The Royals have signed right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training, per a club announcement on Wednesday.
Boyer, 36, has had somewhat of an up-and-down career, pitching for eight different teams over 11 seasons while retiring for the 2012 season and then spending part of the 2013 season in Japan. This will be Boyer’s second stint in the Royals organization, as he attended Kansas City’s spring training and pitched in 13 games for their Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers, in 2013 before heading overseas.
Boyer had a decent season for the Red Sox in 2017, posting a 4.35 ERA and 1.55 WHIP with 33 strikeouts and 14 walks over 41.1 innings. He did struggle with injuries a bit, though, spending two stints on the disabled list with right elbow strain and then a neck strain.
There should be plenty of spots available in the Royals’ bullpen after they lost Mike Minor to free agency and traded Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, and Ryan Buchter. They also have yet to re-sign Peter Moylan, who made 79 appearances for them in 2017. Beyond Kelvin Herrera and Brandon Maurer, who are the likely candidates to fill eighth- and ninth-inning duties, there aren’t any relievers who appear to be locked into roster spots this spring. Though Kansas City could add more veterans before the regular season begins, Boyer will likely join right-handers Kevin McCarthy and Wily Peralta as a strong favorite to claim a middle relief role on the Royals’ Opening Day roster.