Orioles looking at Fernando Rodney as Grant Balfour alternative

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Grant Balfour’s two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles is in jeopardy because the team didn’t like what it saw during his pre-signing physical exam and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they’re turning their attention to Fernando Rodney.

Any pursuit of Rodney would only happen if Balfour’s deal is wiped away, but Connolly suggests that’s “likely” to happen now.

Comparing their numbers over the past two seasons …

               BALFOUR     RODNEY
Innings            137        141
ERA               2.56       1.91
SO/9               9.4       10.1
BB/9               3.6        3.2
HR/9               0.7        0.3
AVG against       .182       .189
Save %            92.5       89.4

Pretty damn close. It’ll be interesting to see if the money ends up close too.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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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.