Cubs exploring trade targets for center field

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More from Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:



The Cubs clearly aren’t blown away by any of the center fielders on the free
agent market, preferring to explore trades. One name to file away is Fernando Perez.




Perez, who turns 27 in April, owns a
.289/.375/.402 batting line in parts of six minor league seasons with
the Rays organization. A switch-hitter, Perez is blessed with supreme
speed — 199 stolen bases in 584 minor league games — but he has yet to find a real opportunity on the major league
level. He was limited to just 35 games between the minors and the
majors last season due to a broken left wrist suffered during an attempted diving catch in spring
training. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder in October, an injury likely caused by the same play, but
he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2010 season.




It would be a nice move for general
manager Jim Hendry in the sense that the Cubs wouldn’t have to add much
payroll to an already bloated outfield, but since Perez is under team
control through 2013, it would probably cost them a premium prospect. The club remains linked to Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel in free agency.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.