Mark Cuban is not interested in the Mets or the Dodgers

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There aren’t many sure things in this world, but one sure thing is that whenever a baseball team’s ownership situation is in flux, people will start mentioning Mark Cuban’s name.  This time Cuban is making a preemptive strike:

“I’m not chasing any more baseball teams … “I’ve just come to the conclusion, if I’m going to write a huge check, I’d rather be wooed than have to chase … whether it’s here or the Dodgers, for that matter, I’m not going to put myself in a bidding situation.”

The “here” referred to the Mets.

I get why people always think about Cuban in these situations. He owns a sports franchise already and has expressed interest in at least two baseball teams in the past. But if you believe Wikipedia, there are over 400 billionaires in the United States alone.  Figure there are scores more Chuck Greenberg-types (i.e. mere millionaires who can wrangle together a number of rich investors).  As such, it’s always a smarter bet to pick “the field” before focusing on Cuban.  And that’s before you even figure in baseball’s alleged reluctance to allow Cuban into the ownership club.

No one ever mentions, I dunno, Jerry Yang or George Lucas or Michael Dell or any of the other people scads of money.  Heck, maybe we should start a new category of billionaire rumor-mongering.  That would keep us occupied until spring training starts.

Heard this: Gordon Getty was seen buying a Dodgers cap at an Inglewood gas station yesterday …

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: