MLB Network announced this morning that it has hired Ryan Dempster as a studio analyst. Dempster, the press release says “will appear across MLB Network’s studio programming.” He’ll make his debut tomorrow during High Heat with Christopher Russo. He’ll be the one not screaming like a maniac and acting as if his volume and faux-exasperation provides a good substitute for insight.
Dempster announced back in February that, while he is not officially retiring as a player, he’s sitting out this his season due to “physical reasons and his desire to spend more time with his kids.” One suspects that taking this gig makes the one-year off a lot more of a permanent thing.
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.