outfielder Odubel Herrera will never play for the team again. He didn’t mince words, though – the odds are stacked against Herrera.

The 28-year-old outfielder is in Clearwater, but he isn’t getting set to join all Phillies position players at major league camp this Sunday. Instead, he’ll report to minor league camp after the Phillies designated him for assignment and he cleared waivers in January.

Last Memorial Day, Herrera was arrested for a domestic incident with his girlfriend, and ultimately suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season. Klentak said Monday that there’s no guarantee that Herrera will ever play for the Phillies at the major league level again.

“That’s largely going to be up to him,” Klentak said Thursday when asked about whether Herrera could ever return to the major league level with the team. “Odubel served his time…he served his punishment that was bargained between the union and the league. We are not in position to further penalize him by rule. So he, as you mentioned, is in minor-league camp. He’s now off the roster. And anything that happens to him from here on out is going to be something that he has to earn. So there is a path for him to return, but he is going to have to do everything 100 percent right – both on the field and off – to even have a chance. And having said that, those things would need to align with an opportunity at the major league level. Ultimately, that’s going to have to be up to him.”

One would think that if the Phillies were planning to seriously consider having Herrera play for the major league team in 2020, he would have been asked to be at major league camp in some form. After all, the Phillies are expected to have north of 70 players at camp at this time next week. Only 26 can be on the Opening Day roster.

It’s possible that Herrera simply fizzles out at Triple-A and never recaptures what made some believe he could be a franchise cornerstone just a few years ago. After all, he posted just a .622 OPS after the All-Star Break in 2018. In 126 at-bats in 2019, Herrera was hitting an underwhelming .222. Baseball is a strange game, and sometimes guys aren’t able to rediscover what once allowed them to thrive on the sport’s highest stage.

What will be interesting, though, is if Herrera tears up Triple-A. He’s been a very streaky player in the parts of five seasons that he’s spent with the Phillies. If a hot streak from him coincides with struggles from Adam Haseley – who is expected to get the right of first refusal in center field this season – there will be some that call for Herrera to get a second chance with the Phillies. Nothing they’ve done since his arrest suggests that the Phillies have any interest in being the place where Herrera gets another opportunity.

This isn’t just a 2020 problem. Herrera is guaranteed $7 million in 2020, and $10 million in 2021. If the Phillies don’t want to risk a grievance being filed against them for punishing Herrera a second time by releasing him – which it sounds like they don’t – they’re going to have to keep him in their organization for the next two seasons. Their only possible out would be if Herrera performs so well in the minors that another team becomes interested in trading for him. So far, it’s reportedly been crickets on the trade market for Herrera.

MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION

  1. Matt Klentak: It’s Time To Play In October
  2. 34 Numbers To Remember: Roy Halladay’s Incredible Career
  3. Joe Girardi Hopes That David Robertson Will Pitch In 2020
  4. Seranthony Dominguez: ‘I Want To Be Ready For Opening Day’
  5. First Look: Phillies Road And Cream Jerseys With Nike Swoosh
  6. Phillies Nation Roundtable: Bold Predictions For 2020
  7. How Jake Arrieta And Nick Pivetta Can Be Productive In 2020
  8. Victor Arano Could Be A Key For Phillies Bullpen
  9. The Phillies Path To One Of The Wild Cards Won’t Be Easy Either
  10. PECOTA Predicts Phillies Will Finish With Losing Record
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Rotcod

    February 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    I’m in the minority here, but if he came out and said how wrong he was and how he’s been in anger management therapy for the last 10 months and showed true remorse, I’d be willing to see what he could do on the team. I’m all about second chances.

    • denzen

      February 18, 2020 at 10:52 am

      Me too.! Then on the field I honestly think all that launch angle stuff, and charting where he should play on defense before every pitch messed with his head.

  2. Walter Maueroeder

    February 20, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    First thing he needs to do is rehab his image. He could do that by speaking out at every opportunity about Domestic Violence. If he keeps hammering that message loudly and publicly, along with producing in AAA, he maybe able to get another chance somewhere. Look at Michael Vick as a model for rehabbing an image. He never fully got everyone to forgive him, but enough did and he still had the skills to be productive. I think Odubel will be in the same boat as he will never get 100% support behind him, but if he gets 75-85% of the public to forgive him and can be productive at a high level, his chance may come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Phillies Nation has been bringing Phillies fans together since 2004 with non-stop news, analysis, trade rumors, trips, t-shirts, and other fun stuff!

Browse the Archives

Browse by Category

Copyright Phillies Nation, LLC 2004-2020
Not Affiliated with Major League Baseball or the Philadelphia Phillies

To Top