Tigers “have been in contact” with free agent Aramis Ramirez

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In addition to their reported interest in Mark Buehrle the Tigers “have been in contact with the agent for” Aramis Ramirez, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Beck writes that “there are no negotiations going on” and the two sides haven’t talked since early this month, but adds that Thanksgiving may have played a part in the recent lack of dialogue.

Brandon Inge is still under contract for $5.5 million in 2012 with a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout in 2013, but the Tigers have already shown that they’re willing to bench the 34-year-old third baseman and Ramirez would be a massive upgrade offensively.

He’d also be a massive downgrade defensively, but with Inge coming off a .197 batting average and Ramirez producing an OPS above .850 for the seventh time in eight seasons Detroit would probably be willing to sacrifice glove for bat. Ramirez is 33 years old, but adding him to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez would be a very scary middle of the order.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.