Most assumed that after losing free agent righty Zack Greinke to the Dodgers, the Rangers would shift their focus (and winter budget) back toward Josh Hamilton. But that might not be the case.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers “still want to trade for” Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. Which would mean letting Hamilton walk and going after one of the other free agent starters or spinning another trade for a front-line guy like R.A. Dickey or James Shields.
Upton batted .280/.355/.430 with 17 home runs, 18 stolen bases, 24 doubles and 67 RBI across 628 plate appearances this past season for Arizona.
The 25-year-old is under contract through the 2015 campaign for a total of $38.5 million.
The Snakes are known to want a shortstop in return and the Rangers don’t want to surrender either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, which is why a multi-team trade has recently been explored.
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.