Blalock can opt out of 'convoluted' deal with Rays

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Hank Blalock’s minor-league contract with the Rays includes an opt-out clause that allows him to request his release and become a free agent if not added to the 40-man roster by April 1.
He can also choose to accept an assignment to the minors, which seems like it could be a decent option given that the other 29 big-league also weren’t willing to give him a major-league deal. In fact, only the Marlins were really linked to him at all.
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman used “convoluted” to describe the deal, which would pay $925,000 if Blalock makes the Opening Day roster and includes another $250,000 in playing time-based incentives.
“What I will say is that at the end of spring if there’s not a 25-man spot for him and there is somewhere else we’re not going to stand in his way,” Friedman told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.

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

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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.