Buster Posey first catcher in 40 years to win NL MVP award

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The Giants’ Buster Posey was the runaway winner for National League Most Valuable Player honors Thursday, claiming 27 of the 32 first-place votes.

Posey was listed in the top three on every ballot to finish with 422 points. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun came in second place with three first-place votes and 285 points. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen was third with 245 points. He edged the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina even though he got no first-place votes and Molina got two. Molina finished with 241 points.

Besides those four, only one player got a top-three vote: Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was second on Tracy Ringolsby’s ballot. He finished eighth overall. San Diego’s Chase Headley was fifth, while the Mets’ David Wright and the Nationals’ Adam LaRoche tied for sixth.

Back from the broken leg that limited him to 45 games in 2011, Posey hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 homers and 103 RBI in 530 at-bats for San Francisco last season. He won the batting title because of a rule amendment that disqualified suspended teammate Melky Cabrera. Baseball-reference’s WAR had him as the league’s top player ahead of McCutchen and Braun.

Posey became the first Giant to win the award since Barry Bonds won his fourth straight in 2004. He’s the first catcher since the Reds’ Johnny Bench in 1972. Twins catcher Joe Mauer was the AL MVP in 2009.

Manny Machado reportedly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers

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This has been the worst kept secret all day, but Ken Rosenthal has now reported that, yes, Manny Machado has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The full return is not yet known, but Rosenthal says that outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz — who starred in the Futures Game on Sunday — is part of the package heading back to Baltimore. Rosenthal says that other players, and the amount of money, if any, going from Baltimore to Los Angeles, is not yet known. It would make some sense, however, for the Orioles to do that. First, to secure a better package of prospects in return and second to help the Dodgers stay under the luxury tax threshold.

That this was a done deal well before first pitch tonight is clear. As I noted earlier today, the reporters talking about the deal used far more certain terms than they usually do, keeping themselves just short of announcing that it was official. Before the All-Star Game Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was seen taking a selfie with Machado. During the game, as Kemp was mic’d up while playing the outfield, Fox broadcaster Joe Buck asked him about the possible trade and Kemp, not at all convincingly said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” and offered a chuckle.

Francisco Lindor pinch-hit for Machado in the top of the sixth inning and, at that moment, Rosenthal asked Machado about leaving Baltimore. Machado spoke of the Orioles in the past tense. Just as they went on the air, Rosenthal tweeted out news of the deal being official. It’s obvious that Major League Baseball or the teams involved asked him to embargo news of the trade until Machado was out of the game.

The mechanics of the deal will not be remembered. The significant thing is that the Dodgers just acquired the best available player at the deadline. Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI so far this year. While his shortstop defense has been suspect, his bat will play quite well at a position where the Dodgers are currently in trouble due to the season-ending injury to Corey Seager. Machado will slot right into shortstop for the current NL West leaders, and will add serious pop to what has already been a potent lineup all year long. Machado will be a free agent at the end of the season, but he’ll be an excellent rental for the Dodgers for the final two and a half months of the season and into the playoffs, should the Dodgers make it to October.

Diaz homered twice in the Futures Game on Sunday. He’s only 21, but he’s already raking in Double-A ball, hitting .314/.428/.477 with six homers in 59 games at Tulsa. He’s a top-100 prospect in all of baseball and figures to be a star in the majors at some point in the next year or two.

We’ll update when more is known about the package returning to Baltimore, but for now all that matters is that Manny Machado is L.A.-bound.