CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles have expressed interest in acquiring corner outfielder Jason Kubel from the Diamondbacks but are “disinclined” at this point to meet Arizona’s demands, which center around young pitching.
The D’Backs have an overly crowded outfield and are currently shopping both Kubel and Justin Upton.
Upton has drawn serious attention from multiple teams — including the Padres, Rangers, Mariners and Braves — and would obviously fetch a far better return package than Kubel. The younger brother of B.J. Upton has hit .284/.363/.481 with 48 homers, 155 RBI and 39 stolen bases over the past two seasons.
He’s owed a total of $38.5 million in salary through the 2015 campaign.
Kubel, 30, batted .253/.327/.506 with 30 home runs and 90 RBI in 2012. He signed a two-year, $16 million free agent contract with the Snakes last winter. That deal also includes a $7.5 million club option for 2014.
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.