Ryan Ludwick and the Reds had a $5 million mutual option for 2013, but the outfielder turned down his half today to become a free agent.
It was an easy call for Ludwick, who turned his career around after back-to-back poor seasons by hitting .275 with 26 homers and an .877 OPS in 125 games. That was his best production since 2008, when Ludwick hit .299 with 37 homers and a .966 OPS in 152 games for the Cardinals.
Both sides have said they’re interested in working out a new deal that would keep Ludwick in Cincinnati, but with the free agent market relatively short on power bats his price tag could involve a multi-year deal at age 34.
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.