A source told SI.com’s Jon Heyman that Hunter Pence was told he was being pulled from Thursday’s game due to a trade, only to get left in the game afterwards.
Judging by Heyman’s followup tweet, there’s a suspicion that Astros management agreed to a deal and ownership vetoed it.
If that’s the case, Houston’s in a heap of trouble right now. GM Ed Wade has made his share of bad deals, but he’s in a great negotiating position here and it sounds like he’s going to be getting plenty of talent in return if he deals Pence. If ownership is really tying his hands here, then it’s making a big mistake. The Astros are going nowhere next year, and Pence may never have more trade value than he does right now.
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.