The Nats may make a splash at the trade deadline

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Jon Paul Morosi spoke with Nationals owner Mark Lerner, and Lerner made it pretty clear that, when it comes to the trade deadline and, more generally, improving the team, money is no real object:

“We’ve never let dollars get in the way of us making decisions that will help this organization … That will always be our philosophy. We don’t look at it like a $100 million benchmark, or $90 million, or $120 million. We try to do smart things … There’s never been a question of this organization spending money. It was when to spend it.”

Lerner goes on to say that the Nats aren’t terribly interested in rental players, which means that they would consider taking on a guy with a large, multi-year deal.

Not too many teams ever fit that description at the deadline, so the Nats may very well alter the usual mid-to-late July dynamic in that regard.

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.