Christian Yelich’s season-ending injury makes Cody Bellinger likely MVP

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Maybe Cody Bellinger was already going to win the MVP Award before Christian Yelich went down to a season-ending injury last night. I think he had a slight lead, if for no other reason than he’s (a) the best player on the best team; and (b) there is still some tendency for voters to not want to hand out the hardware to the same guy two years in a row.

But it was probably going to be a close vote. Closer than we thought even a week or two ago if the Brewers’ recent surge had pushed them past the Cubs and into the postseason, but still close even if the Brewers fell short.

Let’s see how they stacked up before Yelich went out:

  • Yelich: .329/.429/.671 (OPS+ 178), 44 homers, 97 RBI, 30 stolen bases, 328 total bases, bWAR 7.1, .  He was leading the league in on-base percentage, slugging, OPS (obviously) and OPS+.
  • Bellinger: .306/.410/.639 (OPS+ 172), 44 homers, 106 RBI, 11, stolen bases, 322 total bases, bWAR 8.3. He leads the NL in WAR, but in no other statistical categories.

Not that they were the only two candidates. Anthony Rendon should get some consideration from voters. So too will Ketel Marte who has, quietly, due to the lack of exposure the Diamondbacks get, I suspect, had a monster season. Both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Josh Donaldson are also high on various leaderboards for the second-best-in-the-NL Atlanta Braves, with Acuña still having a shot at the 40/40 club, which tends to excite voters even if he’s a bit farther down the list of more substantive measures.

But with nods of respect to those guys, I really do think the race was going to come down to Bellinger vs. Yelich. Now that Yelich is down, and now that some of his statistical edges will be dulled, it’s likely Bellinger’s award.

Blue Jays hire Don Mattingly as bench coach

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — Don Mattingly is joining the Toronto Blue Jays as bench coach to manager John Schneider, the team announced.

The former New York Yankees slugger, a six-time All-Star, joins the Blue Jays after seven seasons as manager of the Florida Marlins, where he won NL Manager of the Year honors in 2020.

Mattingly previously spent five seasons as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning three division titles in that span. He also worked as hitting coach and bench coach for the Yankees, and as hitting coach of the Dodgers before his managerial stint in Los Angeles.

In Toronto, Mattingly replaces Casey Candaele, who was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to serve as Schneider’s bench coach after the Jays fired manager Charlie Montoyo in July, replacing him with Schneider. The Blue Jays said Candaele will resume his job as manager of the Triple-A Bisons in 2023.

Mattingly spent his entire 14-year playing career with the Yankees, winning nine Gold Glove awards at first base, three Silver Slugger awards, the 1984 AL batting title and the 1985 AL MVP award.