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Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Altuve take home 2017 Most Valuable Player Awards

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was named the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He narrowly edged out Reds first baseman Joey Votto, as both received the same number of first-place votes, but Stanton received one more second- and third-place vote. Stanton had 302 total points to Votto’s 300.

Stanton, 28, led all of baseball with 59 home runs and 132 RBI, and led the National League with a .631 slugging percentage. He also hit .281 with a .376 on-base percentage, scoring 123 runs in 692 plate appearances. Stanton is the first member of the Marlins to win the MVP Award since the team came into existence in 1993.

In the run-up to Thursday’s announcement, there was yet another debate about whether or not MVP award winners should come from playoff teams. Stanton’s Marlins finished 77-85, 20 games behind the NL East-winning Nationals, so it seems that most voters — many of whom also placed Votto highly despite his team’s 68-94 record — don’t place as much value on a team’s finish as much as they used to.

Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished in third place with 239 points. He was followed by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (229) and Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon (205). Others receiving votes included Anthony Rendon, Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Max Scherzer, Tommy Pham, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rizzo, J.D. Martinez, Kenley Jansen, Marcell Ozuna, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Daniel Murphy, Archie Bradley, Zack Greinke, and Ryan Zimmerman.

In the American League, Jose Altuve convincingly won the 2017 MVP Award. He received 27 of 30 first-place votes, racking up 405 total points. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge finished in second place with 279 points and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez finished in third place with 237 points. Others receiving votes were Mike Trout, Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, Corey Kluber, Andrelton Simmons, Chris Sale, Nelson Cruz, Brian Dozier, Jonathan Schoop, George Springer, Jose Abreu, Eric Hosmer, Justin Upton, Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Marwin Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Didi Gregorius, Khris Davis, Josh Donaldson, and Gary Sanchez.

Altuve, 27, led all of baseball with a .346 batting average and led the AL with 204 hits en route to helping the Astros win the AL West with 101 wins, then dispatched of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers to win the World Series. He also had a .410 on-base percentage, a .547 slugging percentage, 39 doubles, 24 home runs, 32 stolen bases, 81 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 662 plate appearances during the regular season. He is the first Astro to win the MVP Award since Jeff Bagwell in the strike-shortened 1994 season.

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.

While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.

Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.

Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.

For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.