We heard earlier today that the Mets are looking at free agent Scott Hairston as a “fallback option” and will only sign him if they can’t find someone better for their outfield. It’s not a surprise who they have on their wish list.
Sources tell Marc Carig of New York Newsday that the Mets are again interested in trading for Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. It’s viewed as a longshot, though, as it’s unlikely they’ll give up enough prospects to make a deal. One would think that Zack Wheeler wouldn’t be on the table, so names like Noah Syndergaard and Wilmer Flores probably won’t get it done.
It was reported yesterday that Upton rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Mariners for a package which included prospect right-hander Taijuan Walker and prospect infielder Nick Franklin. The Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs are the other clubs on Upton’s no-trade list, so the D-Backs would not need his approval to send him to the Mets.
The Rangers have reportedly “moved on” from Upton, so many have pegged the Braves as the favorites, where he could play with his brother, B.J. Upton.
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.