MLB Midseason Award Winners: Cy Young

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There was no baseball yesterday. There is no baseball today. There will be baseball tomorrow, but not until 7:05 PM, so it’s basically three days without anyone throwing a pitch in anger. Let’s kill the time, then, by arguing about who, if the season ended today, would be your award winners. Next up: the Cy Young Award

AL CY Young Award

Chris Sale is the best answer in my book. And probably everyone else’s. He leads the AL in strikeouts and innings pitched. He’s second in ERA, but not by much. He has the best WHIP. He’s second in wins if you’re into that sort of thing, and and he’s allowed only two earned runs in 22 innings in his three no-decisions. He’s allowing fewer hits per nine innings than any other qualified starter in the AL. If you wanna go with the narrative, he’s doing it in Boston which has historically not been kind to big name newcomers. People will credit him for toughness for that, even though that whole Boston thing makes me roll my eyes.

Jason Vargas is has made a lot of headlines in the first half. He leads in ERA, ERA+ and wins. He also trails Sale by a full 100 strikeouts. Smoke and mirrors. Corey Kluber, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers have been good, though all have missed time. Really, though, Sale has been the best pitcher in the American League and that’s what this is all about.

NL Cy Young Award

What kind of crazy is it that people can, reasonably, say that Clayton Kershaw is having a “down” year when he’s on pace to go 25-4 with a 2.18 ERA and 286 strikeouts? We’re spoiled, frankly. We don’t deserve him. He’s the best pitcher since Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens roamed the Earth in their primes. Before he’s done he’ll be among the best to ever play the game. He’s already there, really.

Still, Max Scherzer has had a better half. He’s been damn nigh historic, in fact, leading Kershaw by a full win in WAR, which is almost hard to get your mind around. He’s on pace for 318 strikeouts in 236 innings. His rate stats are astounding, as he’s allowing only 5.1 hits per nine innings and is striking out 12.1 batters per nine. Opponents are batting just .163 with a .514 OPS against him. He leads the NL in FIP, ERA, ERA+ complete games, strikeouts, WHIP, hit rate and K rate, all while being a total workhorse, trailing only Kershaw in innings pitched.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.