Ryan Ludwick's "terse meeting" with manager Tony La Russa preceded trade to Padres

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I wrote yesterday that the Cardinals’ decision to trade Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook struck me as odd given the team’s apparent need for offense and Ludwick’s strong production for the past four years, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch sheds some interesting light on what may have motivated the move behind the scenes.
According to Strauss “hours before” the trade “Ludwick voiced concerns over his choppy playing time during a terse meeting with manager Tony La Russa.” General manager John Mozeliak admitted that “there was already some level of frustration” from Ludwick regarding La Russa regularly keeping him out of the lineup following his stint on the disabled list with a calf injury.
Mozeliak and La Russa both downplayed the role that frustration and the subsequent “terse meeting” played in the trade, with La Russa stressing that the move was “motivated by our chance to win this year” and “if we could have gotten Westbrook and kept Luddy, that would have been the best of both worlds.”

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.