Nationals expected to decline Rafael Soriano’s option

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No surprise, but James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals are expected to decline their $14 million option on right-hander Rafael Soriano.

Soriano has been one of the best relievers in baseball for years and was fantastic in the first half with 22 saves and a 0.97 ERA, but then he posted a 6.48 ERA in the second half while being stripped of closing duties and nearly being left off the Nationals’ playoff roster.

Drew Storen, who had a 1.12 ERA this season and has a 2.94 ERA for his career, will take over as the full-time closer with Tyler Clippard as his primary setup man.

At age 34 it’s tough to imagine Soriano cashing in big on the open market, but even with the rough second half he finished with a 3.19 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio in 62 innings overall this season. And during the past three seasons combined he has a 2.84 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 196 innings.

Mike Trout voted 2019 American League Most Valuable Player

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The Baseball Writers Association of America voted Angels outfielder Mike Trout the Most Valuable Player in the American League for the 2019 season. He received 17 of 30 first-place votes, earning the third AL MVP Award of his career.

Trout, 28, missed the final three weeks of the season due to a foot injury, but his numbers were still strong enough to overcome the competition. He led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and a 185 adjusted OPS, and led the AL with a .645 slugging percentage and 1.083 OPS. He also slugged 45 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, scored 110 runs, and stole 11 bases in 600 plate appearances. FanGraphs also gave him an edge over the competition in WAR at 8.6.

Trout, who also won the award in 2014 and ’16, is the third Angel to snag the hardware, joining Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (2004). He is the 11th player to win three MVP awards, joining Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Álex Rodríguez, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols, and Barry Bonds. Bonds is the only player to have won the award more than three times, winning a whopping seven MVP awards.

Alex Bregman finished in a close second place followed by Marcus  Semien, DJ LeMahieu, and Xander Bogaerts. Also receiving votes were Matt Chapman, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Nelson Cruz, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Rafael Devers, Jorge Polanco, Austin Meadows, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Gleyber Torres, Eddie Rosario, José Abreu, Max Kepler, J.D. Martinez, Yoán Moncada, Charlie Morton, Matt Olson, and Jorge Soler.