An intriguing report from ESPN’s Buster Olney:
Rival executives getting signals that the Reds won’t shop Joey Votto — but that they are fully prepared to listen to offers.
Votto is owed a bargain $9.5 million salary in 2012, but that number jumps sharply to $17 million in 2013 and the Canadian-born first baseman will be a free agent heading into 2014. If the Reds are already resigned to the fact that they won’t be able to afford a long-term extension, they might as well get max value for Votto before he gets a whiff of the open market.
Votto batted .309 with a .947 OPS, 29 home runs and 103 RBI in 161 games this season. He posted a 1.024 OPS, 37 home runs and 113 RBI over 150 games in 2010 to earn National League MVP honors.
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.