When it comes to collecting terrible-hitting former Angels catchers the Blue Jays just can’t help themselves.
Toronto has claimed Bobby Wilson off waivers, adding him to a roster that already included Angels castoff Jeff Mathis.
Wilson spent this season backing up Chris Iannetta, but was forced into extended duty by Iannetta’s broken wrist and ended up hitting .211 with a .569 OPS in 75 games. At age 30 he’s purely backup material at best.
His departure does open the door for 24-year-old prospect Hank Conger to take over as Ianneta’s new backup, although after the Angels signed Iannetta to a three-year, $15.5 million extension last month it wouldn’t be surprising if they look to trade Conger this winter.
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.