White Sox, Jeff Samardzija agree on $9.8 million salary, avoiding arbitration

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the White Sox and starter Jeff Samardzija have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $9.8 million salary for the 2015 season. Samardzija was entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

The White Sox acquired Samardzija along with minor leaguer Michael Ynoa in a trade with the Athletics in December. They sent Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, Chris Bassitt, and Rangel Ravelo to Oakland in return.

Samardzija, 30 on January 29, finished the 2014 season with a combined 2.99 ERA between the Cubs and Athletics along with a 202/43 K/BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings. The right-hander is one of several big off-season additions by the White Sox, joining outfielder Melky Cabrera, closer David Robertson and reliever Zach Duke, and DH Adam LaRoche.

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.