Marlon Byrd, Wandy Rodriguez

The Astros are on pace to finish 53-109

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It’s simply not fair that the Mariners are suddenly dominating the conversation on terrible teams.  Even after 15 straight losses, they have nothing on the Astros.  Houston is a full 10 games worse than Seattle this season, having gone 33-68 through 101 games.

That puts the Astros on pace to finish with a 53-109 record that would be the worst since the 2004 Diamondbacks went 51-111.

Here’s a list of all the teams since 1996 that failed to win at least 60 games:

2003 Tigers: 43-119
2004 Diamondbacks: 51-111
1996 Tigers: 53-109
1998 Marlins: 54-108
2002 Devil Rays: 55-106
2002 Tigers: 55-106
2002 Brewers: 56-106
2005 Royals: 56-106
2010: Pirates: 57-105
2004 Royals: 58-104
2009 Nationals: 59-103
2008 Nationals: 59-102

Astros fans can take hope that the three worst teams here improved by 29, 26 and 26 games the following year.  However, given the current state of the Astros farm system and the possibility that the team may subtract talent in trades, one can’t help but wonder if the 2011-12 Astros might join the 2008-09 Nationals as repeat offenders.

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.