Phillies Sign Francisco Liriano, Neil Walker to MiLB Deals
The Phillies have signed two former Pirates teammates of left fielder Andrew McCutchen, both to minor-league deals with an invitation to spring training.
With just a few weeks before the start of spring training, the Philadelphia Phillies have been busy adding minor-league players.
On Tuesday, the club added right-handers Drew Storen and Bud Norris, both with prior closing experience, and the latter with prior starting experience.
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Fast-forward less than 24 hours later, general manager Matt Klentak finalized two more minor-league additions, raising the team’s spring training roster to 65: southpaw Francisco Liriano and utility infielder Neil Walker.
Liriano, 36, is a 14-year veteran that began his career as a starting pitcher, but recently assumed a bullpen left-handed specialist role. He began the first six-plus seasons of his career with the Minnesota Twins from 2005-06 and 2008-12, combining to go 50-52 with a 4.33 ERA, 1.342 WHIP and 788-324 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 783 1/3 innings.
Since, the Dominican Republic native has pitched for the Chicago White Sox (2012), Pittsburgh Pirates (2013-16, 19), Toronto Blue Jays (2016-17), Houston Astros (2017), and Detroit Tigers (2018). Liriano earned his first and only All-Star nod with the Twins in 2006, going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA; in 2017, he helped the Astros to their first (but since-tainted) World Series championship.
Walker, 34, began the first seven seasons of his career with the Pirates from 2009 to 2015; he finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2010. Four seasons later, he notched his first and only career Silver Slugger Award, slashing .271/.342/.467 with 25 doubles, 23 home runs, 76 RBI, 45 walks and 88 strikeouts across 137 games and 571 plate appearances.
The Pittsburgh native has since played for the New York Mets (2016-17), Milwaukee Brewers (2017), New York Yankees (2018), and Miami Marlins (2019).
Walker has major-league experience playing second base, first base, third base, and the corner outfield positions. In 2011 among National League second baseman, he recorded the most defensive games played (159), most double plays turned (108), and the most putouts (333).
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Liriano can earn $1.5 million if he makes the big-league roster; an additional $1.25 million in performance-based incentives is also available, according to Robert Murray.
He, Walker, and fellow Phillies non-roster spring invitee Josh Harrison, as well as major-league left fielder Andrew McCutchen, were all teammates on the Pittsburgh Pirates across the 2013-15 seasons.