Join the Yankees Universe . . . now only $19.95!

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The Red Sox may have a nation, but the Yankees have a whole universe:

The New York Yankees today announced the creation of Yankees
Universe, an official fan club granting members exclusive benefits,
unique access and special savings. Membership privileges extend to all
aspects of the fan experience, including exclusive Web site advantages,
outstanding discounts on official Yankees Clubhouse merchandise, and
Fast Track entrance perks on game day, all for only $19.95 for a
membership valid through the end of the year. Fans may sign up for the
club on MLB.com or Yankees.com . . .

. . . “A membership to Yankees Universe gives fans the chance to
experience a world of new and unique team essentials,” said Christy
Lee, Director of Yankees Fan Club. “We are proud to offer Yankees
Universe to the best fans in the world.”

I like how they went straight to eleven with this one. I mean, how easy
would it have been to try to compete with the Sox by going with
“Yankees Nation” or to even trump them with “Yankees World” or “Yankees
Galaxy?” “Screw that,” they said. “We’re going straight to the
universe! Let them top that!”

Let’s see . . . the Yankees are (a) trying to instantly replicate
something that, in other instances takes decades to cultivate; and (b)
they’re charging for the privilege. How very . . . Yankees of them.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.