MLB In Full Bloom 11/7/2013

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97 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

144 – Number of days until Opening Day

We know who the finalists are for several postseason awards and today I'm going to share who I think will win and why:

AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Chris Davis

My Winner: Miguel Cabrera

There is conversation about Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout deserving this award, and I’m not opposed to rewarding players from losing teams. I supported Andre Dawson when he won the award in 1987 on a last place the Chicago Cubs club. However, Cabrera topped Trout in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Tigers offense struggled when Cabrera was injured toward the end of the season and into October. Trout's overall body of work was awesome for the most disappointing team in baseball, but Cabrera posted .348/44/137 in just 144 games. Yes, these are better offensive stats than his 2012 Triple Crown season!

NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCuthen, Yadier Molina

My Winner: Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt led the entire National League in five different major categories: home runs (36), runs batted in (125), slugging percentage (.551), OPS (.952) and total bases (332). In addition, Goldschmidt stole 15 bases, scored 103 runs and only missed two games for a team in the wild card race until the final few weeks of the season. Goldschmidt also won NL Offensive Player of the Year and a gold glove last week. He truly is the team leader in Arizona.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma

My Winner: Max Scherzer

This one won't even be close as Scherzer’s 21 wins and near 90 percent winning rate will win him the award. Scherzer struck out 10.08 hitters per nine innings and 240 total. That was good for second-best in the AL, while his 0.97 WHIP led the American League.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG: Jose Fernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright

My Winner: Clayton Kershaw

I'll apologize now for not putting up much of a case for why Kershaw will win the National League Cy Young this year. Kershaw’s 1.83 ERA was the lowest for a starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005. Kershaw is not only going to win the Cy Young award, but he is an MVP candidate this year and will win his second Cy Young award in three seasons. September was Kershaw's worst month of the season when he posted a 2.53 ERA, but Kershaw still owned the NL best in ERA (1.83), WHIP (0.92) and strikeouts (232).

AMERICAN LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR: John Ferrell, Terry Francona, Bob Melvin

My Winner: John Ferrell

Postseasons are not factored into voting, but I’d be surprised if Ferrell didn’t capture the award. He took a 69-win Boston team to 97 wins and their third World Series title in the past decade.

NATIONAL LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Clint Hurdle, Don Mattingly, Fredi Gonzalez

My Winner: Clint Hurdle

This is not even close for me to pick Hurdle. All the pieces finally fit in Pittsburgh this season, as the Pirates with the National League's second lowest payroll finally made the playoffs after a 21-year absence.

AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Chris Archer, Jose Iglesias, Wil Myers

My Winner: Wil Myers

This is a fairly easy selection for me. Wil Myers was recalled by the Tampa Bay Rays on June 18th and all he did was hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia in Yankee Stadium just days later. He only played in 88 games, but he still led all AL Rookies in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Yasiel Puig, Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller

My Winner: Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez was impressive from his first start of the season and finished the year with a 2.19 ERA. Fernandez is just the fourth rookie ever with a sub 2.20 ERA and finished second in the National League with 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings. He gave up just 5.8 hits per nine innings this season. The media will select Yasiel Puig, but Fernandez should win the award.

MLB In Full Bloom 11/6/2013

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98 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

145 – Number of days until Opening Day

As General Managers and Owners make their way to Orlando next week for their annual meetings, there is just one General Manager and Owner that needs to hire a manager for next season. That team is the Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. There are multiple reports floating around that this search is close to coming to an end as soon as today or tomorrow. Rick Renteria appears to be the front runner and I think he is the right guy for the job for multiple reasons and I outline them in today's addition of MLB In Full Bloom.

News & Notes

  • The big news today in baseball is that Lloyd McClendon has been named the Seattle Mariners new manger. McClendon did not do a great job in his first managerial job with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that was a bad Pirates team. McClendon is the 8th Mariners manger since Lou Piniella left Seattle in 2003, which is the most in baseball. This screams dysfunction within the organization to me and this choice of McClendon needs to work for the organization. They have tried everything in Seattle and they have not been successful. They have swung and missed at big free agents and its not like they are not willing to write the big checks because they have made big offers. In addition, they have developed their own players and have kept them. The biggest name  is Felix Hernandez just to name one.
  • The Chicago Cubs are the only major league team without a manager. Rick Renteria is the favorite to be the Cubs manager and it appears an announcement is coming soon. Renteria is a strong teacher and with a young Cubs roster that is a key to the Cubs brass. Renteria has been in the game a long time and he has been a bench coach with the San Diego Padres. He knows Anthony Rizzo and Jedd Hoyer from their days in San Diego and Renteria should make a good fit.
  • The Washington Nationals are looking for some elite starting pitching. There is very little talent on the free agent market so the Nationals are going to have to find it via the trade market. David Price is mentioned, but I doubt Price ends up with the Nationals.
  • The Arizona Fall League began before the World Series started, but very few paid attention. That all changed this week because instant replay rules are being reviewed for the first time. In a game last night between the Mesa Solar Sox and the Salt River Raptors there were four players reviewed and none of them were overturned. We learned a couple things about how the process could look on Opening Day next season. First, a head set was brought out to the home plate umpire for each challenge that was made during the game for him to communicate with the umpire reviewing the play. Second, each review was done quickly. The longest review lasted 1 minute and 18 seconds. Its all experimental and it could all change by Opening Day, but they are implementing it now and first impressions were positive.
  • Dustin Pedroia will have thumb replacement surgery on November 12th in Arizona. Pedroia sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb while making a head-first dive at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, and dealt with the injury all season. Now that the season is over, he can get the surgery.
  • Geovany Soto and the Texas Rangers agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Rangers manager Ron Washington said,"he's our guy" so it appears we can scratch the Rangers off the list as one of the teams that would be pursuing free agent catcher Brian McCann.

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