Brad Ausmus announces retirement after 18 seasons

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As expected, Brad Ausmus announced his retirement yesterday after 18 seasons in the majors and over 15,000 innings logged behind the plate, saying: “I’m ready to stop playing. I just don’t feel like I cant contribute every day.”
Ausmus struggled to stay healthy in two seasons as Russell Martin’s backup with the Dodgers, but was once among the most durable catchers in baseball. He started at least 100 games and caught at least 1,000 innings every season from 1997 to 2006, winning three Gold Glove awards and making his lone All-Star team in 1999.
A former 47th-round pick and Dartmouth graduate, Ausmus earned a reputation for being one of the smartest players in baseball and has long been viewed as a potential manager. He served as the Dodgers’ acting manager Friday and told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that he may have managerial aspirations at some point.
Ausmus ranks 13th all time among catchers with 7,101 plate appearances spread over 1,971 games for four different teams, with his best seasons coming for the Tigers in 1999 when he hit .275/.365/.415 while setting career-highs in on-base percentage (.365), slugging percentage (.415), OPS (.779), homers (9), doubles (25), and RBIs (54).

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.