Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have signed right-handed relief pitcher Cody Hall to a minor league deal. Hall elected free agency from the Giants last month, splitting his season between their Double-A affiliate and the independent Atlantic League Lancaster Barnstormers in his first year without a single major league outing.
The 29-year-old reliever last appeared in the big leagues during the 2016 season, logging just three innings (and a 12.00 ERA) with the Marlins before getting jettisoned in mid-August. He was given a longer leash in the minors last season, turning in a cumulative 3.09 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 12.0 SO/9 in 43 2/3 innings for Richmond and Lancaster.
The bullpen is still a big question mark for the Rays as they look toward the 2018 season, with Brad Boxberger, Steve Cishek, Sergio Romo and Tommy Hunter already gone and Alex Colome likely on the chopping block. Hall could find a few innings as a depth piece, but appears unlikely to latch onto a full-time role with limited major league experience under his belt.
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.