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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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.