Ruben Amaro on Andy Oliver’s decision to elect free agency: “I think it was a very foolish move on his part, but that’s OK.”

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The Phillies made a pair of selections in this past winter’s Rule 5 draft. They took second baseman Odubel Herrera from the Rangers and converted him to a center fielder, and they took left-handed pitcher Andy Oliver from the Pirates. Oliver was competing for a spot in the Phillies’ bullpen and impressed early, but faltered late. Ultimately, he finished with a 3.55 ERA with a 22/11 K/BB ratio in 12 2/3 Grapefruit League innings.

Oliver was put on waivers, the first step in an attempt by the Phillies to fully acquire his rights from the Pirates. If he had passed through, the Phillies could have worked out a trade. Otherwise, Rule 5 picks must stay on the team’s 25-man roster for the duration of the season. After Oliver cleared waivers, the Phillies outrighted Oliver to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he chose instead to elect free agency.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro still seems a bit salty about Oliver’s decision to leave. Via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

“We offered him a pretty good deal to come back,” Amaro said. “He just decided to go somewhere else. I think it was a very foolish move on his part, but that’s OK. He had a choice. He had that right.”

The Phillies recently designated southpaw Cesar Jimenez for assignment to make room for Sean O’Sullivan. Jimenez is now with Lehigh Valley, but won’t be eligible for a promotion for another week. With Mario Hollands injured and Elvis Araujo in the minors, Jake Diekman is currently the only left-handed pitcher in the Phillies’ bullpen.

The Rays signed Oliver to a minor league contract earlier this week, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reported. Oliver was a former top starting pitching prospect in the Tigers’ system but was converted to a reliever last season with the Pirates at Triple-A Indianapolis.

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.