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Cubs reportedly close to acquiring Matt Garza

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The Chicago Cubs are close to making a deal to acquire starting pitcher Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The report, which did not mention what players the Rays might be seeking in such a deal, said that the Cubs became frontrunners to acquire Garza after the Texas Rangers signed free agent pitcher Brandon Webb and tossed a bunch of money at Adrian Beltre.

Garza, who was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA over 204.2 innings last season, would solidify a Cubs rotation that already includes Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Silva. The 27-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance, throwing a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers last July 26, and a one-hitter in 2008.

But he hasn’t harnessed those talents on consistently as the Rays might have hoped, and is also due a nice raise in arbitration from the $3.35 million he made in 2010, making him a valuable trade commodity for cost-conscious Tampa Bay.

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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.