Braves agree to 1-year deals with left-handers Fried, Minter

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ATLANTA — The Braves have agreed to one-year deals with left-handers Max Fried and A.J. Minter that avoid arbitration.

Fried gets $3.5 million and Minter $1.3 million.

Fried, 26, earned a significant raise for 2020, when he earned $216,111 as his prorated portion of his $583,500 salary. Fried finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting after going 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in the regular season.

Fried excelled in his fourth season when asked to fill in as Atlanta’s ace following Mike Soroka‘s season-ending Achilles injury. Fried, who won 17 games in 2019, had a 3.04 ERA in four postseason starts.

Minter enjoyed a strong bounce-back season, recording a 0.83 ERA in 22 appearances. He had 24 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings, reclaiming his spot as a reliable left-hander after struggling in 2019 with a 7.06 ERA. He also earned a prorated $216,111 salary in 2020.

The agreements left shortstop Dansby Swanson and Soroka as the only Atlanta players facing arbitration.

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.