Brandon Phillips sat out yesterday’s game with a sore hamstring, but still had plenty of reason to celebrate after signing a six-year, $72.5 million million contract extension with the Reds earlier in the day.
Here’s some of what an emotional Phillips said at the press conference announcing the deal:
I cried about this. This is where I wanted to be. I talked to my agents and I kept on telling them please, please make it happen. This is the best day of my life, man. …
I was like, “Mom, what should I do? The fans love me here, I love it here, this is where I wanted to be.” She was like, “Just go where your heart is.” I really didn’t want to be a free agent, regardless of what all the other guys were getting. To play in the city that I really love … I feel like this is home.
And of course $72.5 million and a deal that will be paying him $14 million as a 36-year-old also didn’t hurt.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Ryan Moseley.
Nuno, 29, went to the Dodgers from the Mariners in the Carlos Ruiz trade this past November. He and the Dodgers avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $1.125 million salary for the 2017 season. The left-hander finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 51/11 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings spanning one start and 54 relief appearances.
Nuno will provide the Orioles starting pitching depth and could serve as a valuable left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Moseley, 22, played his first season of professional baseball in the New York Penn League last year. In 12 relief appearances, he put up a 3.20 ERA and an 18/9 K/BB ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The Orioles selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft.