Scutaro rumor yet another cautionary tale for Hot Stove

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The unintended fallout from Saturday’s report in Venezuelan newspaper Diario Panorama regarding free agent Marco Scutaro is yet another cautionary tale of what can happen when Hot Stove news is misinterpreted.



Augusto Cardenas, who conducted the interview with Scutaro, wrote in a series of “tweets” that the Red Sox, Dodgers, Mariners and Rangers were among those interested
in the 34-year-old infielder. According to the report, Scutaro was
approached about playing shortstop for the Red Sox, second base for the
Dodgers and third base by other teams. 

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, who spoke to Cardenas on the phone, took this to mean that the Mariners and Rangers were the teams to contact Scutaro about third base, a rather curious development from the Rangers’ perspective with Michael Young expected to be the starter.



Jordan Bastain, who relayed the news via MLB.com’s Hot Stove Blog, quickly corrected the error, but the rumors made it far enough that that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was forced to address the rumblings with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.



“We haven’t inquired about anyone for 3B and have no plans to,” Daniels wrote in an email. “End of story.”



Saturday’s Hot Stove lesson? The game “Telephone” can be just as dangerous, if not more so, over the series of tubes that is the internet.

Once again, Cy Young votes from the Tampa Bay chapter were interesting

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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: