The Phillies broke their silence today on Oregon State left-hander Ben Wetzler, but if you were hoping for anything particularly interesting, you are probably going to be disappointed.
“The Phillies did participate in the NCAA investigation and a ruling has been issued. We believe it is inappropriate to comment further on either the negotiation with the player or the action taken by the NCAA.”
Thanks for managing to release a statement that says absolutely nothing beyond the obvious, Phillies. Well done.
Wetzler was suspended yesterday for 20 percent of the season — 11 games — for inappropriate contact with an agent, which is forbidden by the NCAA despite most draft prospects doing it anyway. The Phillies reportedly turned in Wetzler for his actions after they drafted him in the fifth round last June and were unable to work out a deal. Wetzler will be eligible to return to return to the field on March 3, so the suspension is a slap on the wrist for the player in the end, but this incident could still do real damage to the Phillies’ reputation in the industry.
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.