On January 21st, The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a one-year, $2,000,000 contract with veteran utility man Josh Harrison. Harrison formerly spent time with Philadelphia’s spring training team but never played a game for the big league squad. That will change in 2023. Philadelphia gets a much-needed defensive substitute and a potential consistent bat while Bryce Harper continues rehabbing his arm. With the departure of Nick Maton in the trade for Gregory Soto, the Phillies were in desperate need of some positional versatility, and Josh Harrison is that guy for the Fightins.
In 2022, Harrison posted a .687 OPS (94 OPS+) with 7 home runs and 19 doubles in 425 plate appearances with the Chicago White Sox and a good glove in the infield. Josh Harrison had a very underrated prime in Pittsburgh as well. In 2014, Harrison posted an .837 OPS (133 OPS+) with 13 home runs and 38 doubles in 550 plate appearances for the Pirates, finishing ninth in NL MVP voting and earning an all-star appearance. Josh Harrison comes into the 2023 season at 35 years old and adds a much-needed veteran presence to a star-studded Phillies dugout.
With Bryce Harper due to miss time until the all-star break, Dave Dombrowski was in search of somebody to fill the void left by the 2x NL MVP. Whether that’s Harrison, minor-league slugger Darick Hall, who stepped up in a massive way for the Phillies during Harper’s 2022 absence, the Phillies are in a good position to compete without Harper. The real question is, do the Phillies go with Hall or Harrison to take that spot? Let’s discuss.
Josh Harrison and Darick Hall bring significantly different approaches to the plate. Harrison, a right-handed hitter, brings more of a contact approach, with the intent to barrel as many pitches into the outfield as possible. On the other hand, Hall is a left-handed hitter who brings a go-big-or-go-home approach to the plate. Depending on Rob Thomson’s plan for each game, Harrison and Hall could both get some time in the Phillies lineup, which we fully expect. Harrison can also play the outfield, bringing the ability to give corner outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos a much-needed day or two off their feet.
The Phillies recently made the signing official (see below), and fans everywhere are excited to see what Harrison will be able to bring to Philadelphia in 2023. Expect a consistent bat and some very consistent fielding at every position. This is a great signing.