Former Phillie Aaron Altherr reportedly hoping to return to MLB

Aaron Altherr could return to MLB in 2022. (Cheryl Pursell)

A few years removed from playing his last game for the Philadelphia Phillies, Aaron Altherr is “eyeing a potential MLB comeback,” according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors.

After splitting time between the Phillies, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets in 2019, Altherr took his talents to Korea, where he’s played for the NC Dinos in each of the past two seasons. He’s coming off of his second consecutive 30+ home run campaign in the KBO, having homered 32 times with 84 RBIs and an .873 OPS across 142 games in 2021.

Altherr spent parts of six seasons with the Phillies between 2014 and 2019, with 2017 serving as the best year of his MLB career to this point. In 107 games, Altherr slashed .272/.340/.516 with 19 home runs, 65 RBIs and a 1.4 fWAR for Pete Mackanin’s squad.

Unfortunately for Altherr, he never was able to build on his 2017 season, and the additions of Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen prior to the 2019 campaign essentially made him expendable. Altherr began the 2019 season as a bench option for Gabe Kapler, but was designated for assignment after posting just one hit in 29 at-bats.

Still, it’s interesting to ponder the idea of a return to the United States for Altherr, because he has pop and is a good enough athlete to play all three outfield positions at least on a competent level. Or at least he was before heading to the KBO. Altherr will turn 31 before the 2022 season.

Altherr’s former teammate, Darin Ruf, could offer a blueprint for the outfielder to follow. Ruf spent three seasons playing for the Samsung Lions in the KBO before signing a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants ahead of the 2020 season. Not only did Ruf make the Giants opening day roster, but he became a key contributor in his second season in San Francisco to a team that won a franchise-record 107 games, homering 16 times, driving in 43 runs and posting a .904 OPS.

For Altherr, he’s left with the choice of making a nice living as a star player in the KBO, or returning to America where he’ll likely have to earn a bench job in the world’s top league. For what it’s worth, Adams also noted in his report that Altherr would consider offers in Japan, perceived by most to be a superior product to the KBO.


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  1. Debbie

    December 2, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    I think Aaron Altherr should get another chance playing in the outfield. He’s very athletic,and comes from a sport oriented family and as a previous philly he wasn’t that bad compared to Odubell Herrera he’s fast and can hit the ball which he proved in 2017 but unfortunately he didn’t get enough playing time. Since he’s played Korean Ball he’s improved 90 percent. And look at Darin Rug when he played with Phillies he was terrible for such a big guy and after being in Korean Ball he also made a big turn around for playing with the Giants under Gabe Kapler so yes I would take Altherr and allow him to come to Spring training and I think he would definitely make the squad on opening day so wake up Phillies here you have a ball player who can play the outfield and hit and wants to be a part of Phillies. Go for it!!

  2. Steve

    December 18, 2021 at 12:28 am

    Altherr career slashed .219/.307/.401
    Herrera career slashed .274/.329/.751
    you were saying? My choice is neither of them

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