Reynolds, Diamondbacks agree to three-year deal with option for 2013

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Mark Reynolds and the Diamondbacks were said to be in contract talks for months now, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have finally agreed to a three-year, $14.5 million contract with an $11 million team option for 2013.
Reynolds is coming off a career-year that saw him hit .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers, 102 RBIs, and 29 steals, but because he narrowly missed being arbitration eligible for this season it’s important to note that the Diamondbacks would have had him under team control through 2013 anyway.
The new deal cancels out his previous contract renewal for 2010, which was set to pay Reynolds about $425,000, and then essentially pre-pays $14 million for his first two seasons of arbitration while giving the Diamondbacks an $11 million option or $500,000 buyout on his third and final season of arbitration.
Arizona gets some cost certainty by signing Reynolds now, which definitely has value given the unpredictable nature of arbitration salary demands, but typically in these types of contracts the team also secures an option for the player’s first year of free agency (for very recent examples, see Minnesota’s recent deals with Nick Blackburn and Denard Span).
Perhaps the Diamondbacks see the cost certainty and potential savings as hugely important, but guaranteeing him $14.5 million rather than simply going year-to-year via the arbitration process is also a risk if he gets hurt or declines. Because of that not getting Reynolds to delay free agency in exchange for the up-front money seems like a misstep. He’ll still be eligible to hit the open market after 2013.

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.