Video: Daniel Hudson strikes out Michael Brantley to clinch championship for Nationals

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Daniel Hudson signed a minor league contract with the Angels in February. He opted out near the end of spring training, catching on with the Blue Jays before the start of the regular season. For the Blue Jays, who would go on to finish 67-95, Hudson put up career-altering numbers: a 3.00 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 23 walks across 48 innings. The resurgent Nationals acquired him from the Jays at the July 31 trade deadline in exchange for minor leaguer Kyle Johnston. In his new uniform, Hudson would allow just four earned runs with a 23/4 K/BB ratio in 25 innings, helping the Nationals claim the first NL Wild Card.

On Wednesday night in Houston, in Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros, Hudson worked a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the final two batters to clinch the first championship in Nationals franchise history. That is quite the year. From minor league contract and opting out to hoisting a championship trophy.

Here is Hudson’s memorable final pitch to Michael Brantley to end Game 7:

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).