Gerrit Cole - UCLA

With six days to go before deadline, 14 of top 16 draft picks still unsigned

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It looks like we’re going to have another very busy Aug. 15 this year.  As of Tuesday morning, only nine of the 30 first-round picks have signed.  A mere two of the top 16 have inked deals.

Here’s the top 16:

1. Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole
2. Mariners: LHP Danny Hultzen
3. Diamondbacks: RHP Trevor Bauer (SIGNED)
4. Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy
5. Royals: OF Bubba Starling
6. Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon
7. Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley
8. Indians: SS Francisco Lindor
9. Cubs: SS Javier Baez
10. Padres: 2B Cory Spangenberg (SIGNED)
11. Astros: OF George Springer
12. Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann
13. Mets: OF Brandon Nimmo
14. Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez
15. Brewers: LHP Jed Bradley
16. Dodgers: LHP Chris Reed

In the end, most of these guys are going to sign.  MLB is frowning upon teams giving above-slot contracts to players before the deadline, which works against the ability of teams to get deals done before Aug. 15.  Still, it’d be a surprise if more than one or two of these players went unsigned past the deadline.

The player here many viewed as the toughest signing going in, Starling, is sitting out football practice at Nebraska while negotiating with the Royals.  That would seem to bode well for Kansas City’s chances.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, haven’t signed any of their four first- and supplemental first-round picks.  WEEI’s Alex Speier runs down the situation with No. 19 pick Matt Barnes, No. 26 pick Blake Swihart, No. 36 pick Henry Owens and No. 40 pick Jackie Bradley Jr. here.

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.