Mariners could be serious player for Josh Hamilton

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FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi wrote earlier today that free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton “is on the Orioles’ list of targets” this offseason. And he will apparently have another unexpected suitor.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mariners “look like a possible new entry” in the Hamilton sweepstakes. Something that M’s GM Jack Zduriencik did not completely deny:

“If the right bat’s available, we’re going to have to talk about it,” said Jack Z. “We’re going to have several discussions with agents. We have to be flexible.”

Hamilton would play left field in Seattle while adding power to a lineup that desperately needs it. But the Mariners haven’t spent big on many free agents and Hamilton is seeking more than $100 million.

The 31-year-old slugger has registered a remarkable .304/.363/.549 batting line since the start of the 2007 season. He hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI in 2012 for the second-place Rangers.

“Some or most of the Hamilton market may not surface for a while,” Heyman notes in his report.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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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.