Pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday to Phillies Spring Training camp. The day before, the Phillies announced who would be joining the club in big league Spring Training camp. The Phillies had 31 names to announce. They include some Phillies prospects and some minor league regulars. Almost buried at the bottom of the list among minor leaguers was a familiar name: Odubel Herrera.
The Phillies announced the names via Twitter:
Phillies have invited 12 non-roster invitees to attend major league camp.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 16, 2021
In addition, 19 players have been extended invitations to attend spring training mini-camp. pic.twitter.com/xlyuippf0g
While some might be excited to see the likes of their top infield prospect Bryson Stott, Herrera will be the one who gets attention.
Herrera has been absent from the Phillies organization since Memorial Day weekend, 2019, when Herrera was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. Herrera was acquitted of any charges related to the incident. But an investigation by Major League Baseball led to a suspension of Herrera for the remainder of the season.
The Phillies then removed Herrera from their 40-man roster, and he went unclaimed. After spending Spring Training in 2020 in minor league camp, Herrera did not play a professional game after COVID-19 canceled the minor league season. Herrera will now have the opportunity to demonstrate that the Phillies should consider him in 2020.
The Phillies will pay Herrera no matter what. Herrera is set to earn $10 million in 2021, and then the Phillies will be subject to a $2.5 million buyout at the end of the season, if they do not choose to exercise a $11.5 million contract option for 2022.
It is unclear how many opportunities Herrera will have in major league camp. The Phillies have center fielders Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn, along with prospect Mickey Moniak on the 40-man roster. Scott Kingery is a candidate for time in center field, and the Phillies recently signed Travis Jankowski to a minor league contract, with an invitation to Spring Training. Jankowski has played more of his outfield games over seven season in center field than anywhere else.
Most names were expected, though the Phillies added veteran catcher Jeff Mathis on a minor league deal. Mathis is a major league veteran catcher known for his defensive prowess. Though, in recent years, Mathis has struggled to hit over the .200 mark.