Former White Sox (and Yankees and Rockies) pitcher Jose Contreras is one of those over-35-free agents. Rather than wait around to see who calls — or doesn’t — he’s working out for Japanese teams. The Softbank Hawks, specifically. The Hawks are generally a strong team — made the playoffs last year after a couple of seasons in the wilderness — and Contreras would, by far, be the biggest name among former Major Leaguers on the club.
Contreras always kind of reminded me an NPB pitcher — or what I sort of imagine NPB pitchers to be like — due to that quirky-herky-jerky delivery of his. There’s a lot of deception to his game — weird, changing arm angles and stuff — and he can cause timing problems for batters. Reminds me of Hideo Nomo or something.
Point is, I could see Contreras doing well in Japan simply because he has forgotten more about being crafty than most guys ever know.
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.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
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.