The Philadelphia Phillies announced that six players, the outfielders Odúbel Herrera and Travis Jankowski, Venezuelan infielder Ronald Torreyes, catcher Andrew Knapp and Dominican right-handed pitchers Ramon Rosso and JD Hammer, have exceeded the absolute exemptions. Every member of that group has chosen free agency.
Venezuelan Herrera is the most notable of this group, although it was evident that his time in the Philadelphia organization was coming to an end when the team declined his option on Wednesday:
He has less than six major league service seasons, so technically he was still eligible for arbitration, but it was an obvious no-bid decision at the time. Rather than wait until next month’s no-bid deadline, the Phils will release it and clear a spot on the poster a few weeks early.
The move officially ends Herrera’s six-year tenure in Philadelphia. Selected outside of the Rangers organization in the 2014 Rule 5 draft, the left-handed hitter offered strong production on both sides of the ball during his early major league seasons. The Phils rewarded him with a long-term extension in December 2016, but his production began to wane in 2019.
Herrera performed terribly for the first month and a half in 2019 before being arrested and charged with domestic battery. MLB suspended him for the remainder of that season, and Herrera spent all of last year in the minor leagues after being eliminated from the roster. He returned to the majors in 2021, serving as Philadelphia’s main center fielder and hitting a slightly below average .260 / .310 / .416 in 492 plate appearances:
Knapp has been a career Fili, appearing in the majors in each of the past five seasons. The backstop switch has mostly worked on reserve capacity, crushing in a brief 2020 run before tripping to a .152 / .215 / .214 mark on 159 trips to the plate last season.
Projected by MLB Trade Rumors contributor Matt Swartz for a salary of $ 1.2MM if an arbitration contract is presented, they will let him go as the Phillies look elsewhere for a replacement for JT Realmuto.
Torreyes and Jankowski have rebounded in the league as role players in recent seasons. Both players were eligible for arbitration, with Torreyes projected for a salary of $ 1.6MM and Jankowski scheduled to earn around $ 900K. The Phils will let both go and look elsewhere to fill their respective utility infield and backup outfielder roles. Torreyes hit .242 / .286 / .346 in 344 plate appearances in 2021; Jankowski dropped .252 / .364 / .351 by 157 points at the plate.
Neither Rosso nor Hammer had been eligible for arbitration, but headquarters decided to reallocate their spots on the 40-man roster. Rosso posted a 6.11 / 4.95 SIERA ERA in 17 2/3 innings combined by MLB between 2020-21. Hammer owns a 4.38 ERA / 5.07 SIERA in 39 entries dating from 2019.
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MLB: Hit and miss, six Phillies players go into free agency