The Philadelphia Phillies did Tuesday what had seemed inevitable since last May.
They designated outfielder Odubel Herrera for assignment.
The outfielder’s time with the Phillies seemed doomed ever since Atlantic City police arrested Herrera at Golden Nugget Atlantic City in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident May. 27. The case against Herrera was dismissed in July after the alleged victim declined to testify against Herrera, who had to finish counselling as a condition of the dismissal.
Herrera, 28, served an 85-game, season-ending suspension last year for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
Herrera was once one of the Phillies’ most uplifting stories.
They acquired him from the Texas Rangers in the 2014 Rule V draft. Players who are not on a major league roster and have completed either four or five years of minor league ball, depending on their age, are eligible for the draft.
Herrera batted .297 in 2015 and was an All-Star in 2016, when he hit 15 home runs and stole 25 bases. But his play declined the following few seasons. Herrera was batting .221 with just one home run in 39 games at the time of his arrest.
As part of the DFA process, opposing teams have seven days to claim Herrera and add him to their 40-man roster. If no team claims Herrera, the Phillies most likely will release him. The Phillies would then have to pay Herrera slightly more than $20 million over the next two seasons.
The Phillies made Tuesday’s move after claiming outfielder Nick Martini off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. Martini batted .226 with a .330 on-base percentage in 32 games with the Oakland A’s and the San Diego Padres last season.
The Phillies will begin the 2020 season with Bryce Harper in right field, Adam Haseley in center and Andrew McCutchen in left.
In addition to those three and Martini, the Phillies have outfielders Jay Bruce, Roman Quinn and Nick Williams on the 40-man roster.
The Phillies also signed 2007 Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate Matt Szczur to a minor league contract last month.
A former Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres outfielder, Szczur spent last season with Arizona’s triple-A affiliate in Reno, Nevada. An oblique injury limited him to 44 games, but he hit .322 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs for the Aces.