Report: Phillies are close to finalizing a deal to bring back Odubel Herrera
Well, this should work out just perfectly. Yesterday morning, Jim Salisbury fired off a tweet stating that since the Phillies are looking to fill two openings in the outfield, a reunion with Odubel Herrera is still on the table.
Salisbury continued by saying that there had already been contact between the two sides about Herrera possibly returning for the 2022 season. Hours later, Jon Heyman confirmed the report and took it a step further stating that the Phillies and Odubel Herrera are close to finalizing a deal to bring him back for the 2022 season.
Now this morning, we have yet another update from The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.
“The team had pursued possible trades for a center fielder but found the cost of upgrades deemed too marginal wasn’t worth pursuing. It’s why, according to sources, the Phillies were finalizing a major-league deal with Odúbel Herrera. He is expected to be more of a part-time player, possibly as Vierling’s partner in center.”
MLB.com writer Todd Zolecki confirmed Gelb’s initial report.
Although there hasn’t been an official announcement on Herrera returning to the Phillies, not long after the reports started to come out about a reunion, many fans on Twitter were not happy with the news.
As you could probably imagine, Phillies fans are posting on all corners of the internet saying how embarrassing and horrible the Phillies organization is for even considering bringing back Herrera.
I totally understand the issue here. I’m not a complete idiot. Herrera’s past mistakes are ugly and of course, no one wants the baseball team they root for to be associated with that type of behavior.
Given the history, there is no chance I would have even considered bringing Herrera back to Philadelphia. There’s just too much baggage for Odubel here and it’s time to move on from him and find literally anyone else to play center field this season.
However, from a baseball perspective, could this actually make sense…?
The Phillies are in desperate need of a left fielder and a center fielder before the season starts on April 7th. Last year, Herrera was the most productive center fielder on the Phillies roster and we all know very well that they tried every option available before even giving him a shot in center.
Odubel Herrera is productive, but lacks consistency
No doubt about it, consistency with Herrera has always been his major issue. One month, Herrera could be slashing a miserable .167/.216/.271 like he did in July 2021, and then immediately follow it up with an August month where he slashed .342/.409/.634.
Herrera finished the year hitting .260 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI, with a .310 OPB and a .726 OPS.
Following last season, the Phillies declined Herrera’s $11.5 million club option in for the 2022 season. Instead, they opted to buy him out at a price tag of $2.5 million and from there, Herrera hit free agency after being outrighted shortly after.
The Athletic // Matt Gelb’s Report
Assuming that the Phillies are still attempting to bring in an elite left fielder, I always figured that the centerfield position would remain in some type of platoon situation.
It appears that there will be an open competition yet again in center field regardless of Gelb’s report, with Matt Vierling, Adam Haseley, and hell, maybe even Scott Kingery and Mickey Moniak. Now, the Phillies are adding Odubel Herrera into the mix again.
But at that point why even bring back Herrera? I would love to know the Phillies organization reasoning around that one and can’t help but think this is going to work out exactly how it did last year with a bunch of failed options, just to find Herrera as your every day centerfielder a month or two into the season.
Regardless, this only works out if the Phillies do land an elite left fielder and there are plenty of options to choose from in free agency.
Personally, I’m out here stumping with Bryce Harper to get Kris Bryant in Philly.