Max Scherzer became the second Tiger in three years to claim the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, picking up 28 of the 30 first-place votes to easily outdistance the Rangers’ Yu Darvish and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma.
Darvish was second on 19 ballots to finish as the runner up to Scherzer. Iwakuma was third, getting just six picks for second place. Oddly, the two non-Scherzer first place votes didn’t go to either. Anibal Sanchez got one and finished fourth in the balloting. Chris Sale got the other and finished fifth.
With Miguel Cabrera expected to win his second straight MVP award tomorrow, Tigers players will have claimed five of the last six MVPs and Cy Young Awards handed out by AL voters. Justin Verlander won both MVP and Cy Young in 2011. Before that, the Tigers had been without a winner in either category since Willie Hernandez swept both awards in 1984.
The only non-Tiger to win AL MVP or Cy in the last three years was the Rays’ David Price in 2012.
Scherzer went 21-3, leading the AL in victories by three, to make his selection a no-brainer for a certain portion of the voters. But while the other stats don’t necessarily point to him as the AL’s best pitcher, they don’t clearly point to anyone else either. Scherzer finished fifth in the league in ERA at 2.90, but he did that it a hitter’s park with a poor defense behind him. He was also first in WHIP and second to Darvish in strikeouts. Fangraphs WAR had Scherzer as the AL’s top pitcher, while Baseball-reference WAR had Iwakuma first.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.