Phillies Add Four on Minor League Deals

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The Phillies offseason seems to have resumed and done so quickly.  While the signings of Didi Gregorius and Zach Wheeler seem to be the only major league free agents the Phillies will sign, they appear to have reached the point in the offseason when they are adding minor league free agents.  The Phillies have accumulated four of them since yesterday.  All four players are invited to Spring Training.

The moves are:

Neil Walker, Utility Infield

Walker is a very versatile player all around.  While he was once a star player with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a second baseman, in recent years Walker has been a utility player who has played second base, third base, first base and the outfield.  Walker is also a switch-hitter, giving the Phillies flexibility at the plate as well.   Walker batted .261 for the Miami Marlins in 2019.

Francisco Liriano, Left-handed Relief

Liriano also had his prominent years with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a starting pitchers.  Liriano was 16-8 with a 3.02 earned run average for the Pirates in 2013.  After having tough seasons in Toronto, Houston, and Detroit, Liriano reinvented himself as a reliever with the Pirates in 2019.  He went 5-3 with a 3.57 earned run average in 69 appearances.

Drew Storen, Right-handed relief

Storen was well-known as the closer for the Washington Nationals.   Their first round pick from 2009 (picked ahead of Mike Trout, by the way) saved as many as 43 games for the Nationals.  The Nationals replaced him with Jonathan Papelbon in 2015 and Storen was not too happy about it.  Storen did not pitch in the majors in 2019.  He signed late with the Kansas City Royals, pitched nine games in the minor leagues, and was released by June.

Bud Norris, Right-handed Relief

Norris is on the comeback trail after missing 2019 with injury.  Last season Norris had a deal with the Washington Nationals, but it was voided after it showed that he would not be able to pitch last season.  The Phillies hope that they can find some of the success Norris had as the St. Louis Cardinals closer.  Once a solid starting pitcher, the move to relief has helped extend his career.

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