It’s well past noon and we haven’t checked in on the Kevin Youkilis rumor mill. Time to rectify that.
CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam has the goods:
Five teams — the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and a fifth unidentified team — are evolving.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks, a second source revealed, while once involved in talks for the infielder, are no longer part of the mix.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted late Saturday night that the Dodgers were only engaging in “minimal contact” with the Boston front office. He also called the Indians a “longshot.” So we might be able to go ahead and rule out those two teams as well.
Youkilis is in the Red Sox starting lineup on Sunday against the Braves, batting sixth and playing third base. Will Middlebrooks — the sudden star who has rendered Youk expendable — is serving as Boston’s DH.
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.