Jonathan Papelbon’s suspension could possibly save the Phillies $13 million

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The seven-game suspension of Jonathan Papelbon for his crotch-grabbing is all laugh-worthy, but it could also help save the Phillies some money.

Because general manager Ruben Amaro can’t help himself when it comes to veterans, he not only made Jonathan Papelbon the highest-paid closer in baseball when he signed him before the 2012 season, he even gave him a vesting option that could, if triggered, turn an already-too-long contact into five-year deal. What triggers the option, which would pay Papelbon $13 million for 2016? If he either (a) finishes 55 games in 2015; or (b) finishes a combined 100 games between 2014 and 2015.

Before the suspension, Papelbon had finished 50 games this season. His seven-game suspension will take up most of the rest of the season. While it’s possible that the Phillies would be dumb enough to let him finish 55 games next season to trigger the option, if they avoid that, it will take close to a couple weeks worth of work off of Papelbon’s plate for the two-year option trigger, making it easier for them to strategically sit him without it looking too much like they’re avoiding the option.

Of course, that all assumes that the Phillies want to avoid paying a guy in his mid-30s seven figures. Which is not an impulse they’ve exhibited much in recent years.

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.