Former Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Josh Harrison is signing a minor-league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Josh Harrison goes to Phillies on minors deal. Back with old friend Cutch.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 26, 2019
Harrison played in just 36 games with the Detroit Tigers last season due to a number of injuries and a precipitous decline at the plate. Harrison slashed .175/.218/.263 in 147 plate appearances.
The Phillies will make the low-risk move that Harrison could be a filler at third base or second base, at least for the time being. Philadelphia might still try to trade Cesar Hernandez, and Harrison's experience at the hot corner also makes him a valuable asset because of his versatility.
It was not too long ago that Harrison was among the better middle infielders in baseball. He finished ninth in the National League MVP Award voting in 2014 and made his second All-Star team in 2017. But injuries have put a dent on his career.
Harrison has played in just 133 games combined over the course of the last two years. He is not the same baserunner that he once was, and he does not draw a ton of walks.
However, Harrison is still a very good defender at multiple positions, and the Phillies need more infield depth as they hope to transition Scott Kingery to the outfield on a full-time basis.
The Phillies are still expected to aggressively pursue especially Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas, but Harrison should give them some positional flexibility. Philadelphia still needs to address a pitching staff that was among the most disappointing in baseball last season.
Getting Harrison on a cheap deal would seem to help both ventures.