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J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich among 2018 Silver Slugger Award winners

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Awards season continues with the 2018 Silver Slugger Awards handed out on Thursday evening. Here are your winners:

American League

  • C: Salvador Pérez, Royals (second)
  • 1B: José Abreu, White Sox (second)
  • 2B: José Altuve, Astros (fifth)
  • 3B: José Ramírez, Indians (second)
  • SSFrancisco Lindor, Indians (second)
  • OF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox (second)
  • OF: Mike Trout, Angels (sixth)
  • OF: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (second)
  • DH: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (third)

It was almost a clean sweep for Josés across the AL infield. One can certainly make an argument for Xander Bogaerts over Lindor at shortstop, but it’s splitting hairs. Bogaerts had a .373 weighted on-base average (wOBA) to Lindor’s .368. Lindor, however, led in many of the counting stats like home runs (38 to 23) and runs scored (129 to 72) while coming to the plate 165 more times. A similar hair-splitting case can be made for Alex Bregman over Ramírez at third base.

Martinez getting the award as both an outfielder and as a DH — becoming the first player to ever win the award twice in the same year — is interesting. It’s deserved, of course, as he had an absurdly productive season, batting .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs and 130 RBI in 649 plate appearances. Martinez was far above his competition (excepting winners Trout and Betts) at both positions. Martinez, however, played 93 games at DH and 57 as an outfielder. Just give the award to him as a DH and give Aaron Judge the third outfield Silver Slugger. Alternatively, give Martinez the award as an outfielder and Khris Davis as the DH.

National League

Lots of first-time winners in the National League, including Markakis. I would have given the award to a handful of hitters over Markakis, whose .345 wOBA ranked 13th of 26 qualified outfielders. Brandon Nimmo, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Rhys Hoskins, Lorenzo Cain, José Martínez, Ben Zobrist, Gregory Polanco, and Matt Kemp had a higher wOBA than Markakis, and Cody Bellinger tied him. That Markakis got a Silver Slugger is perplexing.

Really splitting hairs here, but Michael Lorenzen should’ve gotten the Silver Slugger for pitchers. Lorenzen hit, in 34 plate appearances, .290/.330/.710 with four homers and 10 RBI. Márquez hit .300/.300/.350 with a homer and five RBI in 65 PA.

Overall, though, the Silver Sluggers went to the most deserving players.

Report: Nathan Eovaldi drawing interest from at least nine teams

Nathan Eovaldi
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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.