Melky Cabrera

Report: Phillies, Royals involved in ‘serious’ Melky Cabrera talks

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Melky Cabrera’s last stint in the NL East was pretty much a disaster, but the Phillies are apparently looking to bring him back.  They’ve exchanged names in trade talks with the Royals, FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports.

Cabrera has been a very solid center fielder for the Royals this season, hitting .296/.333/.459 with 12 homers and 14 steals in 405 at-bats.  It’s a big turnaround from a 2010 season in which he hit .255/.317/.354 with four homers and seven steals in 458 at-bats for the Braves.

If they can’t land Carlos Beltran, the Phillies may well settle for an outfielder who can back up Shane Victorino in center and help out in the corners against lefties.  Cabrera, though, isn’t particularly well suited for such a role.  He’s not a stellar center fielder, and while he’s a switch-hitter, he’s been considerably weaker against left-handed pitching in his career (.684 OPS, compared to .735 against righties).

Morosi says no deal is particularly close at the moment.  Cabrera, though, likely will be moved prior to the July 31 deadline.  The Royals need to clear room for Lorenzo Cain, a product of the Zack Greinke deal currently hitting .319/.385/.525 at Triple-A Omaha.

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.