The Baseball Writers Association of America had their big annual meeting this morning. Two things of note happened:
- The writers honored Philly writer Bill Conlin with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. This is what people refer to when they say that someone has been elected to the “writer’s wing of the Hall of Fame.” There is no wing. There’s a plaque. Good for Conlin, but I’d be lying if I said that his baseball writing over the past couple of decades was Hall of Fame worthy. Oh well, not my club.
- A proposal by Jayson Stark to make an end-of-year award for relief pitchers was rejected.
I hadn’t thought about a reliever award much until I just heard Stark talking about it to someone, but I think it’s a great idea. The one objection people have offered to it is that it would turn into an award to the saves leader or something, further glorifying an all-too-glorified statistic, but I disagree. Look what the end-of-year award debates have done for pitchers wins. When there are stakes to it, thinking gets focused and progress is made. At least recently. Just ask Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum.
Oh well. Neat idea, Mr. Stark. I bet it happens eventually. I bet they name it the Mariano Rivera Award.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.