John Kruk left ESPN at the end of the season when his contract was up. Matt Stairs left the CSNPhilly broadcast crew at the end of the season when he was hired to be the Phillies hitting coach. Ergo, CSN’s Jim Salisbury reports, Kruk will join the team’s television broadcast crew on CSNPhilly during the 2017 season.
Not a bad move, both for Kruk and for Phillies fans. Kruk wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea while he was with ESPN, but he was always affable and he was way, way better when he was not a merely joking around and reminiscing with Curt Schilling as opposed to talking about the game at hand. Doing a game night-in-night-out as opposed to weekly will will likely curtail his generalist tendencies and even if he does reminisce a bit more, it’s more appropriate for a local broadcast for the team for which he starred than it was for a national broadcast.
In other news, if this pattern holds up, Rico Brogna, Jim Thome and Ryan Howard are next in line to be Phillies commentators.
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.