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Dodgers, Brewers announce lineups for NLCS Game 3

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Here are the lineups for NLCS Game 3 between the Brewers and Dodgers. The game is slated for a 7:39 PM ET start at Dodger Stadium and will be broadcast on FS1.

Brewers

CF Lorenzo Cain
RF Christian Yelich
LF Ryan Braun
2B Travis Shaw
1B Jesús Aguilar
3B Mike Moustakas
C Erik Kratz
SS Orlando Arcia
P Jhoulys Chacín

The Brewers are going with Shaw at second base again. Hernán Pérez got the start there in Game 1 and was a defensive substitution in Game 2. Manager Craig Counsell will continue to play the matchups here as Shaw has a significant platoon split. During the regular season, Shaw posted an .892 OPS against right-handers but only .599 against lefties. Pérez was .783 against lefties and .612 against righties.

Dodgers

LF Joc Pederson
1B Max Muncy
3B Justin Turner
SS Manny Machado
CF Cody Bellinger
RF Yasiel Puig
C Yasmani Grandal
2B Enrique Hernández
P Walker Buehler

Chris Taylor gets a night off. Pederson gets the start with a right-hander on the mound after the Brewers started two lefties in the first two games. For the same reason, Muncy gets the start at first base, sending David Freese back to the bench, and Matt Kemp goes back to the bench in favor of Cody Bellinger.

Mark Lerner says Nationals can’t afford both Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg

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The defending champion Washington Nationals may have to replace two star players in third baseman Anthony Rendon and starter Stephen Strasburg as both are free agents. Both are represented by agent Scott Boras and both are expected to command lucrative contracts. As a result, Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner said the club can’t afford to bring back both players, Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington reports.

Lerner told Donald Dell in an interview, “We really can only afford to have one of those two guys. They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”

As Dybas notes, there are myriad reasons why Lerner would say this publicly. If Lerner had instead said, “Yeah, we’re filthy stinking rich, especially coming off of a World Series win. We could afford to get every free agent if we wanted to,” then the Nationals would have no leverage in negotiations. Creating artificial scarcity increases the Nationals’ leverage when negotiating with Boras and his clients. And as Dybas also points out, Lerner’s statement also prepares fans for an unsatisfactory outcome not unlike when the club took itself out of the running to bring back outfielder Bryce Harper earlier this year. This not to say Lerner’s statement is justified; it’s just how things work in the current system.

Lerner also defended the Nationals’ approach to free agency. He said, “They think you’re really back there printing money and it’s whoever goes to the highest bidder. It’s not that way at all. You give these fellas — there’s a negotiation that goes on, but…We’ve been pretty successful in free agency over time. You’re not going to get everybody. Certain players may want to go home, closer to where their home is. You never know the reason why people move on. But, we’ve been very successful. Probably one of the most successful teams in free agency the last 10 years. We’re very proud of our record. But, again, I think people have to realize, it’s not all up to us.”

It is true that the Nationals have been one of the most active teams in free agency in recent years. In a league that has otherwise done the opposite, they deserve some credit for that. But the Nationals are also keenly aware of the competitive balance tax threshold, which teams use as a de facto salary cap. They don’t have to, but they choose to because it’s a convenient structure that allows them to limit expenditures.

At the end of the day, it’s baseball’s financial structure that is rotten. It forces constant misinformation out of everyone’s mouths so as to protect their financial interests and leverage, and incentivizes teams to value profits above all. In a perfect world, MLB team owners wouldn’t need to cry poor every offseason, but we don’t live in such a world.