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2018 qualifying offer set at $17.4 million

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Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Major League Baseball has set the qualifying offer for the offseason going into the 2018 season has been set at $17.4 million. That’s an increase of $200,000 over last year. The QO was $15.8 million in 2015, so the latest increase is comparatively tiny.

The qualifying offer value is derived by taking the average of the top 125 salaries across baseball. Teams who make a qualifying offer to a player who signs elsewhere receive a compensatory draft pick. Teams that sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer from another team give up their highest non-protected draft selection.

Players who were traded mid-season are ineligible to receive a qualifying offer.

The 2012-16 collective bargaining agreement introduced the qualifying offer system to baseball and it has since been altered to hinder free agents less when they hit the open market. Players that rejected qualifying offers tended to have trouble procuring contracts compared to similarly-skilled players without draft pick compensation attached to them because teams did not want to relinquish their picks. Now compensation is tied in part to revenue sharing and the luxury tax.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: