Marlins “close to signing” John Buck to three-year contract

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins are “close to signing” John Buck to a three-year contract believed to be worth more than $15 million, which is pretty remarkable for a catcher who was available to the Blue Jays for a one-year, $2 million deal last offseason.

Buck obviously boosted his value significantly with a career-year, hitting .281 with 20 homers and an .802 OPS in 118 games, but there’s little reason to think he’s capable of duplicating those numbers again consistently.

He’s always had 20-homer power, but prior to this season Buck was a career .235 hitter with a lowly .298 on-base percentage and .407 slugging percentage in 2,116 plate appearances. And while posting career-best numbers at age 29 he also had the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio in all of baseball at 111-to-16.

Buck is a solid enough catcher, but by giving him a three-year contract the Marlins are clearly paying for a repeat of 2010 and the odds are stacked against that happening.

UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that Buck will get $18 million for three years.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.