Vin Mazzaro

Pirates get Zach Stewart from Red Sox, Vin Mazzaro and Clint Robinson from Royals

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Pittsburgh made a pair of minor trades, acquiring right-hander Zach Stewart from the Red Sox for a player to be named later and getting right-hander Vin Mazzaro and first baseman Clint Robinson from the Royals for minor leaguer pitchers Luis Santos and Luis Rico.

Boston got Stewart from Chicago in the Kevin Youkilis trade, but designated him for assignment last week. He has a 6.82 ERA in 103 career innings, but Stewart has a decent track record in the minors and could emerge as a useful back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever.

Mazzaro is a similar story in that the Royals got him from the A’s for David DeJesus and then designated him for assignment following a 6.72 ERA in 72 innings. He doesn’t have much upside, but gives the Pirates some more pitching depth.

As a 27-year-old first baseman Robinson was never going to get a chance in Kansas City behind Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer, but he’s consistently crushed minor-league pitching  and offers 20-homer power with good strike zone control. Robinson hit .309 with a .396 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage in two seasons at Triple-A, so it’s nice to see the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder go somewhere he might actually get an opportunity.

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.