Phillies sign Reid Brignac

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Philadelphia has signed one-time top prospect turned journeyman Reid Brignac to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, reports Jim Salisburg of CSNPhilly.com.

Brignac was a second-round draft pick in 2004 and ranked among Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, but he’s now 27 years old with a lifetime .221 batting average and .573 OPS in 302 games as a big leaguer.

On the other hand Brignac is a solid defensive shortstop and second baseman, so the Phillies could give him a long look as a utility man.

(As an aside: I know a guy who pitched 10 seasons in the minors for a few different organizations. He once told me that Brignac was the best player he played against. Moral of the story? Baseball is friggin hard, man.)

Mariano Rivera awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.

Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.