Reds sign Jared Hughes to a two-year deal

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The Reds announced on Tuesday that the club signed reliever Jared Hughes to a two-year deal with a club option for the 2020 season. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports that the deal is worth $4.5 million in total, with the right-hander earning $2.125 million in each of the next two seasons. He can earn up to $750,000 each year in performance bonuses and the option is worth $3 million with a $250,000 buyout.

Hughes, 32, spent last season with the Brewers, posting a 3.02 ERA with a 48/24 K/BB ratio in 59 2/3 innings. He had spent the previous six seasons with the Pirates, developing into one of the club’s most reliable relievers despite a very underwhelming strikeout rate. Among the 112 relievers who have thrown at least 250 innings since 2011, Hughes’ 15.3 percent strikeout rate is the lowest.

The Reds have been mentioned in trade rumors involving closer Raisel Iglesias. Depending on how aggressive the club is in moving him, Hughes may end up seeing some save situations. For now, he’ll pitch the innings ahead of Iglesias along with Michael Lorenzen.

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.