Reds GM Walt Jocketty announced Wednesday morning that he plans to exercise Brandon Phillips’ $12 million club option for the 2012 season. But what happens after that? Will the All-Star second baseman be allowed to hit the free agent market?
Our guess, based off Phillips’ comments Wednesday afternoon to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, is yes.
“This is my last contract,” Phillips said. “There is no homeboy hookup. I just want to be paid what I am worth.”
Phillips is one of the best defensive second basemen in the major leagues and has posted a .294/.346/.452 batting line with 18 home runs and 81 RBI in 144 games this season, so “what I am worth” is likely to be a hefty sum. The Reds are far from broke, but their payroll typically ranks in the bottom half among baseball’s 30 franchises. If Phillips is not going to be giving the small-market club a hometown (er, “homeboy”) discount, there’s a good chance Cincinnati will be outbid.
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.