Michael Weiner: qualifying offer system “hasn’t worked out”

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Mark Feinsand has a revealing quote from MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner on baseball’s new qualifying offer system:

“While neither us nor the commissioner’s office have any legal obligation to bargain over that issue over the term of the basic agreement, I don’t think it was the intention of either side that you would have a player and you’d have clubs that would be interested in securing that player and be happy paying that player his salary, but would be stopped from doing it by compensation. That really wasn’t the intention.

“I can’t promise you that we’re going to be able to rectify it, but I know there will be discussions. It’s mostly good, but that part of it hasn’t worked out the way that we expected.”

Weiner described Kyle Lohse’s continued free agency as being “of concern”. The right-hander has yet to find a home for the 2013 season, at least in part due to the fact that any team outside the top-ten in this year’s amateur draft would have to surrender their first round pick. As the regular season draws nearer and the probability of Lohse leveraging only a one-year deal increases, teams unwilling to part with a first rounder on a short-term contract will be more likely to go with in-house options. The Rangers, rumored to still be in contact with Lohse’s agent Scott Boras, may use Justin Grimm or even Alexi Ogando in the #5 spot in the rotation that Lohse might have otherwise occupied.

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.