Blue Jays avoid arbitration with Colby Rasmus at $2.7M

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Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Blue Jays have inked Colby Rasmus to a $2.7 million contract for 2012, thus avoiding salary arbitration with the 25-year-old center fielder.

Rasmus made a poor first impression with Toronto last year, batting just .173/.201/.316 in 140 plate appearances after being acquired from the Cardinals at the July trade deadline. But he’s still regarded as an immensely talented young player and would seem capable of shifting his career back on track.

The former first-round pick made a big splash in 2010, when, as a 23-year-old, he registered a sparkling .859 OPS with 23 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 144 games for St. Louis. His development took a sudden detour in 2011 and his clashes with the Cardinals’ coaching staff eventually resulted in an eight-player swap.

Rasmus will be eligible for arbitration twice more before getting a crack at the free agent market.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.