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MLB Roundup 11/9: The rest of the Silver Sluggers

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And some labor talk

Division Series - New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

All of the Silver Slugger Winners

MLB announced their Silver Slugger award winners on Thursday, and as we know the Red Sox got three of them. The weird thing isn’t that they won three, but that two of them went to J.D. Martinez. I, like many others, had no idea that was possible, but apparently it is. What a time to be alive. Although Martinez was the biggest story from this particular award announcement, he wasn’t actually the only one to win. So, here is the full list of Silver Sluggers from 2018.

American League

Catcher: Salvador Perez, KC

First Base: Jose Abreu, CHW

Second Base: Jose Altuve, HOU

Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, CLE

Third Base: Jose Ramirez, CLE

Outfield: Mookie Betts, BOS

Outfield: Mike Trout, LAA

Outfield: J.D. Martinez, BOS

DH: J.D. Martinez, BOS

National League

Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, MIA

First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, ARZ

Second Base: Javier Baez, CHC

Shortstop: Trevor Story, COL

Third Base: Nolan Arenado, COL

Outfield: Christian Yelich, MIL

Outfield: David Peralta, ARZ

Outfield: Nick Markakis, ATL

Pitcher: German Marquez, COL

Dodgers and Yankees both trying to stay under the Luxury Tax

File this under “Early-Winter Rumors That Can Probably Be Ignored,” but I’m going to talk about it anyway. All last winter as we were living through nothingness in the baseball world, one of the most popular explanations was that teams such as the Dodgers and Yankees were taking the year off to reset their luxury tax penalties. You could argue, given how both of them finished the season, that not going over the tax may have cost them a World Series, but that’s their prerogative. The main point is that it was a one-year break and they would be ready to spend like wild this winter. Except, well, maybe not. The Yankees have said they want to stay under the luxury tax “so as to not line the other owners’ pockets with money.” The Dodgers, meanwhile, apparently told investors they plan to stay under the tax through 2022. Now, teams are allowed to spend their money how they want, but they can also be criticized for it. There’s always a chance this is an attempt to deflate free agent pricing, in which case I took the bait. After last offseason, though, I’m weary. To be clear, as a Red Sox fan this is good news. The fewer teams out there looking to spend money, the more Boston can dominate the free agent market. Plus, the Yankees and Dodgers are direct competitors of the Red Sox. As a baseball fan, though, this sucks. The luxury tax is essentially a hard cap at this point, and as much as it pains me to say it if the two biggest markets in the league are going to treat it as such then it’s probably time for the Players Union to cave and accept a hard cap in exchange for a salary floor along with some other concessions. The next CBA negotiations won’t be fun.

Bill James said some things

I thought I might be able to avoid talking about this, but I can’t. Bill James, the Godfather of Sabermetrics and a consultant to the Red Sox Baseball Operations department, said some things on the ol’ Twitter Machine the other night that have people and players upset. He said a lot of things, but the thing that is getting the most attention is this:

“If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever. The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”

In a way, this is true. Players leave, and they are replaced, and that’s the way it works. In this case, though, no it is not. If everyone left at once, we would be left with the same result when MLB tried replacement players in the 1990s. That never seemed like a good idea. The real issue isn’t this specific tweet, though. It’s the fact that James, a team employee, spent the night making harsh and clear anti-labor comments publicly. It’s not a surprise James is anti-labor. Sabermetrics, as much as I utilize many concepts, is inherently anti-labor. It tries to find the cheapest ways to build winning teams, plain and simple. Putting aside for a minute how much I disagree with every sentiment he shared during this rant — including that the owners are the ones with the real special skillset; get all the way outta here with that nonsense — James simply publicly speak like this as a front office employee. For what it’s worth, the Red Sox have come out and released a statement against James’ comments. I have a feeling they also took him aside and told him to maybe log off for a bit.