Joe Saunders is on the disabled list with an ankle injury and when he’s ready to return the Rangers may not have a rotation spot for him. That means the veteran left-hander could shift to the bullpen except he’s very much against that idea, telling Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:
For me it’s all about starting and helping this team win games as a starter. It’s what I signed to do and what they signed me to do.
Technically true, although in reality what the Rangers signed Saunders to do was provide some emergency rotation depth while a bunch of their starters were banged up and now that’s not really needed.
As for the whole “helping this team win games as a starter” thing, Saunders has a 5.35 ERA in 33 starts since the beginning of last season and a 4.42 ERA in 158 starts dating all the way back to 2009. Considering those numbers and his extreme lefty/righty splits a move to the bullpen might actually help prolong the 32-year-old southpaw’s career.
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.