Yasiel Puig declines to opt-out of his guaranteed money

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Yasiel Puig‘s deal with the Dodgers allowed for him to opt-out of the guaranteed money he has coming to him for 2017 and 2018. It doesn’t allow him to become a free agent — the Dodgers still have control over him for the next two years — but he does have the choice: make $6.5 million in 2017 and $7.5 million in 2018 or to opt-out of that and have his salary set by arbitration.

Coming off of two disappointing and injury-plagued years, Puig has decided to stay with the deals as-written and eschew arbitration, Ken Rosenthal reports.

This may be seem somewhat curious as players do not typically see their salaries reduced in arbitration, thus allowing one to argue that Puig had nothing to lose by going to arbitration. Thing is, it’s not entirely unheard of for a player to see his salary drop. And, if Puig has another rough season in 2017, the Dodgers could non-tender him for 2018, making him a free agent coming off of a bad year, in which case he could see his 2018 salary drop indeed.

As we noted last week, the Dodgers still see Puig as an important part of their future. Unless they trade him, they now know exactly how much they’ll be paying him for that future.

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.