Josh Hamilton, David Ortiz among free agents to receive qualifying offers

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Under the new collective bargaining agreement Type A and Type B free agent designations have been ditched in favor of teams needing to make a “qualifying offer” to free agents in order to receive compensation for their departure.

Qualifying offers are basically one-year deals for the average salary of the top 125 highest-paid players, which equals $13.3 million for 2013. Players have until next Friday to accept or decline the qualifying offer, and if they decline and sign elsewhere the old team gets a first-round pick as compensation and the new team is stripped of a first-round pick.

Today was the deadline to make qualifying offers and the following free agents received one:

– Josh Hamilton, Rangers
– David Ortiz, Red Sox
– Rafael Soriano, Yankees
– Nick Swisher, Yankees
– Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
– B.J. Upton, Rays
– Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
– Michael Bourn, Braves
– Adam LaRoche, Nationals

For a lot of those guys there’s zero chance of the qualifying offer being accepted. Kuroda seems like the best bet to simply take the one-year deal.

Prominent free agents who did not receive qualifying offers (but are still able to re-sign):

– Mike Napoli, Rangers
– Torii Hunter, Angels
– Shaun Marcum, Brewers
– Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
– Angel Pagan, Giants
– Edwin Jackson, Nationals

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.

Video: Blue Jays walk off against the Athletics again, this time with a grand slam

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The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.

Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.

Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.