The Detroit Tigers are making a bit of noise today regarding their bullpen situation.
First, Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets that they have avoided arbitration with reliever Joel Zumaya, signing him to a one-year contract at undisclosed terms (he made $735,000 last season).
Zumaya, a strikeout and walk machine who battled injuries all of last season — and once hurt himself playing Guitar Hero — figures to be the leading candidate to land Detroit’s closer job after Fernando Rodney wisely took an insane offer to join the Angels.
Don’t pencil Zumaya into that spot just yet, however. Jon Paul Morosi at Fox reports that the Tigers “are believed to have the biggest current offer out to free-agent closer Jose Valverde.”
He also writes that the sides aren’t close to an agreement, though. Despite leading the NL in saves in both 2007 and 2008, the market just hasn’t been there for Valverde this offseason, so the Tigers might be in good shape to land him if they just stay patient.
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.