Major League Baseball revealed its 2010 Silver Slugger Award recipients this evening during a one-hour special on MLB Network. It’s the kind of show that would be far better suited for the announcement of Gold Gloves — you know, with highlights of great plays and range breakdowns — but MLBN probably had better programming lined up earlier this week when those awards were given out. Like a replay of the 1985 ALDS. Or something.
The National League recipients:
1B Albert Pujols
2B Dan Uggla
3B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Troy Tulowitzki
OF Ryan Braun
OF Matt Holliday
OF Carlos Gonzalez
P Yovani Gallardo
Reds first baseman Joey Votto outproduced Pujols this year in most of baseball’s meaningful offensive stat categories, including OPS, but Silver Sluggers are decided by MLB managers and coaches, and they obviously don’t take the voting process seriously enough to look into such things.
Gallardo, the NL’s winner at pitcher, registered a cool 837 OPS, four home runs and 10 RBI in 63 at-bats this year for the Brewers.
And the American League recipients:
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Robinson Cano
3B Adrian Beltre
SS Alexei Ramirez
OF Jose Bautista
OF Carl Crawford
OF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
Ramirez hit just .282/.313/.431 for the White Sox this season, but there aren’t a ton of highly productive shortstops in the American League these days and his 18 homers and 70 RBI are what carried him to the hardware. It was his first Silver Slugger Award.
The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.
St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.
Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?
Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.
There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:
The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.
When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.
Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?
Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.
The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.