Get used to hearing the name Masahiro Tanaka this offseason. He’s likely to get huge money to come to the U.S. If he does, his last act in Japan was something special.
As we noted over the weekend, Tanaka’s record unbeaten streak finally came to an end on Saturday, as the Rakuten Golden Eagles lost 4-2 to the Yomiuri Giants in Game 6 of the Japan Series. Tanaka threw a crazy 160 pitches in that game. So he was dead for Game 7, right?
Wrong: yesterday he took the mound in relief and threw 15 more pitches to get the save in Game 7, giving the Golden Eagles their first ever Japan Series title.
This guy finished the regular season at 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183/32 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. His 160 pitches notwithstanding, he’s gonna be the biggest draw of them all next year, assuming he makes the jump.
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.