The Philadelphia Phillies are nearing an agreement to bring back free-agent outfielder Odúbel Herrera, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Herrera elected free agency to begin the offseason after his club option (worth more than $12 million) was declined and he was outrighted from the 40-player roster for a second time.
Herrera appeared in 124 games with the Phillies last season after failing to make the team out of camp. He hit .260/.310/.416 (95 OPS+) with 13 home runs and six stolen bases (on seven tries). His contributions were worth an estimated 1.8 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference's calculations.
Herrera did not play in a big-league game during the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, and he missed most of the 2019 campaign after being suspended for 85 games for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Charges were dropped against Herrera after his partner at the time elected against proceeding with the case. Herrera issued the following statement:
I acted in an unacceptable manner and am terribly disappointed in myself. I alone am to blame for my actions. I've taken meaningful steps to assure that nothing like this will ever happen again. I have learned from this experience, and I have grown as a person. I apologize to the Phillies' organization, my teammates, and all my fans. I look forward to rejoining the Phillies once my suspension is served and to continuing to work on being a better partner, teammate and person.
Herrera could serve as the Phillies' most-days center fielder. Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld have been seeking additional outfield help, and it stands to reason they're still on the hunt for another corner outfielder. As it stands, the Phillies would likely trot out an outfield consisting of Bryce Harper, Herrera, and either Adam Haseley, Mickey Moniak, or Matt Vierling.
Dombrowski has been authorized by ownership to spend as much as he sees fit, provided he avoids the luxury tax line of $230 million, according to The Athletic's Matt Gelb. The Phillies' CBT payroll is currently projected to be around $186 million, per Cot's Contracts.