While the Phillies are close to wrapping up a new contract with closer Ryan Madson, they are also moving aggressively on another one of their primary targets in free agency.
According to Tom Sredenschek of FOX 29 in Philadelphia, Michael Cuddyer was in town today for a meet-and-greet with the Phillies.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com confirms Sredenschek’s report while adding that Cuddyer toured Citizens Bank Park and had lunch with Phillies officials. He also met manager Charlie Manuel, who flew in from Florida.
We learned over the weekend that the Phillies were “in serious pursuit” of Cuddyer while Jim Thome said during his press conference Sunday that he has done his part to make a recruiting pitch.
Cuddyer, who turns 33 in March, batted .284/.346/.459 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI and an .805 OPS over 584 plate appearances this season. He appears to be an ideal fit for the Phillies, who could use him in the outfield and at first base if Ryan Howard misses the start of the 2012 season following surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He also has experience at second base and the hot corner.
Cuddyer’s asking price isn’t exactly clear, but he reportedly turned down a two-year, $16 million extension with the Twins in August. He qualifies as a Type A free agent this winter, so the Phillies would surrender their first-round pick for 2012 (No. 31 overall) to Minnesota if an agreement is reached.
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.