Just when it began to look like the Phillies wouldn’t have room for Chad Durbin in their bullpen or their payroll, there’s now a pretty good chance that he will return.
Peter Gammons of MLB Network alluded to the possibility earlier this afternoon and a source tells Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that returning to Philadelphia would be Durbin’s “first choice.”
According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Durbin’s agent Dan Horwits is in talks with two other teams — presumably the Rangers and Rays, based on Gammons’ report — about a potential major league deal, but no offers have been made. If Durbin walks away from the talks empty handed, he may re-join the Phillies on a minor league deal. Gelb writes that Durbin is expected to make his choice in the next 48 hours.
All things being equal, Durbin would rather just return to the Phillies and attempt to win a spot in the bullpen as a non-roster player. And it’s hard to blame him there.
Durbin, 33, has compiled a 3.62 ERA over 226 innings in the past three seasons with the Phillies, including a 3.80 ERA and 63/27 K/BB ratio across 69 innings last year.
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.