Joe Girardi made a change with Alex Rodriguez, but it isn’t the one many Yankees fans (and at least one HardballTalk writer) have been clamoring for.
The manager has Rodriguez starting at designated hitter tonight rather than his usual third base, but Rodriguez remains the No. 3 hitter. Eric Chavez is starting at third base and batting ninth, which is where Eduardo Nunez hit as the DH in Game 2.
Rodriguez went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in the first two games of the ALDS versus Baltimore and hit just .278 with five homers and a .418 slugging percentage in 40 second-half games.
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.