Chad Qualls drawing interest from six teams

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Free agent reliever Chad Qualls turned in an ugly 7.32 ERA and 1.80 WHIP across 59 innings for the Diamondbacks and Rays in 2010 and drew very little interest during the early part of this offseason.  But that is starting to change as reliever-needy teams look to fill their bullpens.

According to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group, Qualls is now drawing legitimate interest from six teams, including the Oakland A’s.

The Mets also made contact with his representatives earlier this winter.

Qualls shouldn’t command more than $1.5 million on a one-year contract and may be able to bounce back in a low-pressure middle relief role.  He still boasts a healthy 3.82 career ERA and 1.27 career WHIP in 460 total major league appearances.

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.