Aramis Ramirez is all but certain to become a free agent once the Cubs decline his $16 million option for 2012 and the 33-year-old third baseman told Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that he’ll be seeking a multi-year deal:
If I hit the marketplace I should end up with a two- or three-year deal. The reason is, there aren’t a lot of third basemen available this offseason. But if [the Cubs] approach me, I’m sure we can get something done. But probably not for one year.
That certainly isn’t surprising for a player coming off a five-year, $75 million contract, but Ramirez getting another big multi-year deal would have seemed impossible in the middle of last season.
However, he bounced back from a terrible first half to hit very well after the All-Star break last season and has followed that up with pretty typical Aramis Ramirez production this year, hitting .306 with 25 homers and an .871 OPS in 139 games. His age and defense make it risky to commit to Ramirez for multiple seasons, but he’ll be one of the best hitters on the market after topping an .850 OPS for the seventh time in eight years.
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.