Acquired in Hamels deal, Harrison cut by Phils

Due to chronic back injury, veteran lefty never pitched for Philadelphia

November 15th, 2016
Releasing Matt Harrison opens a spot on the Phillies' 40-man roster. (Getty Images)Tom Pennington/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA -- joined the Phillies in one of the biggest trades in franchise history.

But he never threw a single pitch because of a chronic back injury, and Tuesday the team announced it had released him. Harrison will make $15 million next year, which includes a $13 million salary and a $2 million buyout on a 2018 club option. The Phillies will not be responsible for the entirety of it. There are rumblings they had reached an undisclosed settlement with the insurance company that held the policy on Harrison's contract, which means the Phillies will have some salary relief.

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More importantly, Harrison's release opened up a coveted spot on the club's 40-man roster.

The Phils need as many spots as possible because Friday is the deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies have eight openings on the 40-man, but a group of eligible prospects that includes , Dylan Cozens, , Andrew Knapp, Ricardo Pinto, , Elniery Garcia, Malquin Canelo, Carlos Tocci, , Jose Pujols, , Andrew Pullin, and more.

Harrison, 31, joined the Phillies in the July 2015 trade that sent , and cash to the Rangers for Harrison, Williams, , , and . Harrison joined the Phillies as salary relief to help Texas assume the remainder of Hamels' contract.

Williams (No. 48) and Alfaro (No. 58) are among the top 100 prospects in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. Thompson had ranked in the top 100 before his promotion to the big leagues in August. Eickhoff could be the Phils' Opening Day starter. He went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA in 33 starts and 197 1/3 innings. Asher went 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in five starts late this season.

Harrison went 50-35 with a 4.21 ERA in 135 games (103 starts) in his eight-year career with the Rangers. He made the American League All-Star team in 2012.