Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Morning Hot Links

*Mike Trout won his 3rd AL MVP award last night, edging Alex Bregman by a total vote of 17-13. Bregman finished 2nd. It's his second straight Top-5 MVP finish.

Here's how the voting shook out. Like with the Cy Young, each AL market gets two votes.

Baltimore: Trout
Boston: Split
Chicago: Split
Cleveland: Trout
Detroit: Split
Houston: Split (AP's Kristie Rieken voted for Trout)
Kansas City: Bregman
Los Angeles: Split
Minnesota: Split
New York: Split
Oakland: Split
Tampa Bay: Trout
Texas: Bregman
Toronto: Trout

*George Springer finished 7th, Gerrit Cole finished 10th, and Justin Verlander finished 11th.

Let's just appreciate Bregman's evolution over the past three seasons:
2017: .284/.352/.475, 19HR, 71RBI, 97K:55BB, 125 OPS+, 3.5 fWAR
2018: .286/.394/.532, 31HR, 103RBI, 85K:96BB, 152 OPS+, 7.6 fWAR
2019: .296/.423/.592, 41HR, 112RBI, 83K:119BB, 162 OPS+, 8.5 fWAR

2020 will be his Age 26 season. Bregman's top-rated Similarity Score through his Age 25 season is Jim Thome. That's crazy.

*The Astros have never signed a player tied to draft pick compensation. The richest free agent contract for a pitcher under Jeff Luhnow went to Scott Feldman, who got a 3yr/$30m contract prior to the 2014 season.

*Gerrit Cole officially declined the Astros' qualifying offer of pitching in 2020 for $17.8m. Seems risky to me but what do I know. It also means that whatever team signs Gerrit Cole will give the Astros a pick in Comp B Round in the 2020 Draft, which MLB will most assuredly take as punishment for the Can Banging.

*Justin Verlander, on Gerrit Cole's free agency:
I think every club in Major League Baseball would love to have Gerrit Cole. It's a matter of obviously he is going to require a big paycheck, and I don't know if our organization is willing to pay that or not. I would hope so, as I think every other player...would hope so, because he makes us better. But everything has turned very economical recently, and that's kind of above my pay grade. I know that Gerrit had a great time playing here, and I know he would like to return if possible, but that is now on Gerrit, his family and the people above me.

The Yankees, Rangers, Angels, and Phillies are already hot after Gerrit Cole while the Astros say they "haven't given up."

*"A Ballplayer" said that "every team does the camera shit."

*SI: The Astros could face a lawsuit over the sign-stealing controversy.

*USA Today's Bob Nightengale has the scene from Scottsdale and the GM Meetings:
There may be 30 different agendas at these meetings, but this time virtually all were united on one front. They want to see the Astros go down. And go down hard. They want the Astros to pay a fortune in penalties, being fined a record amount of money, forfeiting draft picks, international signing bonuses, and two even told USA Today Sports they wish MLB would force them to vacate the 2017 World Series title.

Look, I think this is a real bad look for the Astros and yes, it's embarrassing to the organization. But if we're going to vacate 2017 then I think MLB should step in and vacate 2016, as well. And let's be honest here: the other GMs/execs want the Astros to "go down hard" because this is a convenient hand-wringing way to justify how much you hate Luhnow & Co.

*Emma Baccellieri: Sign-stealing isn't going anywhere.

*FanGraphs' Craig Edwards: The worst teams in baseball history. The Astros occupy a spot on the list of the best and worst teams of the decade. Feels like it's harder to do that than it is to win two World Series in three years. Wait.

*Jayson Stark: The ten numbers that defined 2019.

*Two were killed and three more injured in a school shooting in Southern California.

*Venice is under water.

*I am reading Zone One by Colson Whitehead and it is extremely good.

*A Musical Selection: