Dare to dream, Cleveland:
That brings us to free agents Kevin Millwood and Bruce Chen. The Indians have talked to agent Scott Boras about both starters. It’s hard to imagine Chen, 33, signing a minor-league deal after he went 12-7 with Kansas City last year. Millwood, 36, is coming off the worst season of his career, 4-16 with Baltimore with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts. In 2005, he went 9-11 with the Indians, leading the AL with a 2.86 ERA. He turned that one year into a four-year, $60 million deal with Texas.
Each of those guys would probably help Cleveland, actually, what with how thin that roster is. But with Paul Hoynes speculating that the Indians spent their entire free agent budget on Austin Kearns — all $1.3 million of it — he thinks that the Tribe could only offer Chen or Millwood minor league deals. Millwood might go for it. Chen probably wouldn’t.
Either way, I swear: I will make it a point to report any and all optimistic news about the Indians this year. Because, brother, do their fans need it.
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.