Red Sox have a two-year deal with Jonny Gomes

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UPDATE: Lauber is now reporting that the deal is in place.

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Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that the Red Sox are “closing in on” a two-year deal with free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, which might signal the end of their attempt to re-sign Cody Ross.

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com wrote this morning that the Red Sox had narrowed their outfielder pursuit down to Ross and Gomes, and nearing an agreement with Gomes suggests Ross is drawing significant interest elsewhere and Boston perhaps decided he wasn’t worth paying a premium to retain.

Both players offer good right-handed power, but Ross is superior defensively and less of a liability versus right-handed pitching. Gomes played last season on a one-year, $1 million deal with the A’s and hit .262 with 18 homers and an .868 OPS in 99 games.

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.