It was another slow day in the MLB, but a few things worth noting:
- In an unsurprising move, the Nationals and manager Davey Johnson have agreed to a deal to keep Johnson with the club through 2013, after which he will move into a consultants role. At 70 years old, Johnson will be the oldest MLB manager as he takes retired Jack McKeon's crown as "septuagenarian-manager-most-likely-to-yell-at-grounds-crew-to-get-off-the-damn-lawn"
- Fox's Ken Rosenthal confirms the LA Dodgers bid for 25-year-old Korean southpaw Ryu Hyun-jin at $25.6 million. (Hey Dodgers, I'm Korean, 25-years-old and will try out for $500 for what it's worth)
- The Boston Red Sox have signed backup catcher David Ross to a two-year, $6.2 million contract. The 35-year-old Ross may have been the best backup catcher in baseball, backing up Brian McCann for the past four years in Atlanta.
- Former Yankee great, Tino Martinez has been hired by the Miami Marlins as their new hitting coach. Let's see if new Marlins manager Mike Redmond brings in Darryl Strawberry as a motivational speaker next...
- Anibal Sanchez has set the free agent pitching market by asking for contract in the range of 6-years, $90 million. I doubt he is worth that much, but give the kid props. There's no bigger job interview than a World Series postseason run with Detroit and Sanchez killed it.
- And finally, congrats to Ryan Braun for proposing to his girlfriend, Canadian model Larisa Fraser. There were rumors about it when Fraser let it slip on her blog (the post since has been deleted). Oh yeah, and she looks like this...
I'm pretty sure that even for a multi-millionaire baseball star with hair like a pony (too far?), you still gotta lock that down as soon as possible so congrats Mr. Braun.
My engagement present to you is a link to more of your fiancee's pictures, because the best gifts are the ones that keep on giving.
Lastly, baseball season is over but awards season is beginning. Tonight, the Rookie of the Year Award winners will be announced. Here is a list of finalists and their key statistics for the 2012 season.
National League Finalists:
• Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds
.273 BA | .331 OBP | .498 SLG | 19 HR | 67 RBI | 1.9 WAR
• Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
.270 BA | .340 OBP | .477 SLG | 22 HR | 59 RBI | 18 SB | 5.0 WAR
• Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
16-11 | 3.33 ERA | 1.18 WHIP | .255 BAA | 144 K | 3.3 WAR
American League Finalists:
• Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics
.292 BA | .356 OBP | .505 SLG | 23 HR | 82 RBI | 16 SB | 3.4 WAR
• Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
16-9 | 3.90 ERA | 1.28 WHIP | .220 BAA | 221 K | 4.0 WAR
• Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
.326 BA | .399 OBP | .564 SLG | 30 HR | 83 RBI | 49 SB | 10.7 WAR
For the record, I personally don't think that either of these awards will be close. In the National League, phenom Bryce Harper showed every bit of the promise that made him a national headline by finishing with the highest wins above replacement of any player age 19 and younger. The dude's going to be really, really good and showed the enthusiasm and hustle that provided a key spark to the Nationals first postseason appearance.
In the American League, Yoenis Cespedes would have won in any other year Mike Trout was not on the same ballot by finishing second in RBIs and OPS to....well, Mike Trout. Trout was the other young gun who absolutely tore up American League pitching and had the highest WAR since Doc Gooden for players 20 and younger. I expect both Trout and Harper to win in relative landslides.
But that's not to say that any of the other finalists didn't receive their merit. Frazier will be a cornerstone at the hot corner for a Reds team that looks to be contenders in the NL Central for the foreseeable future. Miley had a fine first year campaign and will help anchor a D-Backs rotation looking to make a move in the relatively weak NL West, outside of the Giants.
I can't say enough about Cespedes, who looks worth every penny of the four year, $36 million contract he received from GM Billy Beane after leaving Cuba. Darvish could be maddeningly inconsistent, but still finished second (to Detroit's Max Scherzer) in the Major Leagues with 10.49 strikeouts per nine innings. It's interesting to note that all of the AL Finalists are in the American League West, so welcome to the AL Houston Astros. May you have fun facing these talented youngsters many times next season.
So it's your turn: who's your Rookies of the Year?