The Phillies went into the offseason with seven outfielders, with five of them being primarily left-handed. When the season ended, Odubel Herrera was on the inactive list, suspended a half season's worth of games under baseball's joint domestic violence policy. Despite Herrera being signed through the 2021 season, he will not return.
The Phillies announced that they have designated Herrera's contract for assignment. The move was also announced with an acquisition. The Phillies have claimed outfielder Nick Martini off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. Martini, like Herrera, bats and throws left-handed.
The 30 year-old Martini played in the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics and the San Diego Padres, batting .257 in 237 at bats.
The Phillies must be able to make clear that this move was for baseball reasons, not disciplinary reasons. According to the rules, Herrera or anyone else subject to a suspension can be "double punished" for an action. A release – which could be the outcome from this transaction – might be considered punishment.
However, even before the suspension, Herrera grossly unperformed. The former 2016 All-Star was batting just .222 at the time of the suspension, which was related to an incident that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend. In the wake of the suspension, Adam Haseley played most of the left-handed at bats in center field and performed admirably.
The Phillies will have seven days to place Herrera on waivers, assign him outright to Triple-A, or release him. No matter what, the Phillies will be responsible for $19.5 million the next two seasons. That makes a team claiming him unlikely. Should the Phillies try to outright Herrera to Triple-A, he has enough service time to reject that assignment and become a free agent.