UPDATE: The mystery team has been identified. According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Santos is expected to sign with the Dodgers.
6:20 p.m. ET: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that reliever Sergio Santos is close to signing with an NL West team. It’s expected to be a minor league contract with incentives attached.
No word yet on who the mystery team might be, but Corey Brock of MLB.com hears that it won’t be the Padres. Hey, they can’t have everyone.
Santos saved 30 games for the White Sox in 2011, but he has struggled to stay healthy ever since. The 31-year-old actually began this past season as the Blue Jays’ closer while Casey Janssen was sidelined, but he quickly pitched his way out of the role before landing on the disabled list with a forearm injury. He was designated for assignment twice during the season and finished with an 8.57 ERA and 29/18 K/BB ratio over 21 innings.
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.