For all the speculation about which Type A and Type B free agents would and wouldn’t accept arbitration offers just two of the 27 eligible players said yes: Frank Francisco of the Rangers and Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays.
I’ve seen some suggestions that the low number of accepted arbitration offers means this offseason is a player’s market, but in reality two out of 27 is a pretty standard acceptance rate. Last offseason three players (Carl Pavano, Rafael Soriano, and Rafael Betancourt) accepted arbitration and the winter before that two players (Darren Oliver and David Weathers) did so.
It’s interesting to note that, of the seven free agents to accept arbitration offers in the past three years, six of them are relievers. I wrote earlier this month about how the free agent compensation system significantly overrates relievers relative to other positions by pegging them as 37 percent of Type A free agents, and certainly six of the past seven arbitration acceptances coming from relievers is more evidence of that.
Free agents accept arbitration when they believe returning to their old team on a one-year contract beats whatever offers they can get on the open market, so clearly relievers’ values are the most likely to be overrated by the Type A and Type B designations. The compensation system is faulty for any number of reasons, but the weight given to relief performances is seemingly one of the more obvious and easy-to-fix problems.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.
In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.
In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.
Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.