In the span of four season Scott Kazmir went from 24-year-old All-Star to being out of the big leagues and now pitching for the independent league Sugarland Skeeters.
And as Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus notes, Kazmir can’t even get those hitters out.
Yesterday he lasted just one inning, coughing up six runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batter.
At age 24 he was striking out 10 batters per nine innings in the majors and at age 28 he’s getting knocked around by Atlantic League hitters. What a shame.
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.