Blake Snell wins the American League Cy Young
The Cy Youngs were announced on Wednesday night, and the American League was the more interesting race of the two. Really, it came down to a couple of pitchers with both Justin Verlander and Blake Snell each having strong cases. Ultimately, it came down to how important innings were for you, because Snell was dominant but only over 180 innings. I would have voted for Snell, and sure enough he was the one to take home the award, further confirming my genius. The Rays’ lefty pitched to an absurd 1.89 ERA over his 31 starts with 11 strikeouts per nine innings. After a couple of disappointing years to start his career, he clearly found his groove in his age-25 season. The Red Sox in particular know as well as anyone how great Snell was in 2018, as he single-handedly dragged down their lineup’s numbers against left-handed pitching. Boston, the best lineup in baseball, hit just .157/.220/.217 against Snell this year. He’s going to be a problem for a while.
Meanwhile, Chris Sale did get a couple of second-place votes, but ultimately finished fourth in the voting. You can see the full voting breakdown here.
Jacob deGrom wins the National League Cy Young
Over in the National League, there was not nearly as much drama. Of course, people cooked up some drama because what else are we going to do, but Jacob deGrom was always going to win. He didn’t get many wins because the Mets were a dumpster fire every time he took the mound, but deGrom himself had a historic year. There was no way he was ever going to lose the award, so it was no surprise when he ran away with it. I don’t even really have a lot to say because there’s no way to articulate how incredible deGrom was in 2018. He pitched to a 1.70 ERA (216 ERA+!) over 32 starts and 217 innings with over 11 strikeouts per nine and under two walks per nine. He allowed more than three earned runs just once and more than two earned runs just six times. It was stupid. He wasn’t quite anonymous, with Max Scherzer getting one first place vote, but this wasn’t much of a race. You can see the full results here.
A wild trade appeared
The offseason hasn’t really gotten going yet, which isn’t surprising because things don’t typically get started until after Thanksgiving. There have been a few moves here and there, including the Mariners sending Mike Zunino to Tampa Bay, but nothing much. We had another trade on Wednesday, and it was...not all that exciting. The Pirates acquired infielder Erik Gonzalez and MiLB pitchers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza from Cleveland in exchange for outfielder Jordan Luplow and Max Moroff. I don’t have much of anything to say here, but wanted to include it for all the Erik Gonzalez heads out there.
Justin Bour placed on waivers
The Phillies made an interesting move Wednesday night, placing Justin Bour on waivers and allowing any team to acquire him for free. The former Marlins first baseman is coming off a disappointing year that only got worse after Philadelphia traded for him in August. He is arbitration eligible, and MLB Trade Rumors projects him to make a little more than $5 million in 2019. This is essentially the Phillies non-tendering him and giving another team a chance to grab him and pay him that arbitration salary. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll almost certainly become a free agent. Bour is a really interesting player, and someone I’ve always been a fan of. His 2018 was certainly disappointing, but he’s shown over his career that he can be a really solid hitter that can hit for power from the left side. Even including the disappointing 2018, Bour has a 124 OPS+ over his four full seasons in the majors, and in 2017 he posted a 143 OPS+. The Red Sox won’t be a player for him, as they have no need for a left-handed first baseman with Mitch Moreland already on the roster, but look out for the Yankees with him. That would make me sad, and would probably be a good low-cost acquisition for them.