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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Baseball

White Sox open to trading sluggers Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia

White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have traded away Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, and Melky Cabrera all within the last year, and the fire sale may not be complete just yet.

White Sox GM Rick Hahn said this week that the team has received trade inquiries on sluggers Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia and is willing to listen.

“We have to listen,” said Hahn, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. “We have to explore. We’re still in the same spot that we were a year ago, in that we’re focused on the long term.

“At some point, not necessarily this offseason, we have to make the decision,” he continued. “Are we best served by extending them through what we project to be the bulk of our window, or are we better off making a move like some of the others we’ve made and trying to reinforce the future with prospects?”

It’s obvious that the White Sox are planning for the future rather than the present by trying to stockpile as many top young prospects as possible. But whether or not they believe that the 30-year-old Abreu and the 26-year-old Garcia can still play a role in that future remains to be seen.

Both players are under team control for the next two seasons, which would make them more than one-year rentals. Abrue has slugged at least 30 homers in three of his four MLB seasons. Garcia broke out last season with the best year of his career, as he batted .330 with an .885 OPS.

Cardinals have reportedly expressed interest in Eric Hosmer

Eric Hosmer

Could Eric Hosmer go from one rival to another?

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Cardinals have registered an interest in the free agent first baseman, formerly of the Kansas City Royals.

One source called Hosmer “a good fit” for what the Cardinals envision as far as building their lineup goes.

Of course, the challenge for the Cardinals may be finding a way to afford Hosmer. While they’re quite intent on making a big move, the first baseman’s age and production will make him a very expensive proposition — just ask the Royals, who are losing faith in their ability to retain him. Still, it would be a major statement of intent for a Cardinals team that is looking to get back into the playoffs after a two-year absence.

Aaron Boone prepared for the pressure of being Yankees manager

Aaron Boone

Aaron Boone is one of the contenders to be the next manager of the New York Yankees, and the former third baseman says he is prepared for the job.

Boone interviewed for the managerial job this week. He told the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand that he is prepared for the pressures of the tough gig.

Boone played for the Yankees in 2003 when the team’s rivalry with the Boston Red Sox was arguably at its peak, so he’s familiar with just how much of a pressure-cooker New York can be. The Yankees’ job requires a lot of patience, a lot of managing up and down, and the ability to handle the difficult press and lofty expectations. One can say he/she is ready for it, but there’s nothing like actually having the job.

Much like the case with Joe Girardi, having experience playing for the team is helpful for Boone. According to Feinsand, Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge and Hensley Meulens are the other candidates who have interviewed for the job.

Mike Moustakas reportedly wants to sign with Angels

Mike Moustakas Royals

The Los Angeles Angels have been tied to free agent Mike Moustakas once again.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Wednesday that Moustakas has the Angels No. 1 on his list of teams with whom he would like to sign.

A former No. 2 overall pick by the Kansas City Royals, Moustakas turned down a qualifying offer from KC to test the market. He is expected to command a large salary after smacking a career-high 38 home runs last season.

The Angels have a hole at third base as Yunel Escobar is a free agent. GM Billy Eppler has expressed his intention to improve the team’s offense. He already extended Justin Upton’s contract for another season, and he reportedly is looking to upgrade the second base position. There is no doubt the Angels want to upgrade third base, but will they sign Moustakas? That remains to be seen. They have previously been mentioned as the favorites to land him.

Aaron Judge congratulates Jose Altuve on winning MVP

The runner-up in this year’s American League MVP Award voting gave the deserving winner a shoutout on social media not long after the announcement was made.

To cap off a great season, Jose Altuve added AL MVP honors to winning a World Series on Thursday. During the regular season, the Astros second baseman led the league in batting average and hits in addition to hitting 24 home runs and stealing 32 bases.

Altuve picked up 27 of a possible 30 first place votes to capture the award for the first time in his career. Aaron Judge, who finished in second place, was gracious in offering congratulations to the winner.

In another year, Judge may have taken home the award with his .284/.422/.627 batting line to go along with 52 home runs and 114 runs batted in, both of which led the American League. At just 25 years old, this will likely not be the last time Judge is in the MVP discussion. Although, Altuve doesn’t show any signs of slowing down himself.

Eight most interesting MVP voting developments

Jose Altuve Aaron Judge

The MLB MVP awards were handed out on Thursday, and the big winners were Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Altuve. Both players took home their first MVP awards. The high honor caps an incredible season for Altuve in which he also won the World Series, made the All-Star team, and led the league in batting average and hits for the second straight season. As for Stanton, he clubbed 59 home runs, drove in 132 runs, and slugged .631 — all of which led the league. And guess what? He may end up traded this offseason.

Beyond that, there are some really interesting facts and developments we found from the MVP award voting. Here are the eight most interesting developments from the 2017 MVP voting (based on the NL ballot and AL ballot shared by the BBWAA).

1) NL MVP voting was the 4th-closest in history

Stanton won NL MVP by two points over Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto (302 to 300). They each received 10 first-place votes. Stanton received 10 second-place votes, while Votto received nine. Only three other MVP races have been closer. There was a tie in 1979 between Willie Stargell and Keith Hernandez. Two previous races were decided by one point (1941 AL MVP – Joe DiMaggio over Ted Williams, and 1944 NL MVP – Marty Marion over Bill Nicholson). If Votto is feeling robbed, he should note that Williams finished second in ’41 despite batting .406.

2) AL MVP was a two-way race

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Report: Yankees seen as favorites to sign Shohei Otani

Shohei Otani

After winning the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes in 2014, the New York Yankees could be back at it again this offseason.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Thursday that many Yankees rivals see them as the “supreme favorite” to sign 23-year-old Japanese phenom Shohei Otani. He also adds that a Monday deadline has been set to determine whether or not Otani will be posted by his Nippon Ham Fighters this winter.

Otani, a two-way sensation who hit .322 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs last year while also sporting a 1.86 ERA and striking out 174 batters, has been planning as if he will be posted. As for the Yankees, they are always a huge favorite on the international market thanks to their massive payroll and global exposure, but getting Otani in pinstripes would be one of their greatest coups yet.

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