Craig Calcaterra

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 12:  Wilson Ramos #40 of the Washington Nationals in the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 12, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Nationals lowballed Wilson Ramos in their initial contract offer

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Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos is having an outstanding season. He’s hitting .303/.352/.491 with 21 homers and has caught 125 games while appearing in 128 overall. He’s a big, big reason the Nationals are running away with the NL East and, with free agency looming, he’s about to make a whole heck of a lot of money.

Certainly more money than the Nationals offered him, according to Jon Heyman:

The Washington Nationals initiated talks with soon-to-be free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, making an initial offer. However, indications are that the Nats’ offer was somewhere in the range of $30 million over three years, which apparently isn’t in the ballpark of what Ramos seeks and perhaps not even enough to keep talks going before the offseason.

I am confident that someone is going to give a lot of money to Ramos after his career year. I am fairly certain, however, that the end of that contract is not gonna be fantastic for whoever gives it to him. He’s had a heck of a season and a catcher who can truly hit is a valuable commodity in Major League Baseball, but he turns 30 next year and he’s hitting .321 on balls in play this year, which is not sustainable. That the Nats are only offering three years and $30 million suggests that they agree with the risks.

But the market is the market and the targets Ramos and his agent are going to be shooting for are Russell Martin‘s five year-$82 million deal and Brian McCann‘s five year $85 million pact. Maybe that’s shooting too high, but that’s where he’ll shoot, certainly in terms of years. And given the thin free agent market this winter, possibly on dollars as well.

In short: the Nats lowballed Martin and, in all likelihood, borked their chance to sign him before he hits the open market.

Andrew Benintendi dances like Michael Jackson after Red Sox win

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Andrew Benintendi was born in 1994. That was three years after Michael Jackson’s last good album — “Dangerous” — was released. It was 15 years after “Off the Wall” came out. Which is to say that, for Benintendi, Michael Jackson isn’t even a matter of nostalgia. He’s ancient HIStory. It’s the Past, not the Present or Future. For a guy as old as I am, thinking about such things is Bad.

Still, the AL East race this year has been a Thriller, and Benintendi and his teammates can be excused for celebrating yet another big win over a division rival. King of Pop-style:

If you think it’s too much, maybe you just don’t get what it’s like to a major league ballplayer. Really, to understand what these guys are feeling, you Got to Be There.

Um, Ben.

What happens if the Mets, Cardinals and Giants finish in a three-way tie?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21:  Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets reacts after his home run was robbed to end the game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on September 21, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals, Mets and Giants are playing musical chairs for the two National League Wild Card slots. No one is playing particularly well. The Giants are in freefall, the Mets just got swept by the Braves and the Cardinals got pounded by the Rockies yesterday and have been running hot and cold. Their collective wheel-spinning has even gotten the Pirates (3.5 games out) and the Marlins (4) back into the conversation, at least nominally.

The best part of this is that the Mets, Giants and Cardinals, each of whom are 80-72 right now, could end up in a three-way tie. That’d be when the fun really starts.

Here’s what MLB’s official page on all tiebreakers says about that scenario:

Three-Club Tie for Two Wild Card Spots:
After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B. The winner of the game would be declared one Wild Card winner. Club C would then host the loser of the game between Club A and Club B to determine the second Wild Card Club.

The “A, B, C designations” thing is determined by head-to-head records first. None of the three teams plays each other any more this year. The Mets and Cards are 3-3 against each other. Each are 4-3 against the Giants. So either way, the Giants are third in that A-B-C thing. To break the tie of the tie between the Mets and Cards, you go to intradivision records, meaning the Mets against the NL East and the Cards against the NL Central. At the moment the Cardinals are better against their own division, 36-30, while the Mets are 33-33 against their East rivals. Yup, those games against the Braves this week mattered!

SO: with the caveat that both the Cards and Mets have a lot of intradivision games left and thus it could change, if the season ended today, the Cardinals would be Club A, the Mets would be Club B and the Giants would be Club C. Which means the tiebreaker would look like this, if all three teams finished with identical records:

  • Sunday October 2: Regular Season Ends;
  • Monday October 3: Mets vs. Cards in St. Louis, winner is one of the Wild Card teams
  • Tuesday October 4: Mets vs. Cards loser vs. the Giants in San Francisco, winner is the second Wild Card team

The very next day, Wednesday, October 5, the winner of the game in San Francisco would have to play in either St. Louis or New York in the actual Wild Card game, which would determine who then had to fly to Chicago to face the Cubs in the NLDS. Which begins on Friday, October 7.

Got that?

While Mets, Cards and Giants fans are likely hoping for a little win streak to avoid this mess, I hope the rest of you are joining me in rooting for the bedlam and chaos that would occasion a three-way tie.