Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Third baseman Mike Moustakas has avoided arbitration with the Royals by signing a one-year, $2.64 million contract, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Moustakas requested $3.1 million and the Royals countered at $1.85 million.

He finished the season on a high note with some postseason heroics, but Moustaksas had a rough year overall by hitting just .212 with 15 homers and a .632 OPS in 140 games.

The former top prospect and No. 2 overall pick is a lifetime .236 hitter through age 25 and his 20-homer power is often canceled out by terrible plate discipline, leading to a measly .668 career OPS. Kansas City is sticking with him, but this could be a make-or-break year for Moustakas.

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.