Erik Bedard changes his mind about Triple-A, re-signs with the Rays

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All spring Erik Bedard insisted that he’d opt out of his minor-league contract with the Rays rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A and he was true to his word after losing the fifth-starter competition, deciding to become a free agent.

However, after shopping around for a big-league offer that never materialized Bedard has decided to return to the Rays on another minor-league deal and Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports that he’ll head to Triple-A Durham after all.

Bedard is 35 years old and has never been particularly reliable, but he struck out 256 batters in 277 innings during the past two seasons and still has the raw stuff to be serviceable back-of-the-rotation starter if the Rays need some reinforcements at some point.

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.