The Rays interviewed Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin for their managerial opening, wrapping up the first round of interviews, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Rays are expected to narrow down their list, then complete another round of interviews before deciding on their successor to Joe Maddon.
The Rays had phone interviews with Craig Counsell, Raul Ibanez, and Don Wakamatsu on November 7. Last Saturday, they interviewed Dave Martinez and Manny Acta, and on Wednesday, they interviewed Kevin Cash.
Larkin doesn’t have any major league managerial experience, but he was a coach for the United States in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He managed Brazil’s team in the WBC in 2013.
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.