Don Mattingly, Jeff Pentland

Dodgers fire hitting coach Jeff Pentland, hire Dave Hansen

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Since you can’t get rid of all the players–particularly when you don’t have any money to hire new ones–the Dodgers have decided to fire hitting coach Jeff Pentland and replace him with Dave Hansen on an interim basis.

Pentland, 64, was the Dodgers “hitting instructor” behind then-hitting coach Don Mattingly from 2008 to 2010 before moving up to the bigger job this season, with the Dodgers ranking 15th among NL teams in scoring. He also previously filled the same job with the Mariners, Royals, and Cubs.

Hansen played parts of 15 seasons in the majors, including 11 of them with the Dodgers, and was primarily a bench bat who totaled just 2,893 innings defensively in 1,230 career games. After retiring in 2005 he served as the Diamondbacks’ minor-league hitting coordinator before joining the Dodgers’ coaching staff this year.

When a team ranks second-to-last in scoring it’s tough to quibble with firing the hitting coach, but Pentland also didn’t have a whole lot to work with this season as the Dodgers have given 1,500 plate appearances to Rod Barajas, James Loney, Aaron Miles, Juan Uribe, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Dioner Navarro. And really, Pentland coaxing a .700 OPS out of Miles should be considered a minor miracle.

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.