A Core Commitment

On Thursday, the Phillies gazed into the long-term future of the franchise. What they saw was Odubel Herrera, roaming the outfield grass of Citizens Bank Park, tossing live baseballs into the stands while daydreaming about his next bat flip. Would it come on a home run? A pop-up? A called strike three? There’s only so much you can know about the future. But convinced that Herrera would be a part of it, the Phillies decided to offer the young outfielder a long-term contract that potentially keeps him in Philadelphia through the end of the 2023 season.

The extension represents something of a milestone in the rebuild. The Phillies have spent the last few years trading away the elderly, waiting on expensive contracts to mercifully expire, and shopping off the free agent clearance rack. By staking their claim to Herrera for the next seven years, the organization is signaling that a young, core piece has been found. The rebuild is on the upswing.

As to the terms of the contract, team-friendly is an apt descriptor. The guaranteed portion of the deal requires the Phillies to pay Herrera $30.5 million over the course of the next five years. If an errant bat flip hasn’t derailed his career by the end of that guarantee, there are two club options of $11.5 and $12.5 million to be exercised. All told, the Phillies locked Herrera in for the next seven years at $52 million – with a $2.5 million buyout after year five – a substantial bargain if he maintains any semblance of his recent production.

Barring the newfound wealth affecting Herrera’s on field performance, the contract will have little impact on the coming year. But a few years down the line, when the Phillies are making real decisions as they butt up against the luxury tax, having an effective center fielder on a $6.1 million AAV contract is going to look really smart.

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12 comments

  1. Romus

    December 16, 2016 03:35 PM

    Doobie first LTC of this new regime that goes beyond the 2017 season.
    And if Mickey Moniak is ready in three years or so, Doobie becomes a very marketable asset, similar to what the return value was for Adam Eaton for the White Sox.
    Have to assume the Phillies will fill the corner OF positions by players from a mixed assortment of Quinn, Cozens, Williams, Goeddel, Altherr, Randolph, Pujols, Pullin or even Josh Stephens or Jhailyn Ortiz.

    • rlh1004

      December 16, 2016 04:03 PM

      Or possibly a free agent in the 2018 class?

      I love this signing. Honestly I think it makes him a valuable trade piece in the future. 5-7 years of team control for that money? Seems like a no-brainer (unless, of course, his performance declines).

      • Naco

        December 16, 2016 05:31 PM

        Manny Machado sure would look good in red pinstripes in 2018!

      • Steve

        December 16, 2016 09:50 PM

        Machado is a stud. Would you move Franco to 1st, trade him? I guess it depends on how some our prospects are panning out.

      • Romus

        December 17, 2016 09:19 AM

        Naco…Andy MacPhail drafted Machado in 2010 with the first pick….so there is familiarity and history between them.

  2. John B Haralson III

    December 16, 2016 04:40 PM

    I like the Obie signing. I think he’s a good table-setter and a more than capable outfielder. Applaud the move!

  3. Gobaystars

    December 18, 2016 09:28 AM

    Why such an insulting opening to a piece about a strong player deciding to sign a new contract at a team friendly price?

    • Rei De Bastoni

      December 18, 2016 05:29 PM

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      That’s how casual, non-statistically oriented fans think.

      • Steve

        December 18, 2016 09:30 PM

        I am assuming that you mean the author wrote his opening from a viewpoint of a “casual, non-statistically oriented fan”, and not that Gobaystars comment is how “casual…..blah blah fans” think.

        You’re more insulting than the opening paragraph. There are plenty of dedicated, well informed, fans who do care about advanced metrics but still don’t want to see someone show-boating or making mental errors.

        That being said, i dont see how anyone could see this extension as anything but a positive move.

      • Rei de Bastoni

        December 19, 2016 11:04 AM

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        Those fans I described care about the showboating and mental errors to the exclusion of all other data, which there was none in the article. I thought at first read the author was writing with hyperbole, and that he didn’t actually hold that perspective. I hope that is the case, because it was a very insulting intro otherwise.

        So no, it doesn’t mean that people should be happy with showboating. Just as long as they also realize that bat flips do not take away WAR, but BBs generate lots of WAR.

      • Run

        December 19, 2016 01:36 PM

        Bottom line: no players should make it obvious that they are not trying PERIOD. This has nothing to do with stats. Bat flips are a non-factor, unless it prevents you from running thinking its gone.

  4. Frank S.

    December 19, 2016 10:04 PM

    For me, the big story here is how much analytics played into the thinking of Phil’s management. It’s a very hopeful sign.

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