Off the Record (OTR)

Phillies ink Herrera…hopefully the focused version

The Philadelphia Phillies have certainly gotten more about of Odubel Herrera than they thought when they selected him in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. You can find talent in the Rule 5 Draft, but you aren’t adding guys from there and then sitting back and popping the bubbly (thanks, Peter King).

Through his first 306 games in the Majors, Herrera has hit .291 and at times looking like a potential batting champ. I’m not kidding, he started the 2016 season absolutely on fire and earned an All Star appearance before sinking like a stone throughout the summer. But, he did pick it back up in September and more closely resembled the guy from early in the season than he did the guy through the hot-weather months.

And the Phillies clearly think he’s closer to the good guy than the guy that went cold. They have just bought out his arbitration years and signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract. He’ll be inked through the 2021 season, with team options of $11.5 million in 2021 and $12.5 million in 2022.

He’s still only 24-years old and if he continues on the trajectory that many have thought, this is an absolute steal.

Now, about that focus. When Herrera was on a tear early on, he had laser focus and clapped his hands vociferously when he worked a walk. He was absolutely determined entering the season to take more walks and be more patient at the plate. And it worked. He looked like a super stud in the making.

But, something happened during the season and I’m not sure what it was. But, he started free swinging and looking more disinterested at the play. If he can maintain that focus and desire to be disciplined, he could be that future batting champ.

Now, about his defense in center field. He’s a converted infielder so….yeah, he has great upside with his bat.

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