Colby Rasmus has company.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is also accepting the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, returning to Baltimore for 2016 rather than testing the open market as a free agent.
This is a much bigger surprise than Rasmus accepting the qualifying offer from the Astros, because the general consensus seemed to be that Wieters was set to cash in pretty big as the clear-cut best catcher available at 30.
However, he did miss most of 2014 and half of this year following Tommy John elbow surgery, so perhaps Wieters is banking on a healthy, productive 2016 campaign allowing him to hit the open market again next offseason with a much bigger demand.
Whatever the case, the Orioles have to be pretty happy about retaining an All-Star caliber catcher for a one-year commitment and a whole bunch of teams hoping to lure Wieters away from Baltimore are scrambling for other catching plans.
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.