Nationals win Game One
On paper, at least in my eyes, the NLCS is a lopsided affair. To be fair, I said the same about the Cardinals-Braves NLDS, and the team I thought it was lopsided in favor of is now sitting at home watching. The Nationals look like a much better team on paper, though, and they took the first game of this series on the road. What’s even more amazing is that they did it behind the worst starting pitcher they’ll have in this series. Old friend Aníbal Sánchez is Washington’s number four starter, but he didn’t look like one on Friday. The righty was hitting his spots all night long and carried a no-hitter into the eighth. He would lose it with two outs in the inning, but it was still enough time for his offense to build a lead. Granted, it wasn’t a huge day for the Washington offense for anything, but their two runs were enough given what Sánchez did. The Nationals have a 1-0 lead in this series with a chance to go up 2-0 and head back home if they win on Saturday.
Sox Spin: Clearly, the Red Sox angle here is Sánchez. Although he never actually played for the Red Sox, the righty came up through the system as one of the team’s top prospects before being included in the trade that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. Sánchez has had a very good career after leaving Boston, but given 2007 the Red Sox would do that trade over 100 out of 100 times.
Qualifying offer to go down
If you’re looking for proof that something may be off with MLB’s economic system, look no further than this. For the first time since its inception in 2012, the qualifying offer is going down this winter. This is according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic. A drop from $17.9 million to $17.8 million is clearly not substantial, but it is indicative of where salaries are right now. The qualifying offer is an average of the top 125 salaries in the game, which has dropped for the first time in at least seven years and likely much more than that. If you needed more proof that there are some major changes coming to the game’s compensation structure with the next CBA, here you go. The way things are now is just untenable, and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.
Sox Spin: As for the Red Sox, there is some more immediate impact with who they could offer this deal do. There is really only one option in my eyes, with Rick Porcello clearly not being worth that salary, especially to a team who is cutting payroll. However, if J.D. Martinez were to opt out the team could offer him the deal and receive some (albeit underwhelming) compensation. For teams that exceed the luxury tax, the compensation for losing a free agent after extending a qualifying offer is after the fourth round. Still, it’s better than nothing.