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Blake Snell, Jacob deGrom win 2018 Cy Young Awards

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The 2018 Cy Young Award results are in. Your winners are Blake Snell of the Rays in the American League and Jacob deGrom of the Mets in the National League.

Snell, 25, won a major league-best 21 games with only five losses and posted an AL-best 1.89 ERA with 221 strikeouts and 64 walks in 180 2/3 innings. The lefty is the first member of the Rays to win the Cy Young Award since David Price in 2012. Snell and Price are the only Cy Young winners in Rays history.

Snell received 17 first-place votes and narrowly finished ahead of Astros ace Justin Verlander in total points with 169. Verlander had 13 first-place votes and 154 total points. Indians ace Corey Kluber finished a distant third with 71 points. Also receiving votes were Chris Sale of the Red Sox, Gerrit Cole of the Astros, Trevor Bauer of the Indians, Blake Treinen of the Athletics, Edwin Díaz of the Mariners, and Luis Severino of the Yankees.

The 2018 AL Cy Young Award debate was anything but one-sided. While Snell had the ERA edge over the competition, Verlander pitched about 35 more innings and led the league with 290 strikeouts. Interestingly, neither writer from the Tampa Bay chapter voted for Verlander higher than third place. Mark Didtler, an AP freelancer, had Verlander third while Bill Madden of the New York Daily News had Verlander in fourth place behind Blake Treinen. If a chapter doesn’t have enough members, a member from another chapter will represent that city. Madden was a replacement voter.

For the first time since 2015, Max Scherzer is not the NL Cy Young Award winner. As expected, deGrom took home the hardware despite a 10-9 record, showing that the BBWAA electorate has, generally, gotten with the times by not regarding win-loss records as highly as they used to. deGrom put up a historically great and best-in-baseball 1.70 ERA along with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks over 217 innings. deGrom and Zack Greinke (1.66 in 2015) are the only pitchers to post a 1.70 ERA or lower dating back to 1996. It had only been done four other times since 1969: by Greg Maddux twice (1994-95), Dwight Gooden (1985), and Nolan Ryan (1981).

deGrom almost won the award unanimously, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes with 207 total points. Scherzer got the other first-place vote with 123 total points. The Phillies’ Aaron Nola finished in third place with 86 points. Also receiving votes were Kyle Freeland of the Rockies, Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks, Miles Mikolas of the Cardinals, Josh Hader of the Brewers, Mike Foltynewicz of the Braves, and Jon Lester of the Cubs.

deGrom is the first Met to win the Cy Young Award since R.A. Dickey in 2012. Other Cy Young winners from the Mets include Dwight Gooden (1985), and Tom Seaver (1969, ’73, ’75).

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”