Phillies Release Matt Harrison

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.




70 thoughts on “Phillies Release Matt Harrison

  1. Wow! That says a lot about who the Phillies value in their system. This is a great move for a big-money team.

  2. Jim, I think you were right. It sounds like the Phillies and the insurance company negotiated a settlement. Harrison will still get his money. It’s just a matter of which party pays what amount. Harrison probably had to agree with this.

    1. makes sense. if there is an independent doctor certifying the guy isnt going to be able to pitch over the balance of the contract, and Harrison is getting paid on his contract by someone regardless, seems reasonable a settlement could be negotiated; the insurance company doesnt necessarily care about him being on the Phillies roster or not.

  3. Understand Matty Harrison favorite band’s tune….”get your money for nothing and your kicks for free”. 🙂

      1. Is that whose voice is saying I want my MTV

        Because the song isn’t a sting song for sure it’s Dire straits

        1. Phillysf…..and I misquoted the DS lyric….’chicks’ for ‘kicks’…Scot Mark Knopfler probably cringed.

        2. It is a Dire Straits tune. Sting sang background “I want my mtv”. Mark Knopfler by the way my favorite guitarist all time. What a sound!

          1. 8mark…Mark Knopfler is older than me!
            If he is your fav,then, age aside, I figured you also have right up there in your top five, guys like Clapton/Beck/Townsend..

  4. Keep Lively, Pivetta,Knapp,Williams,Valentin,Cozzens, & Tirado.!! That leaves room for a Rule 5 pick…if they have somebody in mind…although picking at #8 means it is less likely. It is always possible they see a “hidden gem” or two that they’d like to take a look at in ST. Meanwhile, maybe following the Rule 5 draft there are hopefully serious efforts to trade Henandez for OF hitting….If that were to happen, the team would be “respectful” in 2017….with the bulk of position players in our minors (Crawford, Williams,) due to make a MLB appearance. Maybe a new college 2nd baseman along the way. Add in a few worthy relievers and we could even go over the .500 mark. Is it possible that Cozzens could raise his BA vs. lefties to at least .260 along with continuing to pound right handers….and Hoskins chafing at the bit to also arrive. Looks like 2017 could be a lot more fun than 2016. Now, go get that OFer for Hernandez !!

  5. I think Buchanan, Gonzalez, Mariot, and Goeddel will be taken off the 40 and Appel, Garcia, Pinto, Anderson and Pullin will be added.

  6. Does Goeddel have to stay on the 40 until after the Rule 5 draft? We know he would be sent to AAA LV in 2017…if he is still on the roster post Rule 5.

    1. Goeddel if removed from the 40 after the Rule 5 becomes DFA.
      A player if DFAed, then the team must choose one of these….
      1. Return the player to the 40-man within 10 days from the date of designation
      2.. Make one of the following 4 contractual moves:
      A… Goeddel on waivers (which can only be done within the first 7 days of the 10-day period) Goeddel
      C…release him
      D….or outright him from the 40 into the minors

      1. we should remember that this rule applies to all who are currently in the 40-man not just Goeddel. So if the Phils wants to release players with options like TJ, Morgan, Asche, Goeddel and SevGon to create roster space — there’s a good probability that team(s) will pick them via waivers since they can be stashed in the minors (thus not included in the 25-man) because of their options. For contending team, their options and MLB experience is more valuable than a Rule V draftee.

  7. Also, I really like this move. Because final roster decisions need to be made soon, Harrison became a casualty. His roster spot would have counted until ST.

      1. I do not think there is any DLs designation after the regular season.
        Looking at the teams 40s and se no one with any DL designations.
        Though did see Jesse Biddle is now on the Braves 40.

  8. So of those 17 names (see below), the Phillies can only protect 8? Is that correct?


    1. a lot of these players can be kept with AAA protection. No big league team will put Tocci, Canelo, or a Valentin on their big league roster.

  9. If net cost was near zero then makes sense for Phillies. Otherwise I figured they could add their final bullpen spot to a non roster guy when Harrison went to 60day DL.

    But kudos to Phillies for not ‘going cheap.’

    Very unhappy Hellickson accepted. Phillies are not playoff bound so no reason for an expensive innings eater. Would have much preferred the Draft pick then take a salary dump like Anibal Sanchez. Anibal could bring a different vet point of view and maybe could get a low A arm with him for someone like Asher.

    1. You do realize that other teams were unwilling to give up the draft pick? In a perfect world. Hellickson would have gotten a big time, long term contract. The Phils would get a Comp pick and then they could sign anyone they wanted after that. But other teams didn’t want to give up big money plus lose the draft pick.

    2. Wouldn’t Sanchez be an expensive innings eater on a non-playoff team?

      I would have preferred the draft pick too but apparently the market wasn’t there for Hellickson with the pick included.

      1. @3up – Phils will not absorb Sanchez $$ unless it comes with another valuable piece (i.e. a reliable veteran like JD Martinez or prospects). $$ spending should not discourage a big market team like the Phils if that’s way to get talent to the team (i.e. Bronson Arroyo to ATL). With Hellboy signing the FO, i don’t expect any addition to the SP (unless via trade) not until the Rule V draft is over.

        1. I thought about this and while I think Morton is a dark horse to return on a money-saver type deal, there are just too many starters to audition to take up any further rotation spots with veterans.

          That said, I still think there’s a possibility that the Phillies try to add a bona fide bat for a corner outfield spot (since I think there’s a good chance Cesar gets traded and Kendrick plays a lot at second until J.P. is called up). The idea there would be a one year deal with a bounce-back candidate or a guy who is in the last year of a contract that another team would like to dump.

          1. @catch – agree with you. with a Williams and Cozens coming up at some point next year, a one-year commitment makes most sense unless the new OF guy is a stud.

            1. Not surprising – if I’m the Phillies, I don’t agree to that deal. Could be a good deal for Houston, however.

        2. True but I’m not sure how Hellickson impacts other moves. His contract is big but for a big market team with a $50M payroll then can afford to make any other moves that they want. If they want JD Martinez or prospects, they can still take on Sanchez’s $$ to make that deal happen. In your scenario, they are not trading for Sanchez, they are trading for other positions. If spots in the rotation are the issue, they can eat Sanchez’s money and immediately move him to another team for additional prospects.

          The reality of the situation is that the Phillies had two options, they could not have offered Hellickson the QO and guaranteed no sandwich pick or they could offer the QO and take the sensible gamble that he refused. They took the gamble and it didn’t pay off. I won’t use 20-20 hindsight to say now that they shouldn’t have done it..

          The Phillies are acting like a big market team should act by using their financial muscle to clean-up their roster, try to acquire talent, and prepare for the future. I don’t get that people are now complaining that they are “wasting” money when the complaint for years is that were acting like a small market team…

          1. @3up – even with 20-20 hindsight, i think the Phils played the Hellboy gamble right. I already mentioned this in the other thread – still 29 yo (and former ROY), thin SP market and Boras should be an easy rejection of the QO. Gallardo and Ian Kennedy got a multi-year contracts last year despite of the strong SP market that includes Price, Cueto, Shark, etc.

            It’s a gamble with almost 80% chance of winning to they roll the dice. But hey, this is America where impossibility can be a reality (i.e this year’s election).

            At the end, having Hellboy back is not a bad thing. He can help stabilize a young rotation, provide potential trade chip and he likes to play for the Phils.

            1. I agree with you that it was the right gamble. My issue is with those now lamenting that they can’t make other moves because he took the QO.

              If I misunderstood your post, my mistake.

      2. And guess what – unless he pitches like a 2 this year other teams might be scared away next year too. If the goal is to get a return they may need to trade him mid-year.

  10. Before (or whether) any player transactions occur between now and Friday, I count 8 removable players from the 40man roster:

    Elvis Araujo
    Cody Asche
    David Buchanan
    Luis Garcia
    Tyler Goeddel
    Severino Gonzales
    Phil Klein
    Michael Mariot

    Even if you prefer to keep any of the above in the organization, I can’t see any one of them being a coveted player to another club willing to commit a full season 25 man roster spot.

    That would leave SIXTEEN spots open to protect not only your rule 5 eligibles but also acquire a couple of major league players.

    By the way, I would replace Asche with Brock Stassi unless a deal is in the works to bring a big league 1b/OF lefty bat.

    1. @8mark – i think the 8 players you enumerated needs to be DFAd if the Phils needs to take them out of the roster. Romus posted the DFA rules in his post above. For Asche, SevGon and Goddel have options (which I think is the reason why the Phils might keep them), so if teams claimed them via waivers – they’re still to be added in the 40-man, however, the claiming team(s) can start them in the minors (unlike the Rule V draftee) because they can still be optioned.

      In addition, this is a gist of my post from another thread:

      “the number crunch is not only to create the 40-man but more so on determining who are the 15 players that will start in the minors (40-man less 25-man in the majors). It appears as consensus that the Phils need to protect 8 (Knapp, Pivetta, Lively, Appel, Williams, Cozens, Pinto, Garcia) and possibly Tirado to make it 9. then then will be around 7 that are already in the 40-man that expected to start in the minors as well – Quinn, Alfaro, Eflin, Morgan, Asher, Cordero and Goeddel). 9 + 7 = 16 and it doesn’t include borderline Rule V protections like Valentin and Anderson and veteran RP’s that will play in LHV”

      Unless the 7 young guys who already in the 40-man will start with the Phils (some of them might not all of them), the potential “SIXTEEN” open sports that you are predicting is hard to get unless 5-6 of that 16 are FA signings or a result of the trade.

      IMO, the difficulty really is not only in determining the 40-man as a whole, but also to decided who are the “15” (in the 40-man) that will start in the minors that some of them can be called upon in case of injuries.

      1. Kuko, thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t expecting all of those players to be removed. Good info on the DFA rules. I need to study up.

  11. Harrison and Bynum should hang out together. Their Philly jerseys is a keeper because it’s hard to find.

    1. Saw a blogger on one of the Phillies blogs in the right side menu list….. recommend Phillies splurge now and offer Cespedes 4@$110M and hope he takes the offer. Phillies lose their 2nd round pick however…under the old CBA anyway.

      1. Cespedes has shown that he wants the opt-out clause in the contract. He might sign for 4@110m but by the time the Phillies need him, he will be gone.

        1. I personally would like to get my hands on some left handed pop but that said I think they should pull the trigger on a big time bat.

          You can’t continue to send this pitching staff out there with no run support and expect them to develop properly.

          Saunders is out there with no compensation attached to him and he did hit 24 dingers last year. He kind of looks like the perfect guy to over spend on.

  12. I really think you can add Goeddel to the players who will be protected. I highly doubt the Phillies would keep him all season long just to basically let him go for nothing in the off season. They see something in him that they kept him all year when that spot could have been taken by a prospect.

    1. I agree Eric, although Todd Z. brings up a good point in his question and answer section .

      I have 10 guys going onto the 40 man who are prospects including Goeddel ( I know he is not considered a prospect). However out of those 10 how many have a realistic shot at being called up this year and at best at the end of the year. Having 7-8 guys who the team can not use until the end of the year really hamstrings flexibility for the 25 man. In other words you could see the back end of the bullpen or bench coming off the waiver wire or AAA (non prospect) guys by mid season or even early on?

      I know we did that last year, but may have to do it more this year….. which kind of makes it difficult to go to the next level of competition / improve your record. Those who want to see us be a .500 team this year might have to wait?

      I would like to hope we can do both but it won’t be easy.

    1. If Joe Blanton hooks on with the Phillies next season …then he becomes the last member of the ’08 team still on the Phillies! 🙂

      1. Blanton likely to get some dumb team to give him a 2 year 3 million++ contract. Absolutely no interest in Blanton and his HR bat. I can’t imagine Phils offering that kind of a contract ???? He should try and hook on with SF who needs about 8 new relief pitchers.

    1. Could not agree more. Lots of money for minimal return. Thank heaven some other team signed Reddick as I was afraid GM and others would read back of his baseball card. Just watching him, he is a stiff – defense declining, too many K’s, and an overrated power bat that is about 3/4 years old. Every time I saw the young Philly pitchers faced him they ate him up. If the Dodgers took him off somebody’s hands to patch a “tire” he is not worth that much. Next…..

  13. I think the phillies just lay low right now and pick off an outfielder in a one-year deal. There’s no rush. A team that needs to cut salary on a useless player to them (i.e. Bruce) will come calling. Klentak has aall the chips right now.

  14. Twins, Rays, and Braves all interested in Jason Castro. I wonder Rupp’s value in a thin catching market.

    1. Rupp should stay for now because there is no other catcher in the system that is ready or will be at the end of spring training. I expect Alfaro to struggle at first at LV and gradually figure out the tougher pitchers as well upping his defense and game-calling. Knapp is a likely 2nd catcher behind Rupp for now. If Rupp has a season decently like ’16s, he could be a trade piece after ’17s season…IMO there’s no need to rush his exit.

      1. The point on Rupp ISN’T whether there is another catcher ready to step in his place but that his current value may never be higher than it is now. Re-sign Ellis or another FA veteran backstop. It doesn’t matter right now that Rupp is the best option for a starting catcher IF you can move him either alone or in a package that nets you a better return.

        1. This approach that every time one of our young players (Hernandez, Rupp, Odubel) has a good season he must be traded ‘because his value may never be higher’ is loser logic. Whatever happened to taking an optimistic approach that the player has continued to develop and the good year is what he now is? Rupp is a solid MLB catcher and Hernandez is a solid MLB 2B. We really don’t know when we’ll bring up the next guy who can check one of those boxes. We thought we had brought up a solid MLB corner OF with Domonic Brown. You build a contender by accumulating a core of good to plus MLB players, not by rushing to trade young players at the first hint of success, because you fear their success is a mirage. That’s a formula to always be bad and always be looking several years into the future.

          1. @allentown – i think the reason why some (including me) suggest to trade the likes of Cesar, Rupp and Doobie are due to the following reasons: a) Phils have depth in the 2B, C and CF positions; and b) they are not seen as key pieces (for me Moniak is the future in CF, thus, Doobie is a placeholder) of the next great Phillies team.

            Obviously, the Phils should not trade these players for the sake of trading. However, if the Phils think that these players are not the key pieces – then, why not trade them when their value are high.

            Cesar and Rupp has limited upsides due to lack of loud tools. They profile more as complimentary players. Doobie is an enigma. The only valid reason to trade him now is because the Phils will receive an trade package that will include key pieces of the next great Phillies team.

            1. Kuko, this point just doesn’t seem to resonate with a few folks no matter how clearly you present it, and you just did.

              It’s all about a player’s present value to his current team vs other teams, not necessarily whether he’s better or worse than another player at his position. GMs get paid to make those distinctions.

  15. The fact remains that we don’t know, nor does anyone else, if MGMT has indeed offered all three of the players so often mentioned as sell high candidates on this site and the returns, or perceived returns, were minimal as to preclude discussing it further. If you are playing poker and you keep bumping the pot and nobody plays along, pretty soon you are going to have to sit on your cards. I might suggest that MGMT is not going to hang for sale signs on young players to max out their value when nobody is interested – due to all the free agents, roster manipulation, and other personnel changes taking place right now that are major distractions. MGMT can best play their hand perhaps by sitting back and see if somebody approaches – and if not, continue with the rebuild as they are doing.

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