They’ll be announcing both AL and NL Manager of the Year today. Let’s break it down scientifically:
One look at MLB.com’s rundown of the candidates shows you who’s gonna win this thing in the American League. It’s all Mike Scioscia, folks. The reasoning kind of goes like this: “Nice season, Ron Gardenhire. You showed great patience in coming back from so many games down so late in the season. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”
“Way to turn traditional weaknesses into strengths, Ron Washington. The fact that Texas had great pitching and played great defense and hung around that race so much longer than anyone expected is a testament to your leadership. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”
You sorta see where this one is heading. Lots of good jobs posted by AL Managers this year. Only one did a good job while leading his team through a potentially debilitating tragedy like the death of Nick Adenhart. A manager doesn’t control nearly as many things as people think, but he does ensure that his team is mentally prepared to play each night, and Mike Scioscia did that in 2009, and he did it in tougher circumstances than the other guys. It’s his award, and a it’s a well-deserved one.
The NL doesn’t have anything quite so dramatic, but almost as decisive as the “you win the award WHEN ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS IS TRAGICALLY KILLED” rule is the “you win the award when you took over for a guy who had the team floundering after 46 games and led the team on a red-hot tear the rest of the season” rule.
Let’s see, who fits that description this year? Oh, only Jim Tracy, and to expect anyone else to have a chance at it is pure folly. Torre, La Russa and Cox can compete for the gold watch award next season. This season it’s the man who brought the Rockies back from the dead.
Awards will be announced at 1:30ish.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.
Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.
This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.
Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.
Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.
A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.