Verlander wins MVP award

In a somewhat shocking development, Detroit’s Justin Verlander has won the American League MVP award, becoming the first pitcher to win the award since Dennis Eckersly in 1992, and the first starting pitcher to win since Roger Clemens in 1986. I say it’s a bit of a shock because I expected Verlander to be a very polarizing figure, coming in first on a lot of ballots, but also being in the middle of a lot of other ballots, as I assumed some voters would simply blanch at a pitcher winning the MVP award. All the same, Verlander is a worthy choice, and though he wouldn’t have topped my ballot (I had him fourth on Sweetspot Network ballot, behind Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, and Curtis Granderson, respectively), I’m glad that reactionary prejudice against pitchers didn’t carry the day.

As far as the Yankees go, Granderson finished 4th in the balloting, Robinson Cano came in a very undeserved 6th, while C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and David Robertsonall received some votes as well. The full balloting can be found here.

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Blood tests for HGH? Baseball has come a long way

Baseball deserves praise on a number of levels right now. In a year that has seen the NFL threaten to cancel games over labor disputes, and one in which the NBA is threatening to cancel an entire season, more should be made of how smoothly Major League Baseball is coming to a new collective bargaining agreement. Sometime in the middle of this week Baseball will complete a new labor agreement without so much as a peep. That alone is an impressive feat, but the new CBA is more than just formality. It ushers in a number of changes. The Astros Continue reading Blood tests for HGH? Baseball has come a long way

The Nunez gap

Sometimes, there are players that fans and organizations see in a completely different light. Recently, we went through this with Joba Chamberlain. Many, myself included, thought (and still think) he should have been given more of a chance to prove himself as a starting pitcher, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen with the Yankees. Now it seems like there’s something in a vaguely similar vein brewing with Eduardo Nunez. Over the last two seasons, the Yankees have definitely shown more faith in Nunez than most fans have. Well, perhaps that’s not true. There are a lot of Continue reading The Nunez gap

Report: Braves interested in Nunez

In yesterday’s Daily News John Harper reported that his sources were telling him that the Atlanta Braves are interested in trading for Eduardo Nunez, and were potentially willing to include starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens in a deal. Since we all know the Yankees are looking everywhere for starting pitching, this is a potential deal worth thinking about for a minute.

The first thing to know about Jurrjens is that he’s a lot like a fast food joint’s hamburger; they never look as good in your hands as they did on television. Jurrjens posted a flashy 2.96 ERA this past season, but his peripherals are simply not that good. First and foremost, Jurrjens doesn’t miss a lot of bats. His career 6.15 K/9 is passable, but that rate dropped to just 5.33 batters per nine in 2011. On the other hand, his walk rate dropped as well, though his career 3.10 BB/9 is a little higher than you’d like for someone who’s not striking out many batters. Because of that, his FIP was a full run higher than his ERA at 3.99. In other words, he’s really a more well known Ivan Nova, and probably not the caliber of starter the Yankees are looking to add.

But, as in all cases, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be a useful addition for the right price. Harper speculates that the Braves might be interested in a package of Nunez and Nick Swisher, but I don’t see that happening for two reasons. First, if the Braves are looking to shed salary, Swisher’s $10 million salary this season isn’t something they’re likely interested in picking up, even if he would be a big help to their offense. Secondly, Jurrjens just isn’t good enough to justify trading away Swisher for from the Yankees’ perspective. As I said on Mike Silva’s radio show last night, I wouldn’t be opposed to the Yankees trading Swisher for a starting pitcher, but it would have to be someone better than Jurrjens.

If the Braves are so smitten with Nunez that they’re willing to take him as a centerpiece in a deal to dump Jurrjens’ salary, I probably wouldn’t say no. But if the Braves expect anything of greater value than Nunez, on top of getting the salary relief they apparently desire, I’d pass. Jurrjens is a decent starter, but he’s not the much coveted number two starter the Yankees are looking for. Continue reading Report: Braves interested in Nunez

Building a package for John Danks

Joel Sherman Tweeted earlier this week that if he had to guess which pitcher the Yanks would acquire this offseason, it would be John Danks. He’s a good fit from the Yanks perspective, a lefty fly ball pitcher (career 1.09 GB/FB) who does a decent job keeping the ball in the ballpark (career 1.06 HR/9) that could improve pitching half his starts in Yankee Stadium. His style of pitching plays into the Yankee strength of defense in the outfield. He should be able to at least give you league average performance and soak up innings in the middle of your Continue reading Building a package for John Danks

Did CC Sabathia deserve to come in 4th place in the AL Cy Young voting?

The AL Cy Young award ceased to be a contest roughly in August when it became clear that Justin Verlander was on his way to a dominant season. There was no longer talk about if he would win the Cy Young, but whether or not he would add the MVP to his credentials as well (full disclosure: I feel that pitchers should be ineligible for MVP consideration). It was therefore no surprise when Verlander won the award handily last week. What should have come as a surprise for many baseball fans, however, was how the rest of the vote shaped Continue reading Did CC Sabathia deserve to come in 4th place in the AL Cy Young voting?

A word of caution on Cole Hamels

This past week Buster Olney speculated (subs required) that on the heels of the Jonathan Papelbon signing, the Phillies might seek to trade Cole Hamels. His reasoning was (as usual) very sound, thinking they could make payroll space for other moves and replenish their depleted farm system by dealing him in advance of hitting free agency in 2012, when they would only receive draft picks if he leaves. As a win-now team, you could argue that getting MLB ready talent back in areas of need could make you better overall than being so heavy in the rotation with glaring weaknesses Continue reading A word of caution on Cole Hamels

Yankees make 40-man additions

Via Chad Jennings comes news that the Yankees will be adding 5 minor leaguers to the 40-man roster, protecting them from being drafted by other teams in the upcoming Rule V Draft.  The 5 are RHP David Phelps, RHP DJ Mitchell, 2b David Adams, 2b Corban Joseph, and OF Zoilo Almonte.  Several of these guys could have a role on the 2012 Yankees, while the others had enough value as prospects that there would be some concern about another team poaching them. The addition of David Phelps and DJ Mitchell, two advanced AAA pitchers, is a no-brainer.  Both could play important roles Continue reading Yankees make 40-man additions