Archie Bradley, Phillies finalize 1-year, $6 million deal

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PHILADELPHIA — Archie Bradley ingratiated himself with fans immediately after finalizing a $6 million, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

“SignJT,” Bradley wrote on Twitter.

The right-hander then expanded on his desire for the Phillies bring back two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

“Hopefully, me being on board, we can get our guy J.T. back,” Bradley said Monday during a video news conference. “I know him very well. Obviously, unbelieveable big leaguer. I’ve played with a lot of guys who have played with him that have done nothing but speak so high of what J.T. brings to the table not only on the field but off the field. Great dude. I hope he’s a Phillie. I hope I get to throw to him this year.”

Phillies slugger Bryce Harper began campaigning for the team to re-sign Realmuto last season. A few times after he crossed the plate on Realmuto homers, Harper looked up in an empty stadium and screamed: “Sign him!”

Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski didn’t comment on a report the team has offered Realmuto a five-year contract worth more than $100 million. He also said he doesn’t feel extra pressure to sign Realmuto because Bradley, Harper and others have made it clear they want him.

“No, I don’t really feel any pressure by those comments,” Dombrowski said. “I think everybody knows that you’d like to bring him back – that’s not a secret. So, no, I don’t feel any extra pressure in that regard. We want to do everything we can to make our club better and I think we’ve expressed our desires in doing so, so we’ll do our best in that regard. But I don’t really feel extra pressure and I don’t blame them – we feel the same way as they do, so we’re on the same page.”

Bradley was 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA and six saves in 16 games last season with Arizona and Cincinnati, and he earned $1,518,519 prorated from a $4.1 million salary. Bradley had a career-best 18 saves in 2019.

The 28-year-old right-hander joins a bullpen that was among the worst in Major League Baseball. Philadelphia’s relievers combined for a 7.06 ERA, and the team blew three-run leads eight separate times. The Phillies ended up one win shy of qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Bradley is 23-25 with a 3.91 ERA and 28 saves in six seasons. He has 425 strikeouts in 412 innings. Phillies manager Joe Girardi didn’t say whether Bradley will be used as a closer or a set-up man. Hector Neris is Philadelphia’s other option.

“I’m going to have a lot of opportunities to contribute, and ultimately, that’s what I want to do,” Bradley said. “I don’t care what role it’s in, but I want to take the ball, and I want to provide quality innings for this team.”

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.