The Washington Nationals are talking to John Smoltz, and both sides seem interested in doing a deal. The only holdup is that Smoltz would rather play for a contender, but I think we’ve passed the point in Smoltz’s career where he has a ton of choices in the matter.
You have to think that a team like the Nats — looking for credibility and looking for someone to play Crash Davis to Stephen Strasburg’s Nuke LaLoosh — would offer Smoltz (a) more money; and (b) a better chance to start than to come out of the pen. Smoltz likes both of those things, and given that he has already spent more time in the playoffs than anyone this side of red white and blue bunting, you think he might take the lower pressure gig.
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.