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Carlos Correa edges out Francisco Lindor for 2015 AL Rookie of the Year

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In a shortstop showdown, the Astros’ Carlos Correa edged out the Indians’ Francisco Lindor for the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year Award, as announced by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Monday.

The balloting was very close, as Correa received 17 first-place votes while Lindor received 13 of his own. Correa took the award with 124 total points to 109 for Lindor. Miguel Sano was excellent in his own right this season, leading all rookies (min. 300 PA) with a .916 OPS, but he finished in a distant third-place. He appeared in just 80 games, including 69 starts out of the DH spot. That worked against him here.

Correa was already a big-name prospect coming into the year and after playing an important role for an Astros team who improved by 16 wins and reached the playoffs, so he ultimately had the narrative edge over Lindor. This isn’t to say that he wasn’t deserving. He absolutely was. After making his major league debut in June, Correa batted .279/.345/.512 with 22 home runs, 68 RBI, and 14 stolen bases over 99 games. His .857 OPS was the best among all MLB shortstops (min. 300 PA). Not bad for a rookie. Perhaps the most impressive part of it all? He didn’t turn 21 until September.

The switch-hitting Lindor played in the same number of games as Correa and was actually a pleasant surprise offensively, batting .313/.353/.482 with 12 home runs, 51 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. By the way, his .835 OPS was second-highest (min. 300 PA) among MLB shortstops. He played much better defense than Correa and actually had a higher WAR (wins above replacement), according to Baseball Reference. However, that wasn’t enough to make up for Correa’s power numbers and his presence on a playoff team. It’s ultimately hard to nitpick. Voters had two great choices. If you include Xander Bogaerts with the Red Sox, we’re looking at a possible new shortstop renaissance here.

Correa is the Astros’ first ever winner of the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Jeff Bagwell won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1991. The Astros could add some more hardware later this week, as A.J. Hinch is a finalist for the American League Manager of the Year Award (will be announced Tuesday) and left-hander Dallas Keuchel is the favorite for the American League Cy Young Award (will be announced on Wednesday).

Complete voting results for the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year Award can be found at BBWAA.com.

Nationals GM Rizzo won’t reveal length of Martinez’s new contract

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WASHINGTON — Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension.

Sharing a table to a socially distanced degree with his manager on a video conference call to announce the new deal – each member of the duo sporting a 2019 World Series ring on his right hand – Nationals GM Mike Rizzo referred to the agreement’s “multiyear” nature, but repeatedly refused to reveal anything more specific in response to reporters’ questions.

“We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own. “That’s all we want to say about terms, because it’s private information and we don’t want you guys to know about it.”

When Martinez initially was hired by Rizzo in October 2017 – his first managing job at any level – the Nationals’ news release at the time announced that he was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year.

That 2021 option had not yet been picked up.

“The partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and kind of our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

The Nationals entered Saturday – Martinez’s 56th birthday – with a 23-34 record and in last place in the NL East, which Rizzo called “a disappointing season.” The team’s title defense was slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg threw just five innings because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand and players such as Starlin Castro, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Adam Eaton and Carter Kieboom finished the year on the IL.

“This year, for me, we didn’t get it done. We had a lot of bumps in the road this year. But I really, fully believe, we’ve got the core guys here that we need to win another championship,” Martinez said. “I know Mike, myself, we’re going to spend hours and hours and hours trying to fill the void with guys we think can potentially help us in the future. And we’ll be back on the podium. I’m really confident about that.”

Rizzo was asked Saturday why the team announces contract lengths for players, as is common practice around the major leagues, but wouldn’t do so in this instance for Martinez.

“The reason is we don’t want anybody to know. That’s the reason,” Rizzo said, before asking the reporter: “How much do you make? How many years do you have?”

Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. I don’t want you to know what I make or how many years I have. Davey doesn’t want you to know. And I think that it’s only fair … when people don’t want certain information out there, that we don’t give it.”

There were some calling for Martinez to lose his job last season when Washington got off to a 19-31 start. But Rizzo stood by his manager, and the team eventually turned things around, going 74-38 the rest of the way to reach the playoffs as an NL wild-card team.

The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7.

Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.

“Everything from Day 1 to where he’s gotten to now, he’s grown so much. He’s really become one of my favorite managers of all,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said after helping Washington win Saturday’s opener of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. “Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse, manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line.”