The Phillies had a busy day tidying up their roster on Monday.
Let’s get right to it:
The club declined 2020 contract options on pitchers Jared Hughes, Pat Neshek and Jason Vargas. They are all free agents, though there is nothing preventing them from re-signing with the Phillies later in the offseason.
The team outrighted the following five players from the 40-man roster and all elected free agency. They include pitchers Jerad Eickhoff, Mike Morin, Blake Parker and Edubray Ramos and infielder Phil Gosselin. These players are also eligible to re-sign with the Phillies later in the offseason.
Eickhoff is the most notable departure on the list. The 29-year-old right-hander came to the Phillies from Texas in the Cole Hamels deal in July 2015. He was the Phils’ top starter in 2016, recording a 3.65 ERA in 33 starts, but was hampered by injuries in subsequent years.
In a huge no-brainer, pitcher Jake Arrieta exercised his $20 million player option for 2020. Arrieta had long ago conceded that he would not opt-out of his deal, as was his right. His market would not have been good after going 18-19 in his first two seasons with the Phillies and having elbow surgery in September. Arrieta is expected to be fully healthy by spring training.
Arrieta was reinstated to the 40-man roster from the 60-day injured list. Pitchers Víctor Arano, Seranthony Domínguez, David Robertson, Robert Stock and Adam Morgan and outfielder Andrew McCutchen were also reinstated from the 60-day injured list. Players on the 60-day IL don't count against the 40-man roster, but they must be reinstated a week after the World Series.
In another long required procedural move, the Phillies removed outfielder Odubel Herrera from the restricted list. He now counts toward the 40-man roster.
Herrera had been suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s policy against domestic abuse after an incident in May. Though legal charges were dropped, Herrera was still disciplined by MLB.
Herrera still has two years and more than $20 million remaining on his contract. The Phillies cannot void his contract and they can only release him for baseball reasons. He could be traded, with the Phils eating a big chunk of his salary, but his value is low and takers could be few. A decision on his future would likely come closer to spring training, after the Phillies have completed their offseason work. Herrera last played for the Phillies on May 26. There’s a chance that will be his last game with the club.
Monday’s roster moves left the Phillies with five open spots on their 40-man roster as the free-agent market gets set to open.
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