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Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs settle, avoid arbitration

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Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, starter Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs have agreed on a $5.345 million salary for 2014, avoiding arbitration.

Samardzija had filed for $6.2 million while the Cubs filed for $4.4 million. Their agreed-upon salary is ever so slightly above the $5.30 million midpoint between the figures submitted by the two sides.

Samardzija’s future with the Cubs is still up in the air. The right-hander will be eligible for arbitration for the third and final time next off-season and he will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. The two sides were reportedly far apart on an extension last month.

The Cubs have now settled all four of their arbitration cases. They agreed to a $3.9 million salary with starter Travis Wood on January 24, $2 million with outfielder Justin Ruggiano on January 29, and $2.3 million with second baseman Darwin Barney on February 6.

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.