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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.