Pittsburgh handed Jonathan Sanchez an Opening Day rotation spot despite his being the worst pitcher in baseball last season and predictably after four terrible starts they’ve mercifully decided to designate him for assignment.
Sanchez managed to allow 18 runs in 13.2 innings, get demoted to the bullpen, and draw a six-game suspension for throwing at Allen Craig’s head, so it was a very memorable month.
Dating back to the beginning of last season Sanchez is 1-12 with an 8.73 ERA and more walks (61) than strikeouts (60) in 78 innings while allowing opponents to hit .330 with a 1.057 OPS. He’s still just 29 years old and not that far removed from being a solid mid-rotation starter with a good strikeout rate for the Giants, but that’s about as bad as pitching gets.
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.