Scouting report on Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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With reports that shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be “posted” by his Japanese team later this week he’s suddenly an intriguing option in what is a pretty weak free agent market for middle infielders.

Patrick Newman, who does a great job covering Japanese baseball for NPB Tracker and Fan Graphs, has a lengthy scouting report on Nishioka that includes a comparison to Chone Figgins and Ryan Theriot.

The whole thing is definitely worth reading, but of particular note is that Newman views Nishioka as more of a second baseman than a shortstop due to his lack of arm strength. And while he’s coming off a career-year that saw him hit .346 that production was well above the 26-year-old’s previous track record and Nishioka has had a lot of trouble staying healthy.

Check out Newman’s scouting report for a lot more on Nishioka.

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.