Rays “remain interested in” re-signing Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman

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Last offseason the Rays signed Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman to one-year deals and got good value out of both players, but rather than simply let them walk as free agents Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Tribune writes that they “remain interested in” re-signing both hitters.

“They are very prominent in our discussions right now as we’re going through things,” executive vice president Andrew Friedman told Smith. “I expect that will continue.”

Most likely the Rays will only be interested in re-signing Damon and Kotchman if the market for them is weak enough to create another bargain situation.

Damon hit .261 with a .743 OPS in 150 games, which is hardly top notch production from a corner outfielder/designated hitter, and at age 38 even maintaining that performance will be tough. Kotchman was much better, hitting .306 with an .800 OPS, but prior to signing with the Rays he’d been terrible for three straight seasons.

Jose Altuve and Corey Kluber head list of Esurance MLB Award winners

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The 2017 MLB award season officially drew to a close on Friday with the Esurance MLB Awards, handed out to the best hitters, pitchers, front office members and moments in the 2017 season. Jose Altuve was crowned the Best Major Leaguer overall, beating out fellow finalists Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, while two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber took home honors as Best Pitcher.

Here’s the full list of winners:

  • Best Rookie: Aaron Judge
  • Best Defensive Player: Nolan Arenado
  • Personality of the Year: Adrian Beltre
  • Best Postseason Major Leaguer: Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander
  • Best Postseason Moment: Alex Bregman‘s 10th inning walk-off single in Game 5 of the World Series (video)
  • Best TV/Radio Call: Joe Buck and John Smoltz call Jose Altuve’s game-tying three-run blast in Game 5 of the World Series (video)
  • Best Play (Offense): Nolan Arenado completes the cycle with a walk-off homer (video)
  • Best Play (Defense): Austin Jackson‘s over-the-wall catch in the Red Sox’ bullpen (video)
  • Best Single-Game Performance: Anthony Rendon‘s six-hit, three-homer, 10-RBI game (video)
  • Best Player-Fan Interaction: Joey Votto gives Walter “Superbubz” Herbert a bat and jersey (video)
  • Best Fan Catch: Fan’s brother-in-law grabs Yasiel Puig home run ball and chucks it back on the field (video)
  • Best Manager: A.J. Hinch
  • Best Executive: Jeff Luhnow

No surprises here — the world champion Astros ran away with seven awards, including those for Best Manger and Executive and a dual award for Best Major Leaguer of the Postseason. Altuve added to an impressive run this offseason after earning a Silver Slugger, two Players Choice Awards, Hank Aaron Award and MVP Award for his outstanding work in 2017, while Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge continued to be a lock for all AL rookie-based awards after locking down the Rookie of the Year title earlier this week.