Phillies expected to chat with Jimmy Rollins’ agent tomorrow

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Jimmy Rollins’ agent, Dan Lozano, is expected to chat with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. tomorrow.

The two sides had multiple meetings at this week’s Winter Meetings in Dallas, but despite your typical rumor madness, they aren’t yet close to a deal.

The Brewers signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez yesterday, which would seem to take away one of Rollins’ biggest potential suitors. The Cardinals make some sense now that Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote this morning that they “would be reluctant to enter the bidding for Rollins” if he doesn’t back down from his desire for a five-year deal. Another thing to think about is that the Cardinals might not want to be used as leverage by Lozano (also Pujols’ agent, if you remember) when most feel he will end up back with the Phillies.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.