We heard earlier this week that Darren Oliver was on the verge of re-signing with the Rangers, but things have evidently changed over the past few days.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the veteran left-hander is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Red Sox, and is “keeping an open mind” on his destination for next season.
Oliver earned $3.25 million this season while posting a 2.29 ERA and 44/11 K/BB ratio over 51 innings. One of the more unsung middle relievers in the game, he has an outstanding 2.97 ERA since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2006. The 41-year-old was mulling retirement following the World Series, but recently decided to return for his 19th season in the big leagues.
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.