Orioles “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche

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Baltimore is “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.

Craig wrote this morning that the Orioles, Nationals, and Padres are seemingly fighting it out for LaRoche and Derrek Lee, so perhaps Lee could generate a nice little bidding war now.

Arizona declined its $7.5 million option on LaRoche for 2011, choosing a $1.5 million buyout instead, and then LaRoche turned down the Diamondbacks’ arbitration offer, so they’ll receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for letting him walk.

LaRoche drove in a career-high 100 runs this year, but also had his lowest batting average (.261), on-base percentage (.320), and OPS (.788) since 2005.  He’s typically been a slightly above-average first baseman offensively and adds some extra value with a good glove.

If the Orioles end up signing LaRoche he’ll join trade acquisitions Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy as part of a new-look infield that includes just one holdover in second baseman Brian Roberts.

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.