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Phillies outright 6 players, all elect free agency

Odubel Herrera’s time with the Phillies may be over. (Cheryl Pursell)

Just a few hours after claiming Ryan Sherriff off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Philadelphia Phillies made their most significant moves of the day by outrighting relievers JD Hammer and Ramón Rosso, infielder Ronald Torreyes, catcher Andrew Knapp and outfielders Odúbel Herrera and Travis Jankowski. All six subsequently elected to become free agents. 

Perhaps the most notable news is that of Herrera, who had been in the organization since 2015 and whose Phillies tenure will always be marred by his suspension for domestic violence that caused him to miss much of the 2019 season. He slashed .260/.310/.416 in 124 games for the Phillies in 2021. A not-so-torrid September all but eroded any chance that Herrera’s $11.5 million club option for 2022 would be picked up, if any chance ever existed. Instead, the Phillies bought his contract out for $2.5 million, making him eligible for salary arbitration. 

Until, that is, Friday — and though he could still be brought back, his Phillies career might well be over.

The same goes for Knapp, who had avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth north of $1 million following a productive 2020 in which he posted career-best numbers across the board: a .278 batting average, .404 on-base percentage, .444 slugging percentage and .849 OPS. In fact, before the Phillies signed J.T. Realmuto to his five-year, $115.5-million deal, Knapp had emerged as a real candidate to be the team’s everyday starter in 2021. 

But with Knapp still in the backup role, 2021 did not follow suit. Knapp slashed .152/.215/.214, along with -8 defensive runs saved — numbers that didn’t outweigh his perception as an above-average game caller and clubhouse presence. MLB Trade Rumors had projected Knapp’s arbitration salary at $1.2 million, more than he made in 2021.

Torreyes, whose relationship with manager Joe Girardi dates back to their time together with the New York Yankees, was one of the bigger surprises for the Phillies in the first part of the 2021 season. Torreyes hit .276 with a .710 OPS in the first half before regressing to .220 and .581 in the second half of the season. He came through with several clutch hits for the Phillies and walloped seven homers in total — after hitting all of four in his first six years in the Major Leagues. 

It’s plausible to think the Phillies still have interest in bringing Torreyes back — especially because of the aforementioned relationship with Girardi, who often praised the infielder’s game-readiness — but his $1.6 million projected salary (again according to MLB Trade Rumors) figured too much for a guaranteed 40-man roster spot. 

Rosso was once seen as a promising prospect — his pure stuff was a rare bright spot from the horrendous bullpen of 2020 — but the 25-year-old didn’t take much of a step forward in 2021. He posted a 5.63 ERA in seven appearances with the Phillies, as well as 4.60 across 21 outings with the IronPigs. 

Hammer showed flashes out of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2021, opening the season with just one run allowed through 14 innings of work. He closed the season, however, by surrendering 10 runs in his final six innings of work — including a one-out, five-run outing on Sept. 16, the day before he was optioned to Triple-A, which could wind up as his last outing with the Phillies. 

After a hot start of his own, Jankowski ended the season with a .364 on-base percentage and .715 OPS. He played the bulk of the season in center field, but also found himself at the corners occasionally, amassing a -3 defensive runs saved across parts of 76 games. He spent just one year with the Phillies after being signed to a minor league contract in February.

It is important to note that Friday’s moves don’t necessarily guarantee that any of the six players has played their final games in red pinstripes. As Phillies Nation’s Tim Kelly noted, the Phillies could bring them back on minor league deals with a Spring Training invite — but after Friday’s moves, they won’t be guaranteed 40-man roster spots.


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