Matt Harrison has been released by the Philadelphia Phillies. The 31-year-old left-handed pitcher was owed $13.2 million for the upcoming season and had a $13.25 million team option for the 2018 season with a $2 million buyout. Instead of keeping Harrison then, the Phillies have opted to use a roster spot at the expense of $15.2 million.
Phillies release LHP Matt Harrison. Never appeared for the team after being acquired in Hamels deal; owed $13.2M in 2017.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) November 15, 2016
Harrison came over to Philadelphia in the Cole Hamels deal along with prospects Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, and Alex Asher. Since then, Thompson has made the major league roster, while Williams and Alfaro rank third and fourth respectively in the Phillies system. No doubt an impressive prospect haul, bringing over Harrison was clearly part of a Rangers salary dump in order to sweeten the deal a bit more for the payroll-flexible Phillies.
Since 2013, Harrison has managed just 44 innings of work in the big leagues while allowing 30 earned runs on 53 hits and 25 walks. He has fallen sharply since finishing eighth in Cy Young voting in 2012, which is partially what earned him his original contract extension of five-years, $55 million. In retrospect, that contract looks terrible, and Harrison is hitting free agency before it even runs its course.
Harrison’s free agency isn’t likely to tip the scales. However, in such a weak free agent class of pitchers, a team with some rotation vacancies may snap up Harrison on a minor league deal before Spring Training.