Twins sign Brian Dozier to four-year, $20 million deal

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Second baseman Brian Dozier and the Twins have agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract that begins this season by raising his salary from the league minimum to $2 million.

Dozier was already under team control through 2018, so the Twins are essentially just giving him a salary bump for 2015 and then pre-paying for his three arbitration-eligible seasons at a cost of $3 million in 2016, $6 million in 2017, and $9 million in 2018.

There are no option years included in the contract, so Dozier will still be eligible for free agency following the 2018 season. Minnesota basically just gained cost certainty while committing $20 million in guaranteed money they otherwise could have gone year-to-year with on a player who had a nice breakout in 2014–.242 with 23 homers, 21 steals, and a .762 OPS–but was previously not assumed to be a major part of their long-term plans.

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.