Daily Dose: Wakefield floats to DL

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Clay Buchholz is back in Boston’s rotation after making a spot start
last week, as the Red Sox put Tim Wakefield on the disabled list
Tuesday. Wakefield, who was picked for his first All-Star game last
week, tweaked his lower back while tossing a bullpen session Saturday
and the AL co-leader in wins will have to wait a while for victory No.
12.

Buchholz will pitch in Wakefield’s place Wednesday against the
Rangers after he allowed one run in 5.2 innings versus the Blue Jays
last week. He struggled with Boston last season, going 2-9 with a 6.75
ERA in 76 innings, but Buchholz is still just 24 years old and has
definitely earned another chance after going 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA and
89/30 K/BB ratio in 99 innings at Triple-A. He has AL-only value.

While the Red Sox’s vaunted starting pitching depth continues to come in handy, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Scott Olsen will miss the remainder of this season following
surgery to repair a partially torn labrum, but the good news is that he
should be fully healthy in time for spring training. Had it been a
fully torn labrum Olsen would’ve been facing at least 12 months of
recovery and rehab, but the Nationals’ team doctor described this
surgery as “just a clean-up procedure.” Healthy or not, he’s a question mark.

* Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi revealed Tuesday that he’s
set a July 28 deadline to deal Roy Halladay, adding: “At this point
it’s probably unlikely that we’ll trade Doc” because “no one has really
stepped up yet” with a big offer. July 28 is the deadline because
Halladay is scheduled to start on July 29 against the Mariners,
although my guess is that a great offer on July 30 would be listened
to.

* Hours after some doofus at Circling the Bases
suggested that he might be a better trade target than Halladay, Cliff
Lee allowed one run in a complete-game victory against none other than
the Blue Jays. Two straight complete-game wins have his ERA down to
3.17 and Tuesday’s gem involved outlasting rookie Brett Cecil’s seven
shutout innings.

* Failing to make it out of the third inning in back-to-back outings
earned Andrew Miller a trip back to the minors Tuesday. Miller’s raw
stuff has always been good enough to dominate and he has 206 strikeouts
in 258 career innings, but horrible control has too often been his
undoing with 143 walks. Also of note is that Miller initially looked
like an extreme ground-ball pitcher, but has been neutral recently.

* Gaby Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A to take Miller’s roster
spot and could get a shot at third base if the Marlins finally realize
that Emilio Bonifacio’s great speed doesn’t make up for a .617 OPS and
bad defense. Sanchez hit just .281 with nine homers in 60 games at
Triple-A and is already 25 years old, but batted .314/.404/.513 with 17
homers, 42 doubles, and 17 steals at Double-A last year.

AL Quick Hits: John Danks has been scratched from his scheduled
Wednesday start with a blister on his index finger … Carlos Guillen has
put his rehab stint on hold to have his sore shoulder examined by a
team doctor … Franklin Gutierrez is day-to-day with left knee and left
elbow contusions after violently crashing into the outfield wall
Tuesday … Justin Duchscherer (elbow) threw a simulated game Tuesday and
could begin a rehab assignment next week … Clayton Richard got a
no-decision for the best start of his career Tuesday, allowing one run
in eight innings … Jack Hannahan homered twice Tuesday to double his
hit total with the Mariners … Josh Beckett lost Tuesday for the first
time since June 14, giving up four runs in eight innings … Sergio Mitre
won for the first time since July of 2007 in his Yankees debut Tuesday
… Jeff Niemann won his fifth straight decision by tossing eight innings
of two-run ball Tuesday, whiffing seven and walking none.

NL Quick Hits: Lance Berkman will rest for a few days after
being diagnosed with a Grade 2 calf strain … Ryan Dempster is slated to
have his broken toe X-rayed Thursday and may then be cleared to throw …
Jim Riggleman finally got into the win column Tuesday with John
Lannan’s first complete-game shutout … Brandon Phillips was benched
Tuesday after not running out a fly ball Monday … Braden Looper
combined with three relievers to shut out the Pirates on Tuesday … John
Maine (shoulder) faced Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado in a 65-pitch
simulated game Tuesday … Mark DeRosa homered twice Tuesday for his
second straight multi-hit game … Ryan Sadowski’s deal with the devil
finally ran out Tuesday, as he coughed up eight runs … Manny Ramirez
left Tuesday’s game and was taken for X-rays after being hit on the
hand by a pitch … Oliver Perez allowed four runs in six innings Tuesday
and has a 12/17 K/BB ratio since rejoining the Mets.

Who should win the manager of the year awards? Who Will?

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 15:  Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dougout during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
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With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Manager of the Year Awards

The Manager of the Year Award is pretty dumb. Numbers aren’t everything in any award, but there are literally zero numbers that gauge a manager’s effectiveness or performance apart from wins and losses and wins and losses are mostly a function of talent on the roster, for which the manager is not responsible. This is not to say managers aren’t important. Of course they are! They make important decisions every day and keep the clubhouse running smoothly and that’s important. It just so happens to be unquantifiable and subject to anecdote and projection.

For instance, Matt Williams won the Manager of the Year Award with he Nationals in 2014. He was run out of town on a rail in 2015. Did he suddenly forget how to manage? Or did he never really know but was blessed with good fortune and better players the year before?

Joe Maddon won the award last year, in large part because the Cubs outperformed expectations. This year the Cubs are the best team around. But everyone expected them to be because of all that talent! Does that mean that Maddon’s 2015 award was fraudulent? The product of poor expectations assessment on behalf of the media? At the same time, there’s a pretty strong vibe that he won’t win it this year, so are we to say that winning between 101 and 104 games is . . . a worse job than last year? Don’t even get me started on arguments that Bruce Bochy somehow became a lesser manager this year, because I suspect — and bear with me on this — something else is going on with the Giants.

Manager of the Year has always been about narratives and expectations of people on the outside looking in who nonetheless purport to know how the manager performed his job in the most inside baseball kinds of ways. It’s poppycock. It may as well be the Golden Globes.

So, rather than just break it down the way we did the other awards, let’s just thrown this out like the big mess that it is:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Bill and Ashley say that Terry Francona should be the American League Manager of the Year. Bill’s reasoning: “The Indians went essentially the whole year without Michael Brantley and their pitching staff imploded in September. Francona deserves a lot of credit for holding the team together.”

Hey, works for me too! Let’s give it to Tito. Even if we can tell a compelling story about John Farrell and the Red Sox and even if Jeff Banister, the reigning AL Manager of the Year, improved by anywhere from 6-9 games in the standings this year over last in a division most people thought the Astros would win.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Bill says Dusty Baker, arguing that “The Nationals had all kinds of bullpen issues and Stephen Strasburg wasn’t able to pitch the final two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker.”

Ashley says Dave Roberts. She didn’t give me her reasoning, but I bet she’d agree with me if I said “The Nationals Dodgers had all kinds of bullpen rotation issues and Stephen Strasburg Clayton Kershaw wasn’t able to pitch for two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker Roberts.” You could throw in some stuff about how Yasiel Puig was managed by Roberts (i.e. better, though his come-to-Jesus demotion may have been the front office’s doing). I think I’ll go with Roberts, simply because I feel like it’d be bad precedent to give it to a Nationals manager every even numbered year simply because that dang franchise is inconsistent.

What about the Cubs? Here’s Bill again:

I considered Joe Maddon of the Cubs, but the team was so good I think the Cubs could’ve had a kitten manage the team to a playoff berth.

I say we give it to a kitten. Kittens are the best.

Who Should win the Rookie of the Year Awards? Who Will?

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his three run homerun for a 6-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Rookie of the Year Awards

This is a whole heck of a lot easier than the MVP and Cy Young Awards, that’s for sure. It’s a two horse race in the AL and a one-horse race in the NL.

Who should win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

It seemed like Tigers starter Michael Fulmer would be the no-brainer choice for a good long while, as his low ERA and solid performance helped carry the Tigers when their starting pitching wasn’t doing them any favors. But then the Yankees called up catcher Gary Sanchez at the beginning of August and all he’s done since then is hit .303/.378/.672 with an astonishing 20 homers in his first 51 games. Fulmer has continued to be solid — he’s just short of qualifying for the ERA title, but does have the league’s lowest ERA at 3.06 — but Sanchez has been spectacular.

The MVP and Cy Young Award require full season contributions. Not everyone takes the Rookie of the Year Award quite as seriously, it seems, and are thus more willing to entertain smaller samples of excellence over large samples of solid work when it comes to the award. That’s how Bill and I think about it anyway, giving the nod to Sanchez’s historic two-month run. Ashley, however, favors Fulmer’s larger volume of work. You can’t really go wrong with either choice:

Craig: Sanchez
Bill: Sanchez
Ashley: Fulmer

Who will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

Hard call. I have no idea what voters will do on that quantity/quality calculation. I’ll guess Fulmer, but it’s just a guess. I could just as easily see Sanchez given some quasi-MVP credit for helping the Yankees remain relevant after the trade deadline and throw it his way.

 

Who should win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If you say anyone other than Corey Seager, and his .311/.369/.519 26 homer batting line, the state has authorized me to have you taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point your competence to reenter society will be gauged. But there is ice cream there.

Craig: Seager
Bill: Seager
Ashley: Seager

 

Who will win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If any BBWAA voter lists anyone other than Corey Seager at the top of his or her Rookie of the Year ballot, the state has authorized me to have them taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point their competence to reenter society will be gauged. They will not, however, be allowed to have any ice cream because, really, they should know better. They’re professionals.