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Storylines: Tampa Bay Rays close to deal with Shawn Tolleson

The Rays add a piece to their bullpen plus all the other news and notes from around baseball on Tuesday...

Top Storylines:

- The Tampa Bay Rays are closing in on reinforcing their bullpen as they are close to a major league deal with reliever Shawn Tolleson per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Tolleson is two years removed from a superb season where he posted a 2.99 ERA across 72.1 innings of work where he took over the closer’s role and racked up 35 saves in 2015.  Things quickly changed for him in 2016 in which he was yanked from the ninth inning and given a lesser role.  He was unable to turn things around and ended up logging a 7.68 ERA across only 36.1 innings of relief work.  He quickly became one of the most unreliable relievers in the Rangers bullpen.  His poor performance clearly set off enough alarms to the Rangers front office to entice them not to bring him back and he is now joining the Rays.  The Rays could use as many fresh arms as possible as they are currently caught between rebuilding and contending.  The club isn’t committing to a full rebuild yet but at the same time face an uphill battle at being relevant in the AL East Division for years to come with the likes of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays poised to duke it out for control of the division.

Other Storylines:

- Rangers lefty Jake Diekman is slated for elbow surgery to help alleviate ulcerative colitis per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram.  He is expected to miss at least half the 2017 season and the Rangers will have to reassess their left-handed options in the bullpen as their best lefty is now on the shelf.

- The Detroit Tigers are showing interest in outfielder Peter Bourjos per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.  The Tigers are currently looking at having either Anthony Gose, Tyler Collins, Alex Presley and JaCoby Jones compete for the starting center field job in Spring Training so it’d make sense for them to keep their ears to the ground for any other outfield options.

- The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed veteran outfielder Gregor Blanco to a minor-league deal per Manolo Hernandez of BeisbolPorGotas.com.  Blanco had been a key bench piece for the San Francisco Giants over the past few years but now will begin a new chapter of his playing career with their NL West Division rivals.

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