California high school right-hander Lucas Giolito was in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick before an elbow injury ended his season and he fell to the Nationals with the 16th pick.
Because of the new rules for signing bonuses the Nationals are somewhat limited in terms of what they can offer Giolito and even by saving money with other picks they have “only” $3 million or so to lure him away from college ball at UCLA.
If they truly felt Giolito is a No. 1 pick talent the Nationals could exceed their allotted money and accept the penalty of forfeiting next year’s first-round pick. And that’s perhaps not as far-fetched as it might initially seem considering the Nationals have a top-five record and would be picking near the bottom of the first round if the season ended today.
However, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times the team has ruled out that possibility and “under no circumstances” will give up next year’s first-rounder to sign Giolito. Of course, as the mid-July signing deadline approaches we’ll see if sharing that stance with reporters is partly a negotiating tactic.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.