More from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
The Yankees and Rangers are locked in a battle for left-hander Cliff Lee, this offseason’s top free agent. And it sounds like the Yanks may strike first with an offer.
Cafardo reports that Brian Cashman and Co. are preparing a proposal worth around $115 million-$120 million over five years. The Rangers plan to match that and the numbers will go up from there. Cafardo says that the Nationals are also in the hunt and have been “aggressive” thus far, but this feels like a two-team race.
Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts for the AL Champion Rangers this year, fanning 185 batters while walking only 18. There was a report in mid-November that Lee dislikes the Texas heat. And then there was that issue with Yankees fans harassing Lee’s wife during the ALCS. Believe what you want, but we’re thinking he’s simply going to chase the most lucrative deal.
For reference, CC Sabathia landed a seven-year, $161 million deal from the Yanks two offseasons ago.
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.