Blue Jays, Marco Estrada agree to two-year, $26 million deal

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Rather than accept or decline the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer before today’s deadline right-hander Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays have agreed to a two-year, $26 million contract.

Estrada could have turned down the qualifying offer in search of a longer, bigger deal on the open market, but he risked potentially having to settle for less money if teams were scared off by the draft pick compensation attached to signing him.

And he could have accepted the qualifying offer and returned to Toronto for $15.8 million next season, but instead he’ll get an extra $10.2 million for a second year. It’s more or less the best of both worlds for a 32-year-old with a 3.95 lifetime ERA coming off a career-year.

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.