Ken Rosenthal takes a look at the free agent class as it’s currently constituted and observes that Carl Crawford may wait to sign — possibly until after Cliff Lee signs — in order ensure the maximum number of teams are in on the bidding, including the Yankees.
I don’t think the Yankees will ever be a serious bidder for Crawford, simply because I think they’re happy with their outfield the way it is. It seems to me that the real competition for Crawford will be between Anaheim and Boston. Luckily for Crawford, the biggest competition in the market — Jayson Werth, repped by Scott “The Human Free Agency Rain Delay” Boras — isn’t likely to sign any time soon himself, thereby keeping the options open.
If something weird happens, though, and Werth signs quickly, Crawford may find that he only has one or two real options out there willing to pay what he’s looking for. Not a big risk, I don’t think — Crawford is, to use some hacky agent’s term — a special player. But I do hope his negotiating strategy isn’t premised on getting the Yankees involved.
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.