Lincecum vs. Carpenter vs. Wainwright for the NL Cy Young

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The awards parade continues at 1:30 Eastern today, as the NL Cy Young Award is going to be announced.  Guys like Javier Vazquez and Josh Johnson could get some love, but most folks (including this folk) believes it will come down to one of these three guys:

Tim Lincecum: the incumbent had a lower ERA than he did in 2008. He walked fewer guys than he did in 2008. He struck only four fewer across a nearly identical number of innings. The only place where he took a hit was in his win total, and that’s largely on the Giants’ offense.  If Greinke’s award showed anything it showed that the writers are smarter about wins these days, so that shouldn’t be fatal to his chances, but they’re still all about storylines.  Greinke was the new young stud to most BBWAA members.  Lincecum was that last year.  It would not surprise me at all if the writers did here what they so often do and vote for a fresher face, even if he had a lesser arm.

Chris Carpenter: Not a fresh face, but certainly a comeback story and writers LOVE comeback stories.  That aside, he’s not all storyline. In fact, he’d be a great choice as he led the league in ERA, didn’t allow home runs, didn’t walk anyone and was absolutely essential to the Cards race to the division title. 

Adam Wainwright: Won more games than either Carpenter or Lincecum, but allowed more baserunners and stuff too (his WHIP: 1.210.  Lincecum’s: 1.047; Carpenter’s: 1.007).  He’s the freshest face here, though, and even if the wins won’t be the determining factor, at least a couple of writers may go in with that in an otherwise close race.

If you put a gun to my head I give it to Carpenter, though I’d be happy with Lincecum too because (a) it’s close; and (b) man, he’s pretty awesome to watch and dammit this is my blog and I’m allowed to credit him for that.  I think the writers will go with one of those two first and Wainwright in third.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.