Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer wins AL Cy Young Award

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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.

Terry Francona isn’t sure how long his health will allow him to manage

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.

He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:

“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.

“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”

Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.

With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.

David Ortiz could be in the Red Sox TV booth this season

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 02:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his cap to fans during the pregame ceremony to honor his retirement before his last regular season home game at Fenway Park on October 2, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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A month or so ago it was reported that David Ortiz was going to meet with the Red Sox and NESN to discuss, maybe, spending some time in the broadcast booth in 2017. He’s retired now, of course. Gotta keep busy.

Today we read that, yes, Big Papi may take the mic. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said that Ortiz may be in the booth on a limited basis, and that Ortiz has talked about wanting to “dip a toe in that water.”

I’m quickly becoming a fan of ex-players who want to, as Kennedy puts it, “dip a toe” in broadcasting as opposed to those who want to make it a full-time job. Former players who become full-time broadcasters tend to start out OK, but eventually burn all of their good anecdotes from their playing days and just become sort of reactionary “back in my day” dudes. There are some exceptions to that of course — guys like John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley have kept it fresh and Tim McCarver never rested on his playing laurels as he forged a long career in the booth — but for any of those guys there are just as many Rick Mannings Bill Schroeders.

The part time guys who dip in and dip out — I’m thinking Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and even Pete Rose, who did a good job this past fall after a rocky 2015 postseason — tend to be more fresh and irreverent. They really don’t give a crap on some level because it’s not their full time job, and that not giving a crap allows them to say whatever they want. It makes for good TV.

If Papi can hold off on the F-bombs, I imagine he’d be a pretty good commentator. If he can’t, well, at least he’ll be a super entertaining one for the one or two games he gets before getting fired.