Garrett Jones and the Pirates had an arbitration hearing yesterday and the three-person panel has ruled in favor of the team, meaning he’ll be paid $2.25 million this season instead of the $2.5 million he requested.
Going through with a hearing over a $250,000 gap is unusual, but Jones is arbitration eligible for the first time at age 30 and after a decade spent in the minors he may have wanted to squeeze out every cent he could. Or try to, at least.
Back when Jones was a minor leaguer in the Twins farm system he rarely produced like someone destined for the majors. He’s been better than expected, but has hit just .245 with a .312 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage in 306 games since his out-of-nowhere rookie campaign. Those are sub par numbers for a first baseman/corner outfielder and it’s hard to imagine the Pirates keeping him around next season with another big raise due.
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.