NEW YORK — Outfielder Albert Almora and the New York Mets finalized a one-year, $1.25 million contract.
Almora, 26, plays primarily center field and joins a Mets outfield group that includes Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Guillermo Heredia and Jose Martinez.
Almora became a free agent when the Chicago Cubs failed to offer a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline. He hit .167 with one RBI in 30 at-bats during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, down from a .236 average, a career-best 12 homers and 32 RBIs in 2019.
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.