Daily Dose: Webb finished in Arizona?

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Last week various reports surfaced that the Diamondbacks don’t plan to exercise the $8.5 million option on Brandon Webb for 2010 and would instead attempt to work out a new, incentive-laden deal for the injured right-hander.
Those plans hit a major snag Tuesday when Webb said that he’s not willing to take a discount to remain in Arizona “if it comes down to that and they ask me to do something like that.”
While paying $8.5 million for Webb next season is a huge risk for the Diamondbacks given that he hasn’t pitched since Opening Day thanks to a shoulder injury, it doesn’t make much sense for him to accept a below-market deal when big-payroll teams like the Yankees and Red Sox would definitely take fliers on him being healthy. As he put it: “I’d have to see what else is out there and see if there’s something better.”
While the Diamondbacks learn that declining the $8.5 million will likely mean the end of Webb’s time in Arizona, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Zack Greinke moved one step closer to the Cy Young award by picking up his 15th victory with six shutout innings Tuesday. Greinke has clearly been the league’s best pitcher this season, but it remains unclear if Cy Young voters will look past a modest win total due largely to horrendous teammates. Fifteen victories and an MLB-leading 2.08 ERA will hopefully do the trick, and he likely has a couple more starts left.
* Already sidelined by a strained calf, Kevin Kouzmanoff is now suffering from a sore back and may not be able to return this season. Chase Headley has looked good at third base in his absence, hitting .349 with seven extra-base hits in 11 games back at the spot he played in the minors. Kouzmanoff has long been linked to various trade rumors and the Padres seem more likely than ever to pull the trigger this winter.
* Three months ago the Cardinals signed 16-year-old outfielder Wagner Mateo out of the Dominican Republic for $3.1 million, but the contract was voided Tuesday based on the “pre-existing injuries and physical defects” clause relating to a vision problem. Wagner is now free to sign with any team and will surely land somewhere for a solid chunk of change, but won’t get the second-largest Latin American bonus ever again.
AL Quick Hits: Bobby Jenks may be done for the year after aggravating his calf injury Tuesday … Michael Young (hamstring) had trouble simply jogging Monday and is no sure thing to play again this season … Denard Span missed Tuesday’s game with the side effects from being plunked on the helmet Monday, so Carlos Gomez played center field and led off in his place … Edwin Jackson tossed seven shutout innings Tuesday amid speculation that he’s been tipping pitches recently … Glen Perkins will get a second opinion on his injured shoulder from Dr. Lewis Yocum … Brian Roberts smacked his MLB-leading 55th double Tuesday, tying Lance Berkman’s record for a switch-hitter … Matt LaPorta exited Tuesday’s game after injuring his hip sliding into home plate … Josh Hamilton (glute) may return as soon as this weekend after taking batting practice and shagging fly balls Tuesday … Billy Butler’s batting average has dipped below .300, but he’s still close to some big-time company.
NL Quick Hits: Jair Jurrjens is 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA against the Mets this season after Tuesday’s gem … Joe Blanton threw seven shutout innings Tuesday, allowing three or fewer runs for the 14th time in 15 starts … Chris Snyder will undergo back surgery Wednesday, but should be ready for spring training … Aaron Cook (shoulder) is set to rejoin the rotation Friday after missing over a month … Angel Guzman (triceps) has been shut down for the year after posting a 2.95 ERA and 47/23 K/BB ratio in 61 innings … Brian McCann left Tuesday’s game with a bruised wrist … Despite leaving his last outing after just three innings, J.A. Happ will make his scheduled Thursday start … Carlos Gonzalez left Tuesday’s game after straining his hamstring on a triple, with Seth Smith replacing him … Gary Sheffield said Tuesday that he plans to play in 2010 at the age of 41 … Brett Myers (shoulder) will be shut down for one week after an MRI exam showed a Grade 1 strain … Willy Taveras returned from the disabled list Tuesday after missing over a month.

MVP or not, Mike Trout’s place in history is secure

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Mike Trout may not win another MVP award, because Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had a great season and voters seem to be leaning his way, but the Angels center fielder just completed his fourth MVP-caliber campaign in four full seasons as a major leaguer.

Trout has now either won the MVP or (presumably) finished runner-up at age 20, age 21, age 22, and age 23. And there were certainly cases to be made that he was deserving of all four MVP awards. It’s been an incredible start to a career. But how incredible?

Here are the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement through age 23:

37.6 – Mike Trout
36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez
27.5 – Al Kaline
26.7 – Arky Vaughan
26.5 – Rogers Hornsby

I mean, just look at the 10 names on that list. Ridiculous, and Trout sits atop all of them.

Trout has been the subject of intense MVP-related debates in three of his four seasons, but regardless of which side of that coin you favor don’t let it obscure the fact that we’re witnessing something truly special here. There’s certainly room to quibble with the exact rankings–WAR is merely one prominent and easy way to do such things–but however you slice it Trout has been one of the best handful of players in the history of baseball through age 23.

Orioles say re-signing Chris Davis is “a top priority”

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Last week impending free agent Chris Davis expressed frustration that the Orioles had not approached him about a contract extension during the season, pointing out that the team had previously locked up other players like J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones mid-season.

Now that the season is over and Davis had another monster year Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that re-signing Davis is “a top priority” and added:

He’s had a great year and he’s been a great player for us, so obviously, we’d like to have him back. Whether we can do that in the market, that remains to be seen, but we’re going to try.

Davis is 29 years old, has some defensive versatility, and has led the league in homers in two of the past three seasons while posting an .891 OPS during that time. He’s going to get plenty of huge multi-year offers and based on some of Duquette’s other quotes within Encina’s article it sure sounds like the Orioles are preparing for life without him.