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David Eckstein: your destiny is calling

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The mayor of Manila all but begs David Eckstein to come to The Philippines and help revive baseball:

“Baseball is once a popular sport here and we have a number of baseball stadiums before. But its popularity continue to wane because of basketball,” said Lim. Lim said sports leaders and other sponsors should channel some their resources in discovering more baseball talents since Filipinos have pretty good chances of excelling in the sport which does not need very tall players.

“It’s an exciting sport since height is not a big factor and sluggers are interesting to watch. American stars used to come here in Manila.”

That last part is true. Gleeman would probably remember this better than me, but someone at the SABR convention a couple of years ago gave a great presentation on baseball leagues in the Philippines during the early part of the 20th century, and about how U.S. players used to come through in the offseason to barnstorm.  It was pretty cool.

As would be another large-population country that goes baseball crazy. More people playing means more talent which means better baseball. Go Mayor Lim.

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.