Several teams are interested in Kevin Youkilis

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Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Indians, Phillies, Dodgers, Mariners and Marlins have all expressed interest on Kevin Youkilis.

Flexibility and a shallow third and first base free agent market are helping Youkilis, it would seem. Because on the merits he is not a great free agent candidate.  Morosi notes his improvement after leaving for Boston, but it wasn’t dramatic improvement. He hit .236/.346/.425 in 80 games for the White Sox. He hit .235/.336/.409 in 438 at-bats overall. And he gets hurt a lot.

I sort of fee like a best case for him in 2013 is to get signed by a non-contender, have a nice couple of rebound months and then get shipped to a contender as a super-sub/bench bat kind of guy. But maybe that’s just be being bored in November and making up story lines.

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.