Offer or not, Marlins interested in Russ Branyan

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Yesterday afternoon ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported that “the Marlins offered Russell Branyan a one-year deal with a low base salary and lots of incentives.”
However, today Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that “two sources said the Marlins have NOT made an offer” to Branyan. In addition to putting “not” all in caps Spencer also quotes “one person close to the player” as saying that Stark’s report is “not true.”
Of course, the rest of Spencer’s report sure makes it seem like the Marlins have done everything BUT (see, I can do the all-caps thing too!) make an official offer to Branyan:

The Marlins are “kicking the tires” on a number of left-handed hitters for a bench role, and Russell Branyan is one of them. … [T]he Marlins have merely contacted Branyan’s agent, as they have done with more than a few players, to gauge the situation. It’s possible they might have even tossed around salary figures. But no deal was ever offered.

So they’re interested in Branyan, have talked to his agent, and have probably even discussed the terms of a deal. Why then is Spencer making such a big deal about the difference between that and an actual offer? Perhaps because yesterday he wrote an anti-Branyan screed focusing on strikeouts that ended with: “If the Marlins wind up with this guy, I’ll be surprised.”

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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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.