Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.: “We might be a little challenged as far as overall talent”

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It’s already vote of confidence time in Philadelphia, where general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. praised manager Ryne Sandberg before the Phillies fell to 11-22 with a loss to the Pirates.

I’m happy with the way Ryno has gone about it. He’s on the same page as we are. It’s about giving young players opportunities and teaching them how to win. And that’s what we’re looking for from him, and that’s all we can ask of him. Do whatever he can with his staff to put these players in a position to improve. And that’s what he’s been doing.

Obviously we don’t want to cultivate a culture of losing. We obviously want the very opposite. For me it’s about having guys understand what it takes to win, and trying to play winning baseball. We might be a little challenged as far as overall talent at the major league level right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play a winning-type of baseball.

Sandberg is now 104-133 since taking over as Phillies manager in mid-2013, but Amaro seems to realize it’d be awfully tough to put the blame on the manager considering his own decision-making over the years.

Also, it would probably be even tougher to find any Phillies fans who agree that the team has been playing “a winning-type of baseball.”

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.