MVP winners announced
Awards week concluded on Thursday with the announcement of the marquee awards as MVPs from both leagues were announced. The big news comes from the American League side, where Shohei Ohtani didn’t just win the award but did so unanimously, getting all 30 possible first-place votes. Second place was nearly unanimous as well with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. getting 29 of the 30 possible second-place votes. Ohtani had a historic season, showing a two-way prowess that has not been seen in over a century, and really ever. The Angels superstar finished the year hitting .257/.372/.592 for a 152 wRC+ while hitting 46 homers, and also made 23 starts with a 3.18 ERA and 3.52 FIP. It’s the kind of season we will be talking about for years to come.
Over on the other side, the voting was a little bit more suspenseful, but the winner ended up being Bryce Harper, making this the second MVP the former number one overall pick has won. Getting 17 first-place votes, Harper carried the Phillies lineup for much of the season and ended the year hitting .309/.429/.615 for a 170 wRC+. Juan Soto finished second and received six first-place votes, whole Fernando Tatís Jr. finished third with a pair of first-place votes. Interestingly, Brandon Crawford actually got four first-place votes but finished fourth.
Why Red Sox fans should care: There’s not really much Red Sox connection among the actual winners, but there was some love for a few Boston players in down-ballot votes. Rafael Devers was the highest finisher among Red Sox players, finishing 11th and getting as high as a fourth-place vote. Xander Bogaerts finished two spots behind Devers, while Nathan Eovaldi appeared on one ballot with a seventh-place vote.
Rockies sign Elias Díaz to three-year extension
There weren’t any signings in free agency on Thursday, but we did get one extension over in the National League. The Rockies announced that they had signed catcher Elias Díaz to a three-year extension worth a reported $14.5 million. Given how weak the catching market is right now, it’s a good idea for any team to lock up a catcher in which they have even a modicum of trust. Colorado’s backstop is coming off a strong season, hitting .246/.310/464 for a 92 wRC+ while also playing solid defense. That said, he was below replacement level for three of the four seasons prior to 2021, so there’s some risk here as well.
Why Red Sox fans should care: Again, I think this is just an indication of the weakness of the catching market, which explains why the Red Sox probably didn’t think too much about exercising the 2022 team option for Christian Vázquez. It’s a very, very difficult position to find difference makers.