Last week Jose Molina was said to be negotiating a deal with the Rays and now Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times reports that an agreement “appears imminent.”
Molina would back up John Jaso, essentially replacing fellow right-handed-hitting free agent Kelly Shoppach. Molina lacks Shoppach’s power and ability to knock around left-handed pitching, but he remains a big asset defensively at age 36.
Molina started 48 games for the Blue Jays this year, earning $1.2 million, and Smith speculates that he’ll get a one-year deal for similar money from the Rays. Tampa Bay previously declined a $3.2 million option on Shoppach to make him a free agent.
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.