Asked yesterday whether the Brewers will look to trade Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun for pitching help, general manager Doug Melvin said: “I don’t see that happening.”
Milwaukee finished next-to-last in the NL with a 4.87 ERA, including a league-worst 5.37 mark from the rotation that lost CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets from 2008, but Melvin smartly seems to realize that trading MVP-caliber hitters isn’t the solution for those problems, especially when Fielder is under team control through 2011 and Braun is signed through 2015.
In fantasy baseball, you can dream about what you could get back for Prince or Ryan Braun. In reality, there’s not too many teams that can give up the package that we would really want that would guarantee you to be competitive.
Melvin also added that keeping both Alcides Escobar and J.J. Hardy next season “would be very difficult,” which makes it pretty obvious that the Brewers will be shopping Hardy for pitching help this offseason. Hardy had a very disappointing year, losing his starting job to Escobar down the stretch, but he’s still a 26-year-old shortstop with a good glove and .267/.325/.441 hitting line over the past three seasons. Milwaukee should be able to get at least a solid mid-rotation starter for Hardy.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: