Bengie Molina never officially announced his retirement while sitting out the 2011 season, but he got a proper sendoff when his wife threw him a surprise retirement party Saturday, CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly reports.
Albert Pujols, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Ervin Santana were among the guests at the bash, designed to celebrate the career of the eldest Molina brother. Pujols and catchers Ramon Hernandez and Miguel Montero showed up even though they were never teammates with Molina.
“It was a special night,” Molina said. “I can’t thank enough all the people that came. At some point they touched my life and helped me be who I am right now.”
Molina, 37, never signed for 2011 after finishing splitting 2010 between San Francisco and Texas. He was on the losing side when those two teams met in the World Series, but he got a ring anyway for the contributions he made with the Giants. He finished his career with a .274/.307/.411 line, 144 homers and 711 RBI in 1,362 games over 13 seasons.
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.