ESPN The Magazine conducted a survey of a handful of MLB players and asked their attitudes about A-Rod, his suspension and the whole drama with Ryan Dempster plunking him last week. You may be surprised at the results.
Go read the specific questions asked, the breakdown and some select quotes from the anonymous respondents, but the upshot is that way more players think less of Dempster than A-Rod, the vast majority have no issue with him playing pending his appeal and recognize his right to do so as a matter of collective bargaining. A much larger number than you might think thinks Bud Selig is out of line in giving A-Rod a 211-game suspension.
Is it scientific? Nope. But I think it’s more reflective of player views than any given column in which the columnist — who already believes A-Rod is History’s Greatest Monster — finds a player or two who will go on record echoing those sentiments.
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.