Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger win 2017 Rookie of the Year Awards

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As expected, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year Awards unanimously in their respective leagues, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Judge, 25, hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. He led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and walks (127). Judge made the AL All-Star team during the summer and just took home a Silver Slugger Award. He’s a major contender for the AL MVP Award as well.

Judge is the first Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year Award since Derek Jeter in 1996.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished in second place with 23 second-place votes and six third-place votes. Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini finished third with five second-place votes and 16 third-place votes. Other players receiving votes included the Athletics’ Matt Olson, the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, and the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery.

Bellinger, 22, hit .267/.352/.581 with 39 home runs, 97 RBI, and 87 runs scored in 548 plate appearances. He didn’t lead the league in any categories, but he also didn’t debut until April 25.

Dodger rookies have won the award in back-to-back years. Shortstop Corey Seager took home the honor in 2016. Prior to that, the last team to have back-to-back ROY Award winners were the 2004-05 Athletics with Bobby Crosby and Huston Street. The Dodgers, of course, have kind of made the ROY their thing as their players won the award five years running from 1992-96: Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth.

Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong finished second in balloting with 15 second-place votes and 11 third-place votes. Pirates first baseman Josh Bell finished third with 10 second-place votes and two third-place votes. Others receiving votes included the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins, the Rockies’ German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, the Padres’ Manuel Margot, the Reds’ Luis Castillo, and the Cubs’ Ian Happ.

The 2017 Rookie of the Year Awards mark the first time both winners won the award unanimously since 1997 (Scott Rolen, Nomar Garciaparra). It also happened in 1993 (Mike Piazza, Tim Salmon), and in 1987 (Benito Santiago, Mark McGwire).

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.