Two incredibly smart dudes — one of whom is an occasional HBT commenter — have a book coming out. The dudes: Mark Armour and Dan Levitt. The book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. A process that, contrary to popular belief, did not begin with Billy Beane and “Moneyball.” The book comes out April 1. You can pre-order it here.
In anticipation of the rollout of that book, Mark and Dan have a blog about it all, and today they have begun counting down the top 25 general managers in baseball history. Today is 25: Andy MacPhail. Here is an explanation of the top-25 project. Here is the post on Mr. MacPhail.
We analyze everything else in baseball, but front office moves — especially historical ones — are often overlooked because front offices usually aren’t as colorful as managers and players and the data not as readily available. It’s great that Mark and Dan are embarking on this project and that, come April, we’ll be able to read a book dedicated to a subject that has never been dealt with in such depth in one single place.
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.