Now that Peter Gammons is officially back covering the Red Sox as a part of his NESN gig, he probably feels a lot more comfortable simply working the Boston sources he’s cultivated for thirty some-odd years, and we get the benefit of it. He was on WEEI the other day and offered the following Sox tidbits:
- Forget the renewed interest in Jason Bay stuff. Not happening. They made their best offer last summer, it was no better (and maybe worse) than what the Mets have out there now, and it’s not getting any better. My thought: if Bay does go back to the Sox anyway, how much of an eff-you is that to the Mets? Then again, given how long he’s left them hanging on their current offer, the eff-you is already implied;
- No matter how much people want it to happen, the Sox and the Padres haven’t even talked about potential players that would be involved in an Adrain Gonzalez deal. As I and many others have noted in the past, Jed Hoyer is the one GM in baseball who can’t be hoodwinked by Theo when it comes to Red Sox prospects, so rather than the Padres and Sox being ideal trading partners, they’re actually horribly matched;
- Better bet for a big bat in Boston: an early-season Detroit Tigers swoon followed by a trade for Miguel Cabrera. Yes, he’s more expensive than Gonzalez, but because of that he could no doubt be more easily had;
- Jacoby Ellsbury is going to play a lot of left field. Reason: it will help save his legs, and since Mike Cameron is in the fold, it won’t mean much of a defensive hit. Ulterior motive I’m totally making up but which seems plausible: Ellsbury as a left fielder would have lower arbitration comparables than Ellsbury as a centerfielder. Though I’ll admit, I don’t know that the Sox really think that way;
- Daisuke Matsuzaka is in “unbelievable shape.” I don’t suppose that fitness will translate into him working any faster, will it? I’d like to be able to watch one of his starts without falling asleep one of these years.
- Some wishy-washy talk about how Mike Lowell could be an important contributor and presence and all of that. I still think they pay for him to to go someplace else.
Lots of other Red Sox dish at the link. Plenty to chew on with your holiday leftovers.
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: