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Dodgers, A.J. Ellis avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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The Dodgers and catcher A.J. Ellis have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.55 million contract, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

Ellis requested $4.6 million and was offered $3 million from the Dodgers when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this month. The two sides settled for $250,000 under the midpoint, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that he’ll have the chance to make up the difference if he reaches bonuses based on games started and plate appearances. The 32-year-old backstop was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and remains under team control though 2016.

Ellis has compiled a .255/.347/.390 batting line over the past two seasons as the Dodgers’ regular catcher. He has thrown out 37 percent of attempted basestealers during that time.

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.