Rivera spitball

Can MLB do anything about video of an alleged spitball?

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In the wake of the alleged Jose Valverde spitball thing, the first question many people asked me was whether MLB can or would do anything about it.  My guess, based on recent history, is that they probably can do something but probably won’t either, for a couple of reasons.

The history: in game 3 of the 2009 ALCS, there was video that kinda maybe sorta showed Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball. After that began to circulate, MLB reviewed it and issued a statement calling the video “inconclusive” and letting the matter rest.  While MLB discipline is nothing if not inconsistent, that implies that, had the video been more conclusive, they could have and would have done something about it.

I can’t find the video of the Rivera incident, but I do remember it and my memory of it was that it was far more ambiguous than Valverde’s thing, so perhaps baseball will review this one too and do something about it.  It’s possible, however, that even if they do think it’s conclusive that they do nothing to Valverde for fear of wading into — shock! — more replay and second-guessing of umpires and all of that.  As it stands, I can’t remember an incident that did not get noted on the field in some way during the game that later led to discipline based on video alone.

In any event, that’s the context. Baseball should probably look into it based on their looking into the Rivera thing from 2009.  But it’s doubtful that anything — except maybe a memo to the umpires to watch Valverde more closely going forward — will happen as a result.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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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.