And you thought Giants-Rangers couldn’t inspire passion

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With the famously passionate Yankees and Phillies fanbases on outside looking in, I figured there wouldn’t be any trash talk in the leadup to this thing. And there isn’t a ton coming from San Francisco or Texas yet. But if you look down to L.A. there’s some to be found. From the Times’ Steve Dilbeck:

I don’t know much about the Rangers, except they have Cliff Lee and the Dodgers don’t. They play in Ft. Worth, like to call it Dallas-Fort Worth and call themselves the Texas Rangers. When you have that kind of identity crisis, it’s no wonder you can’t find you way to the postseason.

No matter, I am now a huge fan of the Rangers, whoever they are. Go kick some City by the Bay butt. Find your inner Scott Spezio.

I love this because it goes after both teams. The Giants because Dilbeck is a Dodgers guy and hates the Giants and the Rangers for no apparent reason.  Bitterness can be fun if applied liberally and evenhandedly.

(link via Walkoff Walk, who has a much more extended take on it)

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.