It should come as no surprise that the lone first-place vote for Michael Young in the AL MVP balloting was cast by a Rangers writer. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News provided a long explanation for his reasoning (or lack thereof).
Mostly, it reads like a man trying to convince himself that his hometown hero should be the choice. Look at gems like these:
He hit .340 or better for each of the infield positions he played. He hit .319 or better for each of the three spots in the order.
When both [Josh] Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were out in May, Young outhit his teammates by 30 points to keep the offense treading water. When Adrian Beltre went down for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Young (.354) outhit the rest of his teammates by 20 points.
My eyes told me Michael Young meant more to the Texas Rangers and their success than any player in the American League.
I like that last sentence the best. Because there’s nothing else in the article that lends credence to the idea that one had to see Young on an everyday basis to get a true read on his worth. Except for maybe one line (“They did it, in large part, because every time their ship threatened to take on water, Michael Young led the effort to bail them out.”), the rest of the article is all facts and statistics supporting the case.
And, of course, facts and statistics aren’t really on Grant’s side here.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”