The Phillies announced a series of roster moves, including the news that left-hander Francisco Liriano and infielder Logan Forsythe have been granted releases. Infielder Neil Walker, meanwhile, has been told he will be on Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster, so the team will be officially selecting his minor league contract at some point between now and the first game. In other moves, catcher Henri Lartigue has been removed from the Summer Camp player pool and righty Victor Arano was optioned to Triple-A.
Liriano and Forsythe both had opt-out decisions coming this week, and it seems as if the club gave them an early start on the open market since neither were in the Phillies’ plans. Walker, by contrast, also had an opt-out clause but will now receive the prorated sum of his original (non-specified) guarantee for making the big league team.
Forsythe and Walker were among several veteran infielders added by the Phillies this winter, as Josh Harrison, Ronald Torreyes, and Phil Gosselin were also signed to minor league deals. The latter trio is still in camp, though it remains to be seen how many other roster spots will be available. Scott Kingery is back after recovering from COVID-19 though it isn’t yet known if he’ll be ready for Opening Day, while star prospect Alec Bohm figures to arrive at some point in 2020, perhaps once service time considerations are no longer a factor.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight homers over 381 PA with Miami last season, delivering roughly league-average (98 OPS+, 99 wRC+) offensive production. The switch-hitting Walker did much of his damage from the left side of the plate last season, as has been the norm for much of his career.
It seemed as if Forsythe was having a comeback season for the first two months of his tenure with the Rangers last season, but a hot start quickly turned, and the 33-year-old ended up with only a .227/.325/.353 slash line from 367 PA. Forsythe will now look to catch on with his fifth different organization within the last two years.
There was some doubt as to whether or not Liriano would play at all during the 2020 season, as the southpaw reportedly considered sitting out due to COVID-19 concerns before eventually showing up at Philadelphia’s camp. 2019 saw Liriano work exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his long career, and he delivered a 3.47 ERA, 1.80 K/BB rate, 50.3% grounder rate, and 8.1 K/9 over 70 innings out of the Pirates’ bullpen. As you would expect, Liriano performed better against left-handed batters (holding them to a .659 OPS) but also held righty swingers to a respectable .730 OPS.
Beyond these numbers, however, Liriano also allowed a lot of hard contract, so there is some uncertainty as to whether he’d be able to replicate his solid 2019 statistics again. Given teams’ ever-present need for left-handed pitching, one would think Liriano will be able to find another minor league deal elsewhere.
really? Liriano could have been our 8th inning man. big mistake.
I agree with you. The bullpen would have been stronger with Liriano. That was an error. Why, Girardi? I am just a little bit concerned with the Phillies bullpen, but overall the team looks okay.
i agree, i thought there were rumors about him potentially oping out of this season tho which might be why he was released.
It’s kind of surprising. He probably would have been decent for you guys
I’m absolutely perplexed. He performed well back in Spring training too, never even allowing a run. Our bullpen is way too frail to be cutting assets like him
Are you kidding me? Did you see him pitch? He is horrible! There’s a reason he was available to the entire league. Good riddance.
Did you? What about his statistics last season indicated he wasn’t worthy of a roster spot?
How about the location of his sinker, for starters? Check out his baseball savant page, his pitch locations tells you all you need to know and is backed up by his poor peripherals. He ranked near dead last on exit velo last year, and was near the bottom in xBA, xSLG, fastball spin rate, and whiff %.
ERA and K’s aren’t worth spit when it comes to statistics these days, especially for a club that’s trying to focus on analytics like the Phillies. If his name wasn’t Liriano I doubt Phillies fans would want anything to do with the guy.
With some uncertainty in the cards bullpen wonder if liriano or soon to be released mcgee could be an option. Surprised the Phillies cut him loose with their bullpen issues
I’m glad that Neil Walker made the opening roster. I thought that Neil Walker was not going to make the opening roster since in the intrasquad games based on the few games I seen he has not been hitting much. However, I’m glad he is the opening roster since I’m fan of him. I definitely know that Josh Harrison will make the team too. I’m surprised it has not been announced, he hit a triple against Arrieta like two days ago. It’s sucks that Forsythe didn’t make the team, but they were all competing for a spot.
yeah of the four INF guys (with Torreyes) i was most hoping/expecting Walker to make the roster. his numbers the past few years would work off the bench and be a big upgrade over last year. i wonder about Harrison. perhaps he was left off so far because of a lack of opt out. id wonder if he was able to get one after the 2019 he had.
Harrison is awful. Yet another veteran who’s useful days are over but who keeps hanging on due to name recognition.
Why in the world did they drop Francisco??
I’m guessing he was going to opt out for not making the major league roster but I agree. He has value. Forsyth, not so much. So Walker gets the roster spot & that’s a good move. Solid club house veteran who still has some skills. You guys will like him.
Liriano actually allowed some of the softest contact in the majors last year (98th percentile exit velocity, 96th percentile hard-hit rate). I remember Jeff Todd made the same mistake back when the Phils signed Liriano saying he gave up loads of hard contact. Weird lol