Yes, it’s commerce, but ESPN’s commercials often stand out on their own. The latest: Clay Buchholz, Nick Swisher and some dude sitting in a living room watching a ballgame. Buchholz and the dude start singing “Sweet Caroline” and then try to throw it to Swisher, who responds with a “no way, dude.” You can see it here. I’ll admit I chuckled. If they don’t run it into the ground and, instead, do lots of different ones including players of other teams I’ll consider it to be an enjoyable and inspired little campaign.
Still, it would have been better if Swisher had harangued the other two about just how stupid everyone singing “Sweet Caroline” is, followed by Buchholz going off on “Cotton Eyed Joe,” and the thing concluded with a knock-down, dragout fistfight that leaves both of them on the 60-day disabled list. Final shot: Tim Wakefield and Randy Winn laughing over their new full-time jobs.
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.