Now that he's not so cheap, A's cut ties with Cust

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Oakland grabbed Jack Cust off the scrap heap in 2007, gave him the first regular playing time of his career, and ended up getting 1,717 plate appearances of .241/.378/.462 hitting with 84 homers, 309 walks, 226 runs, and 229 RBIs for a combined cost of under $4 million. However, with Cust now on the wrong side of 30 and in line for a raise to about $4 million for 2010 alone via arbitration the A’s have decided to non-tender him.
Cust strikes out a ton with bad batting averages and is stretched defensively anywhere but DH, but also has 30-homer pop and elite patience. His lifetime .374 on-base percentage and .455 slugging percentage with an average of 28 homers and 100 walks per 600 plate appearances would fit just fine in plenty of lineups, but his skill set tends to scare teams off and re-signing with the A’s for a lesser salary may end up being his best option. For now Jake Fox sits atop Oakland’s depth chart at DH.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.

Yankees to host AL Wild Card Game after Astros lose to D’Backs

Jacoby Ellsbury, Tony Pena
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Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.

The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.

The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.

The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.