Monday, November 30, 2009

Derek Jeter Named Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year"

While Derek Jeter may have missed out on winning the American League MVP Award to Joe Mauer, this is one award no one can take away from him.

It was announced today that Derek Jeter will be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year. This is the first time that a Yankee has won the award in the 56 years of its existence, and the first time a baseball player has won since 2004, when the entire Boston Red Sox team was honored.

Jeter had one of the best years of his career in 2009, as he was ranked in the top ten of several major American League categories. This led to the claiming of his fourth AL Silver Slugger Award and fourth AL Gold Glove.

But, as Sports Illustrated points out, the award does not simply recognize great accomplishments on the field, but off the field as well.

Jeter has been seen working with many charities, particularly with his Turn-2 Foundation, which he founded in 1996.

The organization concentrates on encouraging children to avoid abusive drugs and alcohol, while improving social skills, such as leadership.

It truly makes me happy to see one of my childhood idols win this award. I myself have tried to emulate Derek Jeter in many ways since I was probably about ten years old, both while playing baseball and while presenting myself around other people.

Whether you are trying to copy his batting stance or helping others in need, the Yankee captain is certainly a great example of what a person should strive to be.

Award well deserved.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mauer Nearly Unanimous For AL MVP

The American League Most Valuable Player Award was announced today. As expected, Minnesota Twin backstop Joe Mauer ran away with the honor.

Voting for Mauer was nearly unanimous, as he received 27 of the 28 first place votes. Though he came in fourth, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers received the only other first place vote. Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees came in second and third in the voting, respectively.

The selection of Mauer should come as no surprise to anyone. After missing the first month of the season due to a back injury, the Minnesota native returned from the disabled list firing on all cylinders.

Mauer finished his 2009 campaign with a .365 batting average, winning the American League Batting Title for the third time in his still young career.

He also found a consistent power stroke, belting 26 home runs for the season (a career high) while driving in 96.

To top it off, he led his team to a second consecutive division title, as Minnesota went on to beat the Detroit Tigers in an extra 163rd game to advance to the postseason.

At 26-years-old, Joe Mauer is not even at the peak of his career. If the Twins are smart, they will sign him to a multi-year contract before he becomes a free agent in 2011.

With at least another eight or nine solid years left for Mauer to make his mark on the game, do not be surprised to see another MVP or two attached to his name over the next few seasons.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rookie of the Year Awards Announced

The National League and American League Rookie of the Year Awards were handed out this afternoon. Both of which had most baseball fans asking, "who the heck is that?"

The National League honors went to the Florida Marlin outfielder Chris Coghlan.

Coghlan hit .321 during his first season, with 162 hits, nine home runs, 47 driven in, and an .850 on-base plus slugging percentage in 504 at-bats.

The Florida native finish with 17 first place votes.

Runner-up in the National League was the Philadelphia Phillie southpaw J.A. Happ, who received ten first place votes.

In the American League, Andrew Bailey of the Oakland Athletics took the prize.

Called up in late April, Bailey took over Oakland's full-time closer role in early May and never looked back.

During the season, he managed to break former A's closer Huston Street's record for saves by an Oakland rookie.

He was also the only Athletic named to the All-Star Game held in St. Louis back in July.

Bailey's final stat line for 2009 read 26 saves, a 1.84 earned run average, 91 strikeouts, and a .167 batting average against in 83.1 innings pitched.

Young Texas Ranger phenom Elvis Andrus came in second in the AL voting with eight first place votes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Kid Is Back For Another

Word coming out of the continental northwest today is that Ken Griffey Jr. will return to play for the Seattle Mariners in 2010. It could be the final year of his Hall of Fame career.

The one-year contract is estimated to be worth around $2 million, similar to the contract Griffey signed last year during the first season of his second go-round with the Mariners.

The Home Run Kid may now be a shell of his old self, hitting just .214 with 19 round-trippers and 57 driven in last season. However, his playing for the team is just as important to getting people into Safeco Field, as it is to helping his team win.

Griffey is now fifth place on the all-time home run list with 630 long balls for his career. To watch the man is to watch one of the games last true legends.

I believe that despite his steady decline in production over the past few seasons, this was a good move for both Griffey and the Seattle Mariners.

In other news: Catcher Jason Varitek has opted to stay with the Boston Red Sox for another year, picking up his $3 million player option today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Red Sox Tying Up The Loose Ends

The Boston Red Sox made a few moves today to ensure that most of their 2009 roster stays intact for 2010.

According to, Boston has picked up catcher Victor Martinez's $7.1 million club option for 2010.

Martinez hit .303 with 23 home runs and 108 driven in over the entire 2009 season, while hitting .336 with eight homers and 41 runs batted in after being traded to the Red Sox at the July trade deadline.

This was the Red Sox first order of business coming into the offseason. Martinez has been a consistent player for the better part of seven major league seasons now.

While his defense is not great by any stretch, his bat will more than make up for it batting in the number three spot of the Boston order.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old may prove to be even more valuable if the decline in production that we saw from David Ortiz in 2009 continues to steepen in 2010.

As for Boston's captain, and other catcher, the Red Sox declined Jason Varitek's $5 million club option for 2010 today. Varitek still has a $3 million option of his own with the team. However, it may take some heavy thinking on the 37-year-old's part as to whether or not he wants to be a backup to Martinez , play somewhere else as a starter, or call it a career.

Varitek, whose offensive production has suffered mightily over the past two seasons, batted .209 with 14 home runs in 106 games during 2009.

Boston also resigned knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield to a two-year contract this afternoon.

The financial details of the deal have not yet been released, however has reported that it could be worth $7 million over the two years.

With these loose ends out of the way, the Red Sox can now go after bigger fish on the market.

Currently, their star left-fielder Jason Bay is expected to test the free agent market and the Red Sox have made it no secret that they want him to be in left field again this Opening Day.

Also, with the Seattle Mariners making it clear that they really have not interest in dealing their ace Felix Hernandez, Boston may now be seriously turning its attention towards acquiring Roy Halladay via trade.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thank You, Hideki Matsui

Hey guys. New Article on Bleacher Report:

The Stove Is Already Warming Up

While literally millions of New Yorkers (including myself) were busy celebrating the 27th New York Yankee World Championship up and down downtown New York's Canyon of Heroes, the rest of Major League Baseball began offseason business as usual.

The National League Champion Phillies moved quickly in picking up the 2010 club-option on their lefty ace Cliff Lee.

Lee, who went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts for Philadelphia during the latter half of 2009, will be owed $9 million in the final year of his contract.

Obviously, this was a no-brainer for the Phillies. After being dealt by the Cleveland Indians at the July 31st trade deadline, Lee gave a shaky Philadelphia starting rotation the stability that it desperately needed. Most noteably in the postseason.

Lee went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and a 33/6 strikeout to walk ratio during the playoffs this year.

The Phillies surely expect to be back in the thick of things next year, and with a stud like Lee leading the pitching staff, there is no reason to believe that with a little tinkering, Philadelphia could definitely make a run at a third straight appearance in the Fall Classic.

Across the country, both Los Angeles clubs are reported to have retained their respective veteran centerpieces.

The Los Angeles Dodgers recieved good news today when their slugging left fielder Manny Ramirez informed the team that he had decided to excercise his 2010 player option for $20 million.

While Ramirez certainly had a down year in 2009 by his statistical standards (.290 BA, 19 HR, 63 RBI), combined with a 50-game suspenision for illegal use of performance enhancing drugs, one more year of Manny may still serve Los Angeles well. He should once again act as a sure stronghold while the young Dodger core continues to mature.

Bobby Abreu has also decided to stay in Los Angeles with the Angels, according to MLB Network.

The deal is reported to be at least two years long. However, specifics about the salary are yet to be confirmed. Rest assured, though, that after the year Abreu posted in 2009 (.293 BA, 15 HR, 103 RBI, 30 SB) he will be asking for more than the $5 million he recieved in the one year deal that he signed with the Angels last winter.