Tensions escalate between MLB and Dominican scouts

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Thumbnail image for dominican republic flag.jpgMLB Trade Rumors’ Nick Collias continues to stay on top of the increasingly strained relationship between Major League Baseball and various baseball factions in the Dominican Republic. The latest: scouts have barred members of the Major League Scouting Bureau from watching players at several recent exhibitions on the island. In apparent retaliation, Major League Baseball shut down a Dominican Prospect League game that was using MLB facilities despite the fact that MLB had, in the past, approved of the DPL doing just that.

As has been noted several times before, the end game here is the international draft sought by Major League Baseball. Between now and then, however, it appears as though there will be an increasing number of the sort of skirmishes Nick describes.  To that end, Nick’s posts — which benefit from his reading of the Spanish language pres — will be must-reading on the subject.

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.