Bill Baer

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Phillies to expand protective netting at Citizens Bank Park

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Starting in 2015, the Phillies made strides to expand protective netting at Citizens Bank Park. In August, this past season, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis lined a foul ball into the stands that struck and injured a young girl. After that game, he pleaded for the Phillies to expand protective netting so that it protects fans behind the dugouts. The next day, another foul ball went into the stands around the same area and struck another fan. Galvis threw his hands up in disgust.

Galvis may now be getting what he’s been asking for. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies will be extending protective netting to the far ends of both dugouts. The netting will be eight feet high.

The netting issue has created debate that has even involved the likes of Stephen King, who wrote in the Boston Globe last April why he very much dislikes the netting at Fenway Park. But seeing as it’s become a litigious issue, Major League Baseball and its individual teams seem to be taking the issue more seriously than they did just a couple of years ago, which is good to see. And while some fans don’t like the idea, the players seem to be for it.

Report: White Sox sign Geovany Soto to a minor league deal

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Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that catcher Geovany Soto has signed with the White Sox on a minor league contract. According to Levine, Soto has a “great shot” once the White Sox configure their 40-man roster.

Soto, who turns 34 years old later this month, was limited to just 26 games with the Angels this past season. When he was in the lineup, he was productive, hitting .269/.321/.487 with four home runs and nine RBI in 86 plate appearances.

The White Sox don’t have great catching depth as Omar Navaez and Kevan Smith are No.1 and 2, respectively, on the club’s depth chart.

Report: Brandon Phillips blocked a trade to the Braves

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips blocked a trade that would have sent him to the Braves back in November. Rosenthal notes that the Braves were trying to bring Phillips in at the same time they pursued Sean Rodriguez, who signed a two-year $11.5 million contract later that month. As a result, the Braves are almost certainly no longer interested in Phillips.

Phillips, 35, has one year and $14 million remaining on his contract with the rebuilding Reds. As the Reds have some younger players who could benefit from experience, namely Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, Phillips is looking at reduced playing time during the 2017 season in Cincinnati.

Phillips hit a serviceable .291/.320/.416 with 11 home runs, 64 RBI, 74 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 584 plate appearances last season.