Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals

Bo Porter is the first candidate to interview for Astros job

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General manager Jeff Luhnow said earlier this week that the Astros would soon begin interviewing 6-8 candidates for their managerial opening and sure enough Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that Nationals third base coach Bo Porter is in Houston this afternoon interviewing for the job.

It’s a little unusual that the interviews would start while the season is still in progress and interim manager Tony DeFrancesco is still trying to win games, but Luhnow has said that DeFrancesco will be one of the candidates considered and … well, the Astros are bad enough that some added drama probably won’t hurt much anyway.

Porter, whose yelling into the Cubs dugout helped lead to a benches-clearing skirmish last week, has interviewed for several other managerial openings in past seasons. He lives in Houston during the offseason and according to McTaggart owner Jim Crane personally picked up Porter from the airport.

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.