Ron Washington wants back in baseball

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Last September, Ron Washington abruptly resigned as Rangers manager, citing a need to work on his marriage as a result of an extramarital affair. Now he tells the New Orleans Advocate that he wants back in the game. It’s not going well, however:

He has had a difficult time getting major league teams to care. He’s reached out to a few teams, he said, but hasn’t gotten a response. Washington, who built his reputation as an infield instructor, developing Gold Glove players with the Oakland Athletics such as six-time winner Eric Chavez and shortstop Miguel Tejada, said he would just like to get back in the game.

“My whole presence is just to help, and I have a passion for baseball,” he said. “So, if that’s managing, certainly. If that’s as a third base coach, certainly. If it’s a roving instructor, wherever the game has to offer, I have something to offer the game.”

Washington’s resignation was sudden, unexpected and, given that he had already weathered the revelation of his cocaine use several years prior, somewhat surprising. Having won two pennants and clearly having the trust of the Rangers’ organization suggests that, if Washington needed time to sort things out, the club would’ve allowed him to do so short of his resignation.

But somewhat less surprising is the trouble Washington is having getting back in the game. Baseball gives a lot of second (and third and fourth and . . .) chances, but it seems particularly difficult for managers who quit their jobs, whatever the reason. I’m put in mind of Mike Hargrove, who quit his job as the Mariners manager in the middle of the 2007 season citing stress. Or Jim Riggleman who quit his job as Nationals manager in 2011 in the middle of a contract dispute. Hargrove has had some invites to spring training and various minor baeseball titles. Riggleman has managed in the minors since. Neither has had a chance to manager in the bigs again.

Washington is well-liked in the game and, in the linked articles, says he’s not hung up on managing but, rather, would be a roving instructor, base coach or the like. One hopes that, assuming his personal issues are behind him, someone would be willing to give a job to a guy who has always had success in what he’s done and who is well-liked in and around the game.

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.