Diamondbacks add veteran reliever Joakim Soria on 1-year, $3.5M deal

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5 million deal with veteran relief pitcher Joakim Soria, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

The agreement was reached and confirmed by The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal is pending the completion of a successful physical exam. Soria can earn $500,000 in performance incentives.

The two-time All-Star will be pitching for his eighth MLB team. The 36-year-old right-hander spent the past two years with Oakland and finished with a 2.82 ERA in 22 appearances during the abbreviated 2020 season.

Soria’s deal was the first notable move by the Diamondbacks during a quiet offseason.

Arizona is coming off a disappointing last-place finish in the NL West. The D-backs don’t have a clear-cut closer for the upcoming season and Soria could be in the mix for the job along with holdovers like Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel.

Soria had his best years as the closer in Kansas City with 42 saves in 2008 and 43 in 2010, which were both his All-Star seasons. While he hasn’t matched those numbers since, he’s been a dependable reliever over the past decade and has 732 career appearances, which is third among active pitchers.

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.