Oakland Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane was voted Major League Baseball Executive of the Year yesterday. It was the inaugural vote for this newly-created award.
Each team got one vote, which had to be submitted before the end of the regular season. I’d be curious to hear from the voters what criteria they used, but I doubt they’ll say so. Given Beane’s win, one might suspect that it is a lot like the Manager of the Year Award, which is usually based on expectations. No one expected the A’s to win, they did, they did it with a low payroll and, voila.
Heck, now that I think about it, I wonder if MLB executives awarding someone who had success with a low payroll doesn’t carry with it a whole other bag of insights regarding what, exactly, MLB executives value, but I suppose we’ll leave that for another rant.
Beane, 56, has headed baseball operations for the A’s since after the 1997 season, first as general manager, and in his current role since the end of the 2015 season.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.