Joakim Soria missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and today the Royals declined their $7.5 million option on the once-elite closer, making him a free agent.
Soria will hit the open market after receiving a $750,000 buyout, although Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that it’s possible the Royals will re-sign him at a lower salary.
Soria was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2007-2011, saving 160 games and throwing 315 innings with a 2.40 ERA and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He may have to settle for an incentive-laden one-year contract, although if a team wants to take the risk of offering Soria a multi-year they could end up getting a huge bargain in the 28-year-old right-hander.
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.