After a couple of weekend reports about B.J. Upton, we hear today that the Phillies are talking to the Rays about inquiring the lesser of the Upton brothers. That’s from Jen Royle, who says that the Nats are still interested as well.
Upton is having a pretty terrible year so far, hitting .229/.310/.395, but he plays good defense and, as has been said so many time, has the potential to be so much better than he is. He certainly wouldn’t be a difference-maker like Carlos Beltran, but given how comfy the Phillies’ lead is at the moment, their biggest need isn’t a difference-maker as much as it is felxibility and freshness in the second half and all of that.
And hey, if Upton explodes for a month or two like he’s capable of doing, all the better.
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.