The Yankees began to put the finishing touches on their Opening Day roster yesterday by choosing Shawn Kelley for a bullpen spot over David Aardsma, who was designated for assignment.
According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Aardsma “didn’t really fit” with the team’s bullpen, as they wanted someone who could provide multiple innings at a time. Kelley threw more than one inning in 12 of his 47 appearances with the Mariners last season.
Aardsma has only pitched in one game in the majors over the past two seasons following a hip injury and Tommy John surgery, but he had a 3.52 ERA and 7/2 K/BB ratio over 7 2/3 innings this spring and finally appears to be healthy. The 31-year-old right-hander posted a 2.90 ERA and 69 saves with the Mariners from 2009-2010, so someone figures to take a chance on him. He’s set to make $500,000 in 2013.
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.