Matt Holliday says he was interested in the Red Sox

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Following the 2009 season, there was much speculation whether the Red Sox would attempt to re-sign Jason Bay or if they’d go for an even bigger fish and try to sign Matt Holliday in free agency.

As it turned out, they did neither.  With both Bay and Holliday still waiting around for bigger offers to come in, the Red Sox spent $82.5 million to sign John Lackey and then chose Mike Cameron to round out their outfield.  A year later, they signed Carl Crawford to a $142 million deal to take over as their long-term left fielder.

The Red Sox did offer Holliday $85 million for five years, though.  And he was interested in playing in Boston.

“I liked playing there in the (2007) World Series,” he told the Boston Herald. “They were a team I was interested in. I knew some people in the organization and they were obviously very competitive, with a chance to win the World Series every year. They had everything I was looking for. And so did St. Louis – but I was definitely considering Boston if they had stayed in it.”

Of course, Holliday eventually re-signed with the Cardinals for $120 million over seven years, and he seems to have no regrets.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named 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.