Blaine Boyer Rumors

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Monday

With teams making decisions on the final piece of their Opening Day rosters, especially regarding Article XX(B) players, we’ll keep tabs on the day’s moves to add non-roster invitees to the 40-man.

Right-handed relievers, somewhat unsurprisingly, dominate today’s news in this arena:

  • Lefty specialist Joe Thatcher has been added to the Astros‘ 40-man roster, Rosenthal reports on Twitter. The Article XX(B) veteran will receive a $1MM salary and can add an additional $1.3MM through incentives. If he can return to form, Thatcher could be quite a nice addition to a Houston pen that was an area targeted heavily for upgrades this offseason.
  • Fellow non-roster invitee Roberto Hernandez will also make the club, the Astros have announced. As MLBTR originally reported, Hernandez will earn $2.65MM on the year. The 34-year-old joined the fold in Houston late in the spring, but provides a sturdy and versatile presence as the club seeks to take the next step this year.

Earlier Updates

  • The Twins have announced that righty Blaine Boyer is now a member of the team’s major league roster. Boyer’s deal will pay him $750K at the big league level and includes up to $100K in incentives tied to appearances, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. MLBTR’s Zach Links recently spoke with Boyer about his interesting professional journey.
  • Likewise, right-handed Carlos Villanueva has been added to the Cardinals‘ 40-man roster, the club announced. That means that the veteran swingman will be entitled to a $2MM salary this year with St. Louis. Villanueva, 31, has racked up 863 2/3 MLB innings in 76 starts and over 300 relief appearances. Though he had only a 4.64 ERA last year with the Cubs, Villanueva’s peripherals earned him strong marks from ERA estimators.
  • The Indians have informed righty Anthony Swarzak that he will make the pen, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune tweets. Though it does not appear he has been officially added to the 40-man, that will need to occur. The 29-year-old has a 4.48 career ERA in 439 2/3 frames at the major league level, most of them coming from the pen. Swarzak will take home a $900K salary and can earn up to $350K in incentives.
  • Similarly, the Cubs have told southpaw Phil Coke that he will be on the club, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Coke had exercised his opt-out clause on Friday when he was not added to the 40-man at that time, says Rosenthal. Now, it appears he will receive the $2.25MM (and up to $900K in bonuses) that his deal allows; indeed, the team has now announced that his contract was selected.

Twins Outright Stephen Pryor

The Twins have outrighted right-hander Stephen Pryor to Triple-A Rochester, tweets Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Twins’ 40-man roster now stands at 38, which, Miller notes, will allow the team to add a pair of non-roster invitees, presumably reliever Blaine Boyer and outfielder Shane Robinson.

The Twins acquired the 25-year-old from the Mariners last July in exchange for Kendrys Morales. Pryor, who underwent surgery to repair his latissimus dorsi muscle in 2013, excelled at Triple-A for the Twins after the trade recording a 0.89 ERA and 9.7 K/9 in 14 relief appearances covering 20 1/3 innings, but demonstrated a lack of command as evidenced by his 7.1 BB/9 rate.


Blaine Boyer And His Personal Entourage

In March, it’s not uncommon to see over-the-hill veterans in camp looking to extend their careers for just one more season.  By the same token you don’t normally see marketable 30-year-old players call it quits, but that’s what reliever Blaine Boyer did three years ago.  Boyer didn’t fall out of love with baseball, but he was decidedly heartsick and missing his family back home.  When the right-hander told his wife Ginsey that he wanted to retire and potentially leave a mountain of money on the table, she understood the way he felt and the reasons behind his decision.

I grew up in a household that was broken early.  My parents divorced when I was three and there was just so much inconsistency there,” Boyer told MLBTR in the Twins’ dugout prior to their afternoon contest against the Phillies.  “I’ve had to live with that for a long time.  I was coming and going and I wasn’t consistently there for my boys and my wife and that brought back a lot of what I went through when I was little, so she understood that.  It wasn’t about me not wanting to play baseball anymore, it was much deeper.

While Boyer’s sabbatical from the game effectively amounted to a boxer’s retirement, he was confident that he was done with baseball for good.  When the pull of the sport was too strong for Boyer to resist, he and his wife came up with an unorthodox game plan: she and their two young sons would travel with Boyer on the road as much as humanly possible throughout the season.

Boyer, 33, feels as though he has found the right balance between being an active parent and doing what he feels he was put on this planet to do professionally.

The boys, they’re 3 and 4 now, they’re at the point where they’re kind of expecting baseball season and they love it.  My wife especially, she loves the atmosphere of the games, she loves sitting back and eating a hot dog, watching the boys and the seventh inning stretch and it’s just so much fun for her to be their mother watching them watch their daddy,” Boyer said.  “For me, I’m able to experience this as their father and my wife always being with me, it’s kind of like the Boyer family adventure and it’s a blessing.”

For the right-hander, traveling with the family entourage means that he doesn’t have to live with regret in the present or in the future.

I feel like God has given me the ability to throw a baseball and he hasn’t given that many people this kind of ability.  So, when I have to answer to him about the gifts he has given me, I don’t want to have to say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry I wasted that one.’  On top of that, I didn’t want to be 60 years old and thinking what might have been,” Boyer explained.  “So, the whole no regrets mindset and still playing baseball gives me the opportunity stand up and talk about family and talk about God.  Helping people understand my relationship with Jesus Christ is important to me.”

Boyer has taken his family with him all over the map, even internationally in 2013 when he pitched for Japan’s Hanshin Tigers.  Boyer, who bristled at the thought of takoyaki and some of the country’s more adventurous cuisine, experienced a bit of culture shock, but he also fell in love with Japan’s baseball culture and its people.  It also helped that friend Jason Standridge was pitching with Hanshin and, of course, his family was by his side.

For now, the Boyer family adventure has landed the traveling clan in Minnesota, but that could change in a matter of days.  The reliever has a March 30th opt-out clause that can be exercised if he has not been added to the 40-man roster by that time.  Boyer doesn’t know how that will play out yet, but he’ll have his own personal cheering section with him no matter where he winds up.



AL Central Notes: Boyer, Hanrahan, Chamberlain

Twins righty Blaine Boyer hung up his spikes after 2012, in spite of good health and a live arm, in large part to spend more time with his family, as he tells Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. But his clan has made it work since, aided by busy travel arrangements, and Boyer is in camp with Minnesota after a strong campaign last year with the Padres. His minor league deal with the Twins includes a late March out clause, Miller also reports.

Here are a few more notes from the AL Central:

  • Tigers reliever Joel Hanrahan has seemingly stalled out in his comeback attempt, as Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. Since going in for a Tommy John procedure in the middle of the 2013 campaign, Hanrahan has been unable to get his elbow back into form. Soreness has kept him from moving onto the mound this spring, and he has already received at least one suggestion that he undergo a second TJ surgery. There appears to be at least some question at this point whether the 33-year-old will ever return to a big league pen, let alone contribute to the club in 2015.
  • While Hanrahan tries to figure out his situation, fellow Tigers righty Joba Chamberlain discussed his recent free agent process with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. His son’s connection with Detroit proved a strong inducement for the righty, who said he left money on the table to return. Among the teams with interest in him were the Rangers, Dodgers, Royals, and Brewers, some of which were willing to pay him in the range of his $2.5MM salary from 2014.

Twins Sign Blaine Boyer To Minor League Deal

1:42pm: Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has some further detail on Boyer’s deal (Twitter links). Boyer will earn $750K if he makes the big league roster, with an additional $100K available via performance bonuses. His contract also contains a March 30 opt-out clause that can be exercised if he has not been added to the 40-man roster.

10:28am: The Twins have signed right-hander Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, team director of communications Dustin Morse announced (on Twitter).

The 33-year-old Boyer returned to the Majors for the first time since 2011 last season, firing 40 1/3 solid innings out of the Padres’ bullpen. Though he averaged just 6.5 K/9, Boyer showed strong control, averaging just 1.8 walks per nine. His fastball lost very little of its heat despite the two-year gap between big league stints, as he averaged a healthy 93.1 mph on the pitch. Despite his solid season, however, Boyer was outrighted by the Padres following the year. He had projected to earn $1MM in arbitration, via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

The Twins’ bullpen currently features All-Star closer Glen Perkins and several solid, albeit unspectacular setup men. Casey Fien and recent signee Tim Stauffer (another former Padre) will serve as right-handed options for new skipper Paul Molitor, while Brian Duensing and perhaps Caleb Thielbar will join Perkins as southpaws. Others in the mix include righties Ryan Pressly, Michael Tonkin and Lester Oliveros in addition to southpaws Logan Darnell and Aaron Thompson.


Minor Moves: Pena, Boyer, Gutierrez, Swarzak, Belisario, Kohn

Some minor moves from around the league…

  • Also outrighted today was Ramiro Pena of the Braves, per the MLB.com transactions page. The utility man was designated recently, presumably in large part due to his rising arbitration salary.
  • Righty Blaine Boyer (Padres), Anthony Swarzak (Twins), and Juan Gutierrez (Giants) have elected free agency rather than accepting outright assignments, also via the MLB transactions page.
  • The White Sox have outrighted righty Ronald Belisario, per the MLB.com transactions page. Belisario was designated recently to make room for the claim of reliever Onelki Garcia.
  • Likewise, the Rays have outrighted righty Michael Kohn. It has been an odd start to the offseason for Kohn, who was signed to a MLB deal before being designated within weeks by Tampa.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reported a number of new transactions in his weekly Minor League Transactions roundup on Monday. Of particular note is a crop of Phillies signings: catcher Koyie Hill, right-hander Paul Clemens, and infielders Chase d’Arnaud and Cord Phelps. Clemens gives them some pitching depth, as he’s totaled 98 innings with the Astros over the past two seasons, albeit with a 5.51 ERA.
  • Also from Eddy, the Reds have inked outfielder Brennan Boesch to a minor league contract. The 29-year-old Boesch hit .269/.330/.436 in 248 games with the Tigers from 2010-11, but since that time, he’s batted just .237/.277/.376 in 635 plate appearances with the Tigers, Yankees and Angels.
  • The Tigers have announced that outfielder Ezequiel Carrera has elected free agency rather than accepting an assignment to Triple-A after being outrighted (Twitter link). The 27-year-old hit .261/.301/.348 in 73 plate appearances with Detroit this season and is a lifetime .253/.305/.340 hitter in the Majors. Carrera hasn’t hit much in 478 big league PAs, but he brings some speed and solid baserunning to the table and is capable of handling all three outfield spots.

Padres Designate Boyer, Asencio For Assignment

The Padres announced that they have designated right-hander Blaine Boyer and outfielder Yeison Asencio for assignment.

Boyer, 33, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2011 this past season and pitched relatively well out of the San Diego ‘pen. The well-traveled veteran tallied a 3.57 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 42.5 percent ground-ball rate in 40 1/3 innings for manager Bud Black. Boyer has over five years of service time and projected to earn $1MM in arbitration (per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz), and the Padres instead opted to use that roster spot to protect themselves heading into the Rule 5 Draft.

Asencio, who turned 25 last Friday, batted a combined .291/.330/.433 with 15 homers and eight steals in 572 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A. Baseball America ranked him 24th among Padres farmhands in each of the past two offseasons, more recently noting that he’s a bad ball hitter with an aggressive approach and a very strong arm in right field.


Minor Moves: Ramirez, Brach, Newby, Buckner, Boyer, Lo

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s minor moves right here …

  • The Royals have signed catcher Max Ramirez to a minor league deal, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Ramirez, 29, was once a top-100 prospect with the Rangers, but has only seen 140 career MLB plate appearances (all with Texas). He was the primary backstop for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate from 2012-13, but posted an interesting .192/.382/.192 line in 68 plate appearance with the Reds’ top farm club this year before hitting the open market.
  • Two Somerset Patriots right-handers have been signed away to affiliated ball on minor league pacts, tweets Mike Ashmore of MyCentralJersey.com. Brett Brach has signed with the Nationals, while Kyler Newby will join the Angels. Brach, 26, had spent his career in the Indians organization, briefly reaching the Triple-A level. The 29-year-old Newby, who has spent ten seasons in the minors and owns a lifetime 9.9 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, threw to a 2.70 ERA in 60 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A in the Athletics organization last year.
  • Billy Buckner and Blaine Boyer have each accepted assignments with the Padres‘ Triple-A affiliate, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. The pair of righties was designated for assignment (and, it turns out, exposed to outright waivers) on Sunday, in conjunction with a series of roster moves relating to the team’s acquisition of lefty Troy Patton.
  • The Astros have released righty Chia-Jen Lo, according to the PCL transactions page. The 28-year-old Taiwanese native tossed 19 1/3 big league innings and even notched two saves last year for Houston. He worked to a 4.19 ERA with 7.4 K/9 against 6.1 BB/9. Lo, who was outrighted off of the club’s 40-man early this season, had struggled to a 4.74 ERA in 19 Triple-A innings in 2014, getting hit hard while striking out 8.1 and walking 5.7 batters per nine.
  • MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows several players in DFA limbo, with Blake Wood of the Indians joining Phil Irwin, Wandy Rodriguez, and Vin Mazzaro of the Pirates.

Padres Designate Buckner, Boyer For Assignment

The Padres announced on Twitter they have designated right-handers Billy Buckner and Blaine Boyer for assignment. The Padres needed to clear roster space for left-lander Troy Patton, who was acquired from the Orioles yesterday for catcher Nick Hundley. San Diego also recalled first baseman/outfielder Tommy Medica.

Buckner’s stint as a Padre was extremely short – less than one day. He was added to the roster yesterday to start against the Cubs and tossed 5 2/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and four walks.

Boyer also wasn’t long for San Diego as he had his contract selected just this past Thursday and made his first MLB appearance in three years that same night tossing two scoreless innings of relief against the Cubs.

Manager Bud Black said the club would like to keep both players and have them pitch for Triple-A El Paso, reports MLB.com’s Corey Brock. The Padres now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright the pair.


Minor Moves: Hideyoshi Otake, Blaine Boyer

Here are today's minor moves from throughout baseball.

  • The Red Sox have invited 25-year-old Japanese reliever Hideyoshi Otake to spring training, WEEI.com's Alex Speier notes. Otake comes not from NPB, but from Japan's independent Baseball Challenge League. Otake was pitching for the Toyama Thunderbirds, whose roster last year also featured former MLB pitcher Tomo Ohka (who himself recently signed with the Blue Jays).
  • The Padres have signed righty reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor-league deal, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports (on Twitter). Boyer will make $700K if he's in the Majors. Boyer, who has pitched for the Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Mets, posted a 2.67 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 27 innings for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan last season.