Link-O-Rama: Angels juggling rotation to prep for playoffs

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* After clinching their third straight division title, the Angels scratched Scott Kazmir from last night’s start and have also bumped Jered Weaver from tonight’s scheduled outing. Matt Palmer will take Weaver’s place against the Rangers.
Lyle Spencer of MLB.com speculates that the Angels’ postseason rotation will have John Lackey in Game 1 followed by Weaver, Kazmir, and Joe Saunders, which would leave Ervin Santana in the bullpen despite hurling a complete-game shutout earlier this week to make him 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts since August 1.
* Alex Cora hit just .251/.320/.310 in 82 games before undergoing season-ending surgery on both thumbs, but Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are likely to re-sign the 33-year-old utility man.
* Andrew Baggarly does a very good job covering the Giants for the San Jose Mercury News, but his plan to give Jeremy Affeldt a 10th-place vote in the NL MVP balloting is the latest in a long line of things that make me care less and less about baseball’s season-ending awards.
* David Ortiz’s new restaurant isn’t getting glowing reviews, as the Boston Globe called Big Papi’s Grille “not very good” and “generic” while comparing it to “a midrange steakhouse in Applebee’s style architecture.”

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”