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Odubel Herrera: I’m sorry to the fans and organization


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

Given that he’s not one of the 70 plus players at major league camp, it doesn’t appear that the Philadelphia Phillies are especially interested in having former All-Star outfielder Odubel Herrera play for the team again at the major league level.

Regardless of what his future holds, the 28-year-old wanted to send a clear message Tuesday – he’s sorry.

“There’s no one who regrets this more than me,” Herrera told the collective media, including Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I wanted to talk to you guys today because I wanted to say I’m sorry to the fans and the organization,” Herrera continued.

“I’m very regretful for what I did. It’s been a lesson learned for me and I want to turn the page and keep going with life.”

Last memorial day, Herrera was arrested following a domestic incident with his girlfriend in Atlantic City. The police report said that Herrera’s girlfriend had “visible signs of injury to her arms and neck.” Though his case was ultimately dismissed after his girlfriend elected not to pursue charges, Herrera was suspended in July for the remainder of the season without pay. He did not appeal his suspension.

Due to concerns over the player’s union potentially filing a grievance, the Phillies were not in position to release Herrera after they weren’t able to find any trade interest. However, they did designate him for assignment in January. After Herrera went unclaimed on waivers, he was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was not invited to major league Spring Training.

Still, Herrera hopes that he will get a chance at some point to return to the team that he’s spent his entire five-season career with.

“I’m training hard,” Herrera added. “I’m a man of faith so if the Phillies give me a second chance, I would take advantage of that and play my hardest.”

The Phillies owe Herrera $7 million in 2020 and $10 million in 2021. Unless he’s traded to a team that assumes all of his salary – which isn’t going to happen – he’ll count $6.1 million agains the luxury tax threshold in the next two seasons, even if he doesn’t play a single game at the major league level. His contract includes club options for 2022 and 2023 as well.

General manager Matt Klentak spoke about Herrera’s future earlier this month and while he didn’t say Herrera has no chance to ever return to the major league level again, he suggested that it will be an uphill battle.

“That’s largely going to be up to him,” Klentak said at the outset of Spring Training 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.”

Herrera almost certainly will open the season in the minor leagues. If Adam Haseley seizes the center fielder’s job, or some combination of him, Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery can be serviceable in center field, the Phillies likely will proceed without Herrera. Of course, if Haseley struggles, Quinn gets injured and Kingery is needed at another position, there will be calls for the Phillies to give Herrera a second chance. Whether there’s a scenario where the Phillies would have Herrera return to the major league level again is unclear.

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