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Cubs agree to deal with righty Carlos Villanueva

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From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Cubs have agreed to a contract with free agent right-hander Carlos Villanueva. No word yet on the financial terms of the deal. The length is also a mystery, but chances are it’s a one-year pact.

Villanueva posted a decent 4.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 122/46 K/BB ratio in 125 1/3 innings — 16 starts and 22 relief appearances — this past season for the Blue Jays. He will serve as a starter in Chicago.

The Cubs’ rotation at the beginning of 2013 will go Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Scott Feldman then Villanueva.

And Scott Baker should be recovered from Tommy John elbow surgery by May.

We’re not expecting the Cubs to be contenders or anything, but that’s not a bad group.

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.