All along the thinking has been that Michael Cuddyer wants to a) stay with the Twins and b) land a three-year deal. According to Jon Heyman, the Twins have done their part, offering the right-handed-hitting outfielder a cool $25 million through 2014. Cuddyer, though, has yet to accept.
With Cuddyer’s return in limbo, the Twins are talking to their backup option, Josh Willingham. Willingham offers a better bet, but he’s not so versatile and he comes with durability concerns. Willingham, likewise, wants a three-year deal, and while he’s a better bet than Cuddyer to be productive in 2014, his history of back problems would make him a risky signing for three years.
One would think Cuddyer will end up accepting the Twins’ offer if $25 million is really where there at. His preference for Minnesota has never seemed like an act, and it’s not as though his market is all that strong. The Phillies pursued him at first, but they’ve backed off, and while a lot of people have tried to propose the Red Sox as a match, it’s doubtful Boston would give him that kind of contract.
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.