Charlie Manuel: “No way in hell we overused Jose Contreras”

19 Comments

Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a right flexor pronator strain and manager Charlie Manuel was questioned about whether the reliever’s recent heavy workload led to the elbow problems.

Not only did Manuel deny that premise, he did so very strongly. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the details:

I feel like, first of all, there’s no way in hell we overused Contreras. That’s how I feel. There’s no way. What did he pitch? The most [consecutive] games was three. Then he had a day off. He pitched five times in seven days. We weren’t trying to stay away from him. He was closing games. That’s how I look at it.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. commented that Contreras “had been pitching quite a bit” when the DL stint was announced, but he later clarified that he wasn’t criticizing Manuel’s handling of the 39-year-old. Manuel was asked if anyone in the front office said anything to him about pitcher workloads and responded: “That’s none of your business.”

Manuel no doubt had various reasons for using Contreras so often, not the least of which is that closer Brad Lidge was on the disabled list already, but ultimately a 39-year-old reliever pitching five times in seven days qualifies as a very heavy workload. I’m sure even Manuel would admit that if there wasn’t criticism attached.

Last but not least, my favorite part of Manuel’s rant when questioned about Contreras came when one reporter told him criticism is “the nature of the game” and he replied: “I don’t think I look like a nature boy.” That’s a funny quote coming from anyone, but becomes downright hilarious if you’ve ever seen and heard Charlie Manuel. Excuse me, Charlie “Not A Nature Boy” Manuel.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.