Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez plans to fight the Biogenesis charges head-on

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Given that every report on the matter claims that Major League Baseball has overwhelming evidence of Alex Rodriguez’s drug use one might assume that his defense would center on the severity of the penalty as opposed to the charges on the merits. If one did so, however, one might be wrong. From ESPN:

MLB suspended Rodriguez for 211 games earlier this month for what baseball alleged was his use of banned substances over “multiple years,” among other violations.

Rodriguez’s attorney, David Cornwell, said Tuesday in an interview with New York radio station WFAN that Rodriguez’s legal team will challenge that allegation during its appeal of the suspension.

“We are challenging that there are multiple violations of the (Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment) Program,” Cornwell said.

Lawyers say things all the time and those things may or may not hew to reality once the proceedings open. But given the posture I feel like we can conclude that the A-Rod arbitration is going to be very, very long.

But hey: at least we’ll have something to do during the long, cold offseason!

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.