White Sox and Tyler Flowers agree to one-year deal to avoid arbitration

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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the White Sox and catcher Tyler Flowers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $950,000 contract.

It was reported yesterday that the Mets could have interest if Flowers was non-tendered before tonight’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline, but the White Sox have rendered that possibility moot. The 27-year-old stumbled in his chance at the starting catcher job this year, hitting just 195 with 10 homers and a 94/14 K/BB ratio over 275 plate appearances. He lost playing time to Josh Phegley after the All-Star break and required season-ending surgery on his right shoulder in September. The expectation is that he’ll be fine for spring training, though he’ll likely have to accept a diminished role moving forward.

Flowers was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter as a Super Two player. He remains under team control though 2017.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander 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.