Dave Duncan, Jaime Garcia, Yadier Molina

Cardinals make Dave Duncan the highest paid pitching coach

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Not only did Dave Duncan talk the Cardinals into giving him a two-year contract when the rest of Tony La Russa’s coaching staff was offered only one-year deals, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he’ll be the highest paid pitching coach in baseball.

According to Strauss he’ll get a base salary of around $750,000 per season, which still seems like a bargain given that most managers earn several times that much and teams regularly pay twice that for mediocre veteran bench players.

Putting a coach’s impact into wins and losses if often tough, but Duncan has been La Russa’s pitching coach for 28 seasons and has done an amazing job taking veterans off the scrap heap and turning them into viable contributors in St. Louis.

And of course he’s overseen the development of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright into elite starters. When one of the most successful pitching coaches of all time makes less than guys like Adam Everett, Alex Cora, and Juan Castro that either says MLB teams don’t actually think pitching coaches are that valuable or the Cardinals are getting a helluva deal with Duncan. Or maybe both, I suppose.

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.