Pirates decline 2012 options on Maholm, Snyder, and Doumit

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In a trio of expected moves the Pirates have declined their 2012 options on left-hander Paul Maholm, catcher Chris Snyder, and catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit.

Maholm was due $9.75 million and has failed to develop into more than a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter at age 29, so Pittsburgh will instead give him a $750,000 buyout.

Snyder was due $6.75 million, but missing the final three-and-half months of the season following back surgery made choosing a $750,000 buyout a no-brainer move for the Pirates.

Doumit’s deal had 2012 and 2013 options totaling $15.5 million, compared to a $500,000 buyout. Pittsburgh tried to unload his contract during spring training and he played just 77 games this season, but hit well when healthy with a .303 batting average and .830 OPS in 77 games.

Maholm should be able to find a multi-year contract on the open market, but Snyder will likely have to settle for a one-year deal to prove that he’s healthy and still capable of being a starting catcher. Doumit’s defense behind the plate may keep him from landing a full-time catching job, but he could interest AL teams as a catcher/outfielder/designated hitter.

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.