He will still be on Florida’s Gulf Coast, but this year Ryan Flaherty will be based in Clearwater, where the Philadelphia Phillies hold spring training.

“My first time not going to Sarasota,” said Flaherty, referring to where the Baltimore Orioles train.

Flaherty, 31, the Portland native and Deering High alumnus, signed with the Phillies on Wednesday, ending months of uncertainty after six seasons with Baltimore.

Flaherty, a utility player, became a free agent for the first time after last season. Like many free agents this winter, he found the market slow. As of Friday, nearly 100 free agents were still unsigned.

With spring training camps opening next week, Flaherty opted for the Phillies.

“I just felt like it was the right fit,” Flaherty said by phone on Friday. “I have a lot of connections with them over there. It was an organization that was going to be going in the right direction.”


Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak used to work with the Orioles (leaving right before Flaherty joined Baltimore in December 2011), and Phillies assistant general manager Ned Rice was with the Orioles until two years ago.

Ideally, Flaherty would have signed as a major league free agent, guaranteeing his salary. But Flaherty had to settle for a minor league contract, with an invitation to the major league camp.

“It is what it is,” Flaherty said. “You got to go to camp and compete for a spot. I’ve been through that before when I first came to the Orioles.

“Everyone wants a big league contract for $100 million. But that’s not the reality. Everyone else has to grind it out.”

Flaherty will receive $1.9 million if he makes the major league roster, according to USA Today. He also has an opt-out clause if he is not on the major league roster by March 22.

The Phillies return most of their infield from last year (with top prospect J.P. Crawford replacing the traded Freddy Galvis at shortstop), along with the addition of free-agent first baseman Carlos Santana. Philadelphia has no other infielders with major league experience on the 40-man roster.


If the Phillies want a utility player with major league experience, they have three nonroster players coming to major league camp – Flaherty, Adam Rosales and Pedro Florimon.

Flaherty has played every position but center field and catcher (although he was considered Baltimore’s emergency catcher). Although he has a career .215 average, Orioles Manager Buck Showalter always valued Flaherty’s versatility.

Rosales, 34, has played for five major league teams with a career .227 average. Over his 10 seasons (638 games) in the majors, Rosales has played every infield position and 13 games in the outfield.

Florimon, 31, is listed as an outfielder but he has mostly played shortstop, including one season (2013) as the starter for Minnesota. He has bounced between the majors and minors since, including last year in the Phillies’ organization. His career major league average is .209.

Flaherty bats left, Rosales right and Florimon is a switch-hitter.

The Phillies also have versatile infielder Heiker Meneses among the nonroster players coming to camp. Meneses, 26, who played parts of five seasons with the Portland Sea Dogs (2011-14, ’17), has no major league experience. Another former Sea Dogs (and Red Sox) infielder coming to Clearwater as a nonroster player is third baseman Will Middlebrooks. He was in the Rangers’ organization last year.


If Flaherty is not added to the major league roster, he did not speculate his next move.

“There is a reason why each player has representation with an agent. I try not to pay attention to any of that,” Flaherty said.

“I know it sounds cliche, but you take it one day at a time. It’s all you can do.

“You start worrying about this, or worrying about that, it will eat you up.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.