Perpetually injured right-hander Rich Harden didn’t pitch in the majors at all this year and hasn’t had an ERA below 5.00 since 2009, but he’s making a comeback at age 31.
Harden’s agent told Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com that he “feels great” and has already “had a lot of interest from clubs.”
For a long time Harden was able to maintain good raw stuff and strong results despite the never-ending arm problems, but in 2008 and 2009 his velocity was down and his ERAs were ugly.
With that said, Harden did manage 166 strikeouts in 175 innings during those two seasons and I’ve always thought some team should give him an extended opportunity in the bullpen to see if he can stay healthy and effective throwing just one inning at a time.
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.