Very cool news: Friend of the blog Scott Simkus and his partner in crime Gary Ashwill have entered into a deal with Sean Forman to build a Negro League and Cuban League database for Baseball-Reference.com. As you’ll recall, Simkus is the man behind the Negro Leagues version of Strat-O-Matic which was just released to very good notices, so he’s perfectly positioned for this.
So good for Scott on the gig. And great for us that we’ll soon — relatively soon anyway — have Negro Leagues and Cuban League stats on Baseball-Reference. Your ability to waste time on that most wonderful website will one day be exponentially greater.
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.