Jack Morris

Jack Morris + Mariano Rivera = Bert Blyleven

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This is fun: Bill at the Platoon Advantage engaged in a little alternate history exercise. He pretended that, rather than retire, Jack Morris came back in 1995 as a knuckleball-throwing closer and tacked the entire career of Mariano Rivera onto his career stat line. Aside from that being the most awesome thing that would have ever happened, it also would have given Morris a career line that — minus the saves — would be pretty darn close to Bert Blyleven’s.

Again, in case that is not 100% clear: only if you add on a 15-run like Mariano Rivera’s to Morris career does he begin to compare to Blyleven in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched.

I realize this kind of comparison is sorta out there. Indeed, in even making it, Bill kinda sounds like Jayson Stark on a day he let his research staff go home early.  But it’s also instructive in the same way that it was instructive for your junior high school science teacher to take you out to the parking lot and have two students hold marbles at either end in an effort demonstrate just how great the distance is between the planets or whatever.  We think Morris is close to being a Hall of Fame pitcher, but once you look at it closely, you realize just how far from being one he truly is.

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.