John Lackey may not get the six years he wants

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John Lackey is reported to want something better in terms of money and years than A.J. Burnett got last winter.  A.J. Burnett got five years and $82 million. That puts Lackey’s demand in the six-year range, with total dollars approaching $100 million.

Guess what: he ain’t gettin’ that from the Angels, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.  GM Tony Reagins:  “There is a point where it doesn’t make sense. You can jeopardize your organization moving forward when you
consider the dollars a player might command.”

How about the Mets?  As was reported the other day, the Mets aren’t interested in going six years, either.  There is some suggestion this morning that there is still some internal debate about this in the Mets hotel suite, but even that is characterized thusly: “Lackey currently is the only free-agent starter the Mets would consider going beyond three years on.”

The problem with that phrasing is two-fold: (1) it ends with a preposition — it should read “Lackey is the only free-agent starter for whom the Mets would consider going beyond three years”; and (2) there’s a big difference between “willing to go beyond three years” and “willing to give a 31 year-old starter who is a notch below the usual cream of the free agent crop six years and $100 million.”

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.