Red Sox express interest in Adam Everett

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WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that Boston has contacted Adam Everett to “to express some preliminary interest,” which makes sense given that this year’s crop of free-agent agent shortstops is so underwhelming that the Red Sox have considered asking Dustin Pedroia to switch positions.
Everett is one of the worst hitters in baseball, but he’s long been an elite defensive shortstop, was originally taken by the Red Sox in the first round of the 1998 draft, and will come far cheaper than fellow free agents like Marco Scutaro, Miguel Tejada, and Orlando Cabrera.
Scutaro is the cream of the shortstop crop, but would require a multi-year deal and giving up next year’s first-round pick, while Tejada and Cabrera may not even be capable of handling shortstop defensively at this point. Ultimate Zone Rating had Everett as 8.9 runs above average defensively in 116 games for the Tigers this season and per 150 games he’s rated 18.3 runs above average for his entire career.
Everett turns 33 years old soon, so counting on that same extraordinary defense is no sure thing, but even a slight decline would leave him as one of the better defenders in the league. Red Sox fans may have a tough time seeing it, but Everett is fairly similar to Alex Gonzalez in overall value. Everett is a career .245/.297/.351 hitter with excellent defense. Gonzalez is a career .247/.294/.395 hitter with very good defense.
While it may not sound appealing, a .650 OPS combined with great defense would make Everett close to an average all-around shortstop. And unlike the prominent free-agent options Everett is also cheap enough that signing him to a one-year deal wouldn’t preclude the Red Sox from handing the job back to Jed Lowrie at some point. Everett is certainly no one’s idea of a No. 1 target and the Red Sox already traded him away for Carl Everett back in 1999, but as fallbacks go he’s palatable and cheap.

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.