Yesterday Matthew ran down the immediate possibilities for the now-depleted Yankees bullpen. One of them he mentioned was Kevin Whelan, who has a 30/6 K/BB ratio and a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s closer this season. That possibility is now a reality as the Yankees have called him up.
One would hope, if one cares about how the Yankees fare, that Whelan will provide enough stability to where Brian Cashman could focus on starters, rather than relievers, at the trade deadline. Because really, even if the bullpen is an acute problem at the moment. it’s the rotation that will need more help over the course of the next couple of months and will go farther in deciding if the Yankees can win the east or not. Get a solid starter and the pressure is off the pen a bit, ya know?
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.