Diamondbacks release Byrnes, eat $11 million

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Arizona designated Eric Byrnes for assignment over the weekend and officially released the 34-year-old outfielder this afternoon. Byrnes was in the final season of a three-year, $30 million contract, so the Diamondbacks are eating $11 million by letting him go.
Byrnes signed that deal after a career-year in 2007 that saw him hit .286/.353/.460 with 21 homers and 50 steals in 160 games, but since then he’s been healthy enough to play a grand total of 136 games in two seasons while batting just .218/.271/.382.
He’s highly unlikely to ever land another starting job, but Byrnes should be able to find a bench gig somewhere now that he’s available for the minimum salary. If healthy he remains a strong defensive corner outfielder capable of playing center field in a pinch and still has reasonable pop in his bat when spotted against left-handed pitching, so for $400,000 instead of $30 million he’s somewhat useful.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.