Twins have Jarrod Saltalamacchia on their radar

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Now in the mix for a catcher after moving Joe Mauer to first base, the Twins could pursue free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. He suggests Salty could fetch a three-year deal in the $30 million range, which is in the Twins’ affordability range. They currently have $46 million committed to six players after opening up the 2013 season at $86 million.

Saltalamacchia is coming off of his best season, a tremendous improvement over 2012. He increased his batting average and on-base percentage by about 50 points each, and some felt his defense took a step forward as well. As he turns 29 years old in May, signing him to a three-year pact wouldn’t be as much of a risk as the Yankees signing Brian McCann for five years, as an example.

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.