The Philadelphia Phillies announced today that they have released Matt Harrison. The LHP was acquired as part of the Cole Hamels deal and was viewed as a salary dump by the Rangers.
I’ll “Never Say Never Again”. For weeks now, I’ve inserted this pinned reminder for people who suggested that the Phillies would release Harrison, “Matt Harrison will remain on the 40-man roster until the end of spring training, at which time he can be added to the 60-day disabled list. If they release Harrison, they will lose the insurance money on his $13M guaranteed contract”. I’d like to retract all but the last sentence of this statement.
Apparently, the additional roster spot is more important to the Phillies than the insurance money on Harrison’s contract. Their 40-man roster stands at 32 players with the deadline for roster expansion to 40 players prior to the Rule 5 draft looming on Friday.
The Phillies have 8 open spots but have 12 Rule 5 eligible prospects on MLB’s top 30 – RHP Mark Appel (AAA), RHP Ben Lively (AAA), RHP Nick Pivetta (AAA), C Andrew Knapp (AAA), OF Nick Williams (AAA), LHP Elniery Garcia (AA), RHP Ricardo Pinto (AA), SS Malquin Canelo (AA), OF Dylan Cozens (AA), OF Carlos Tocci (A+), RHP Alberto Tirado (A), and OF Jose Pujols (A).
Some intriguing first-time eligibles include – 2B Jesse Valentin (AA), OF Andrew Pullin (AA), and RHP Andrew Anderson (A+). 1B Brock Stassi and OF Cameron Perkins are a couple of interesting repeat Rule 5 eligibles.
It makes sense that the roster spot is more important than recouping the insurance on a pitcher who would likely never pitch for the organization.