Colby Rasmus

Rays, Red Sox made offers for Colby Rasmus

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That according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss, who has been on top of the Colby Rasmus rumors since they started.

Strauss reports that the Cardinals turned down the Rays’ offer of right-hander Jeff Niemann and reliever J.P. Howell for Rasmus and that they instead held out for either James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson.

Which sounds about right.  Niemann has been on a nice roll lately, having allowed four earned runs in his last four starts.  However, he’s battled arm problems the last two years and he certainly can’t match Edwin Jackson when it comes to stuff.  Howell, a top-notch lefty reliever a couple of years ago, missed 2010 and has a 9.17 ERA in 17 2/3 innings this year since returning from shoulder surgery.

One would think something could have been worked out if the Rays were especially motivated.  The Cardinals may not have had any great desire for B.J. Upton, but he could have been flipped to a third team for someone the Rays could have used here.  Also, the Rays could have parted with Kyle Farnsworth, who has been a more dominant right-hander out of the pen than Octavio Dotel this year.

Strauss doesn’t know what the Red Sox offered, but it’s safe to assume Boston’s proposal was more prospect based, while the Cardinals are very much in win-now mode.  Rasmus would have stepped in as the new long-term right fielder for the Red Sox, making Josh Reddick expendable.  Reddick, though, fits a lot better in right field than in center, so he may not have been of a whole lot of help to St. Louis right away.

What is interesting here is that the new-school GMs seemed to be much more interested in Rasmus than the old-school ones, who may have been putting a lot more weight into the talk of his attitude problems and lack of coachability.  The Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox are all run by much more sabermetrically inclined GMs, and while the White Sox did reportedly make a run at Rasmus, using Jackson and Matt Thornton, GM Kenny Williams eventually decided not to pay what seemed to be a very fair price for the 24-year-old center fielder.

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.