Phillies refute report that president David Montgomery was forced out


Phillies president David Montgomery took a leave of absence from the team in August due to jaw cancer. As a result, Pat Gillick — who was GM of the Phillies between 2006-08 — was named the interim president. Recently, FOX 29’s Howard Eskin reported that the story was a convenient cover for the team’s owners to push Montgomery out, as they blamed him for the team’s woes, including mistakenly keeping around many expensive veterans.

Eskin’s report stated that John Middleton, a minority owner, was politicking his way to forcing a vote to receive majority ownership. He currently has 48 percent ownership and no one person can have majority ownership without a vote. Furthermore, Eskin reported that along with Gillick as the team’s president, Ruben Amaro would remain GM, first baseman Ryan Howard’s time was drawing to a close in Philadelphia, and that the team would explore trading starter Cole Hamels.

The Phillies rebuked the report earlier today. Via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

Though the report has been refuted, the Phillies may still explore moving Howard and Hamels, among others. Howard would open up a spot for Darin Ruf and/or Cody Asche (or Chase Utley) at first base, and Hamels represents the Phillies’ best avenue through which to further infuse their minor league system with talent.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and’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.