The Phillies moved on from Justin Bour on Friday as they declined to tender the first baseman a contract for next season.
Bour was eligible for salary arbitration, which would have netted him roughly $5.2 million according to MLB Trade Rumors. The Phillies acquired Bour in early August with the hopes that he would be a threat off the bench during the race for a playoff berth. The lefthander went just 11 for 49 with one home run and was troubled by an oblique injury.
The Phillies plan to use a combination of Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana at first base unless they make another move. They have been linked to Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as the Diamondbacks have made nearly their entire roster available via trade.
The Phillies also did not tender a contract to lefthanded reliever Luis Avilan. They did tender contracts to starting pitchers Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez, relievers Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, and Adam Morgan, outfielder Aaron Altherr, and infielders Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez.
The Phillies traded for Avilan two weeks after adding Bour. The lefthanded reliever was a non-factor as he appeared in just 12 games. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $3.1 million in arbitration. The Phillies may upgrade their lefthanded relief options with free-agent Andrew Miller.
The Phillies, as they have in the past, should be able to avoid salary arbitration with the nine players they tendered deals with. But it will be interesting to see if they attempt to sign Nola to a long-term contract. He’s under club control for three more seasons, but the Phillies could try this winter to buy out his three years of arbitration in exchange for a season or two of his free agency. It should be one of Matt Klentak’s top priorities once he’s done reshaping the 2019 roster.
Hernandez and Franco have contracts but that is far from a guarantee that they have a future with the team. The Phillies will try to ship both players during the Winter Meetings, which begin Dec. 10 in Las Vegas. Moving Hernandez, who is a free agent after the 2020 season, would open up second base for Scott Kingery. Santana, if the Phillies can not move him, figures to play at third base while Hoskins returns to first base from left field. Franco, who cannot become a free agent until a year after Hernandez, will be made available.