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The Reds shut down rookie Tyler Mahle for the rest of 2017

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The Reds shut down rookie right-hander Tyler Mahle for the rest of the 2017 season, per a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans. There’s nothing sinister here, just a rookie who hit his innings limit for the season. Mahle finished a brief run in the big leagues with a 2.70 ERA, 5.0 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 in his first 20 innings, ending on a high note after tossing five scoreless innings against the Cardinals on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old righty contracted a mild case of the jitters after making the jump to the majors, but the control issues that plagued him in September don’t appear to be a chronic problem. Prior to his call-up, Mahle touted a 2.73, 2.0 BB/9 and 7.7 SO/9 with Triple-A Louisville, and his numbers were even better in Double-A. He accumulated 164 1/3 innings across all three levels, which likely made the decision to shut him down an easy one for the Reds. Given his poise and results on the mound, however, there’s no reason to think he won’t be in the mix for a rotation spot next spring.

In the meantime, the club will roll with a rotation featuring Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, Jackson Stephens, Rookie Davis and Homer Bailey. Heading into Saturday’s set against the Pirates, Reds’ starters rank second-to-last in the league with a collective 5.67 ERA and 1.9 fWAR. They’ll go for their 65th win of the season at 4:10 ET.

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.