The Philadelphia Phillies have signed their center fielder, Odubel Herrera, to a five-year contract, the club announced Thursday afternoon. A source said the deal guarantees Herrera $30.5 million for the next five seasons. The contract also includes club options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Herrera, who would not have been eligible for arbitration for another year, is the first member of the Phillies' core to receive a long-term commitment. No other player on their current major league roster is under contract beyond the 2017 season.
Herrera, who turns 25 later this month, has made a rapid ascent in the two years since the Phillies acquired him from the Texas Rangers in the 2014 Rule 5 draft of unprotected players. At the time, he was a middle infielder who had played mostly second base and had started only 13 games in the outfield in the minor leagues -- just two of them in center field.
After watching him play center field in winter ball in Venezuela, the Phillies drafted him and installed him as their Opening Day center fielder in 2015. He has compiled 8.0 Wins Above Replacement in his first two seasons in the big leagues, according to baseball-reference.com. Only Dick Allen (8.8) had a higher WAR through his first two seasons in Phillies history.
Herrera is coming off a season in which he hit .286/.361/.420 and set career highs in home runs (15) and walks (63). He was named to the National League All-Star team and played three innings in center field.
Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Melvin Upton Jr. and Herrera were the only four outfielders in the major leagues to hit at least 15 homers and steal at least 25 bases last season. Herrera's six defensive runs saved ranked sixth among National League center fielders, according to Baseball Info Solutions.