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On July 30, Jorge Soler was hitting .192/.288/.370 for the fourth place Kansas City Royals, 15 games off the division lead. Today he's the World Series MVP. Youneverknow.

As you may know, the  World Series MVP award dates back to 1955. Alert readers are probably aware that the World Series did not begin in 1955. And this bothers me. It was only when SPORT magazine went to the trouble of naming an MVP (and giving him a shiny new car, woo-hoo!) that there was anything resembling official recognition for the outstanding player in the Fall Classic.

So our project here is to dish out some retrospective glory, and maybe tell a few stories along the way.

One more thing before we proceed. The Willie Mays World Series MVP Award? You can not think more highly of Willie Mays than I do but facts are facts. The World Series, and Mays played in four of them, was not his best showcase. Mays hit .239/.308/.282 in his 71 World Series ABs. His infamous sad finale with the 1973 Mets? It actually improved those numbers. Yes, I know about the catch. Lots of guys have made great catches in the World Series, from Josh Devore, Harry Hooper, and Sam Rice to Ron Swoboda, Dwight Evans, and Devon White.

Oh, I'm not complaining. It's Willie Mays, who will always be worthy of all the praise and recognition we can send his way.

We'll begin at the beginning

1903 - Bill Dinneen, Americans (3-1, 2.06) - After two years of something rather like war, the two leagues started finding ways to co-exist. A whole series of interleague post-season tournaments were arranged, including a best of eight between the two first place teams. Boston's AL entry was known as the Americans for their first seven seasons - they featured the immortal Cy Young and the game's first truly great slugger, Buck Freeman. Pittsburgh, of course, had Honus Wagner. The Pirates won three of the first four games, but Boston roared back with four wins in a row to take the series. Dineen started four games for Boston, winning the second and the sixth and then beating Deacon Philippe (who started five games for Pittsburgh) in the finale. Cy Young got Boston's other two wins, and pitched pretty well himself (2-1, 1.85).

1905 - Christy Mathewson, Giants (3-0, 0.00) - Giants' owner John Brush had refused to have his team play Boston, who had repeated as AL champs in 1904. But the ensuing criticism prompted him and the leagues to work out a set of rules under which subsequent championship- series would be played. The Giants were back in 1905, to face Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's in a best of seven series. The Giants won in five, and each of the games was a shutout. Mathewson made three starts and pitched three complete game shutouts. Let's see someone break that record.

1906 - Ed Walsh, White Sox (2-0, 0.60) - The first cross-town series, and to this day the only one that matched the two Chicago teams. The Cubs had won 116 games and lost just 36, the win total and the .763 winning percentage have never been surpassed. But in baseball, you don't know nothing. Fielder Jones' Hitless Wonders shocked everyone, winning in six games. Neither team did much hitting - the White Sox batted .198 for the series, the Cubs hit .196 - neither team hit a homer. Ed Reulbach of the Cubs pitched a one-hitter to win the second game. Hey, it was 1906. Ed Walsh of the White Sox pitched a shutout with 12 Ks in the third game, and he somehow survived six errors behind him to win the fifth game.

1907 - Harry Steinfeldt, Cubs (.471/.550/.647) - The Cubs were back, this time to face Ty Cobb's Tigers. It was no contest. Four different pitchers started and won as the Cubs swept (plus one game tied.) Steinfeldt and Johnny Evers led the offense.

1908 - Orval Overall, Cubs (2-0, 0.98) - The Cubs and Tigers staged a rematch and the Tigers managed to win a game this time. Overall beat Bill Donovan 6-1 in the second game and pitched a shutout with 10 Ks to beat him again in the finale. After these back-to-back titles, the Cubs would of course have to wait 108 years before winning another.

1909 - Babe Adams, Pirates (3-0, 1.33) - The Tigers were back, for the third year running, and this time they matched up with the Pirates. The focus of attention, naturally, was on the two great stars - Detroit's Ty Cobb and Pittsburgh's Honus Wagner. The Pirates held Cobb in check, while Wagner turned in a typical strong performance (.333/.467/.500) but the unexpected star was an obscure depth pitcher who'd made just 12 starts during the season. Babe Adams was the surprise starter and winner of the first game; he came back to pitch another CG victory in the fifth game and then tossed a shutout in the finale.

1910 - Jack Coombs, A's (3-0, 3.33) - The Cubs were back, but the AL had produced its own juggernaut in Connie Mack's first great Philadelphia team. It was led by two brilliant young infielders: 24 year old third baseman Frank Baker and 23 year old second baseman Eddie Collins. Both players would eventually be regarded as among the best to ever play their positions. The A's dismissed the Cubs in five. The great play of Baker (.409/.458/.636) and Collins (.429/.478/.619) notwithstanding, the star of the series had to be A's pitcher Jack Coombs. He provided three complete game victories in six days - on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday - and beat the great Mordecai Brown twice.

1911 - Frank Baker, A's (.375/.400/.708, 2 HR 5 RBI) - The A's were back and won their second straight title, this one over John McGraw's Giants. Baker had led the AL in homers during the season (he hit 11 of them) but this World Series was where he earned his nickname. After Mathewson had pitched the Giants to victory in the opener, Baker hit a go-ahead homer in the second game. In the next game, with Mathewson two outs away from a shutout, Baker homered to tie the game in the ninth. The A's won the game in extras, the series in six and Frank Baker has been Home Run Baker from that day to this. Chief Bender (2-1, 1.04) had a lot to do with the Philly victory as well.

1912 - Joe Wood, (3-1, 4.50) - The fabled 1912 World Series was a legend from the start, a saga retold in  an epic Box piece. It went to eight games (one was tied) - the finale was one of the classic contests in the game's history. Our MVP came this close to being the goat. Wood pitched a complete game victory with 11 Ks in the second game, and he'd beaten the Giants again in the fourth game. But he got hammered for six first inning runs as the Sox tried to close out the Giants in the seventh game; and in the deciding game, Wood came out of the pen in the eighth inning with the score tied and surrendered the go-ahead run in the tenth. His team came back to bail him out. Christy Mathewson's series ERA was 0.94 and he went 0-2.

1913 - Frank Baker, A's (.450/.450/.600, 1 HR 7 RBI) - The A's were back to meet the Giants in a rematch of the 1911 series, and they needed just five games to win their third title in four years, with only Christy Mathewson's 10 inning shutout in the second game breaking their progress. Chief Bender beat the Giants twice, but both games were really won by the Philadelphia bats, Baker and Collins in particular. Baker got it all started in the first game with an RBI single in the fourth to tie the game; he hit a two run HR a couple of innings later to put the A's ahead. He started their scoring again in the third game and again in the fifth and final game. The next time these two teams met in the Series, they'd both have moved to the California Bay area and an earthquake would disrupt the proceedings.

1914 - Hank Gowdy, Braves (.545/.688/1.273) - The A's were back yet again, to take on a surprising opponent - the Boston Braves On the 4th of July, the Braves were dead last with a 26-40 record. But these were the Miracle Braves, and they went 58-19 the rest of the way to leave the rest of the NL in their dust. In the series, they swept the mighty A's, completely shutting down the Philly bats (.172/.248/.242) and allowing just 6 runs in the four games. Gowdy had three hits and a walk in the opening victory and in the third game his tenth-inning homer started a game-saving rally and his twelfth inning leadoff double would eventually score the winning run. Boston's 26 game winner Dick Rudolph beat Bender 7-1 in the opener and Shawkey 3-1 in the clincher.

1915 - Rube Foster, Red Sox (2-0, 2.00) - Philadelphia was back in the Series but this time it was the Phillies making their first ever appearance. Connie Mack had sold off all his stars and the A's had collapsed, freeing up the AL for Boston to take charge.  Which they did, and after losing the opener to Pete Alexander they beat the Phils four times in succession. They got a pair of complete game victories from Foster, who also went 4-8 at the plate and drove in the winning run in Boston's 2-1 victory in the second game.

1916 - Ernie Shore, Red Sox (2-0, 1.53) - The Sox were back, this time against Brooklyn, and once more they cruised to a win in five games. Shore needed relief help from Carl Mays in the opener, as the Sox very nearly blew a 6-1 lead in the ninth. He was much better in the finale, pitching a three hitter in the 4-1 Boston win.  Boston's 21 year old LH Babe Ruth made his first series start in the second game, and after allowing a first inning run, blanked Brooklyn the rest of the way. It took 14 innings before Boston finally managed the 2-1 win, meaning that Ruth had thrown what was, and what remains, the longest complete game in World Series history. I think that record will stand a little longer.

1917 - Red Faber, White Sox (3-1, 2.33) - The White Sox took over first place in May and never looked back, pulling far away from the pack down the stretch. In the Series, Eddie Collins led the Chicago attack with 9 hits, ably supported by Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver. But the hitting star of the Series was Giants right fielder Dave Robertson, who had led the NL in HRs during the season and would hit .500/.522/.636 in the Series. Yet Robertson didn't start the fifth game. With Sox southpaw Reb Russell on the mound, the starting right fielder for the Giants was the legendary Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest multi-sport athletes who ever walked the earth. But the Giants drove Russell from the mound almost instantly, and with Cicotte on in relief, Robertson pinch hit for Thorpe in the top of the first. And that was as close as Jim Thorpe would ever come to appearing in a World Series game. He was in the starting lineup, and he never got onto the field. Go figure. Eddie Cicotte was the Sox ace during the season but Red Faber stepped up against McGraw's Giants in the Series. Cicotte and Faber pitched complete game victories in the first two games but the Giants evened the series behind shutouts from Benton and Schupp. Faber came out of the pen and got the win as the White Sox rallied to take the fifth game, and he tossed a complete game in the finale for his third series win. The scoring started in the final game when Happy Felsch hit a comebacker to the mound, with Eddie Collins on third. Collins had broken for home, and when pitcher Rube Benton threw to the plate, they had Collins in a rundown. Catcher Bill Rariden chased Collins back towards third and then threw to third baseman Heinie Zimmerman.  Collins reversed his field, and dashed past Rariden towards home plate, with Zimmerman behind him, the ball in his hand, in desperate pursuit. Because no one was covering home. Pitcher Benton and first baseman Holving were just standing around, watching the play. Collins slid across the plate to score the game's first run, as the pursuing Zimmerman vaulted over top of him.  (Zimmerman was notably corrupt, even by the standards of the day, but John McGraw never blamed him for the 1917 Series. But McGraw would testify against Zimmerman and Hal Chase in hearings that led to both players being indicted on bribery charges. They beat the rap but they never played in the majors again.)

1918 - Babe Ruth, Red Sox (2-0, 1.06) - It was a weird season, shortened by the war - they played the World Series at the beginning of September. The Red Sox were back, and they beat the Cubs in six games. Carl Mays of the Red Sox won the third game and the finale with a pair of complete games - Ruth won the other two. Ruth did need some ninth inning relief help in the fourth game. But it was his own two-run triple that broke up a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. And with his shutout in the opener and his seven scoreless innings to begin the fourth game, he extended his own mark for consecutive scoreless innings in a World Series to 29.2 IP. Ruth would always claim he was prouder of that record than any of the ones he set with his bat, and why not? This record stood for 43 years, which is longer than either his single season or his career home run records (34 and 39 years respectively.)

1919 - Arnold Rothstein. (If you want a ballplayer... oh Greasy Neale of the Reds is as good a choice as any. It's just that Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver outhit him. Maybe Hod Eller?)

1920 - Stan Coveleski, Indians (3-0, 0.67) - One of the wildest, and most significant, seasons in major league history - I've written about it at my usual fulsome length - ended up with Cleveland meeting Brooklyn in the Series. Which was not without incident - it featured the first Series home run hit by a pitcher, the first Series grand slam hit by anybody, and what is still the only triple play - and an unassisted one, to boot - in Series history. But when a starting pitcher gives you three complete game victories, including a shutout in the finale, not much else matters.

1921 - Irish Meusel, Giants (.345/.387/.586, 1 HR 7 RBI) - This was the third and final year of the experiment with a best of nine Series, and Waite Hoyt of the losing Yankees pulled off a feat accomplished just one other time in Series history. Hoyt pitched three complete games with 0.00 ERA, just as Mathewson had done in 1905. Unfortunately for Hoyt, he allowed a pair of unearned runs, one of which was the only run scored in the series finale. Meusel was as productive as any of the Giants hitters and his timing was impeccable - his big hits came in the midst of all the Giants' crucial scoring outbursts.

1922 - Frankie Frisch, Giants (.471/.500/.529) - The Giants swept the Yankees (one game was a tie) in a rematch, and Babe Ruth went 2-17, just to prove he was human. Irish Meusel drove in another 7 runs for the Giants but was actually outhit by kid brother Bob of the Yankees. Frisch singled and scored the winning run as the Giants came from behind to win the opener; he drove in the first run of their shutout victory in the third game; he doubled and scored the tying run as the Giants came from behind again to win the finale.

1923 - Babe Ruth, Yankees (.368/.556/1.000, 3 HR, 8 RBI) - The two New York teams matched up for the third year in a row, and Heywood Broun of the New York World wrote one of the most famous ledes in sportswriting history after the second game. "The Ruth is mighty and shall prevail."  The Babe had just hit a pair of homers in the Yankees second game victory. It's such a wonderful post-game story that I simply had to provide a link. Anyway, the Ruth was mighty indeed. It took six games, but he did prevail.

1924 - Tom Zachary, Senators (2-0, 2.04) - The Giants were back for the fourth year in a row but the Washington Senators had never made it to the World Series before. The two teams provided one of the all-time classics, one which concluded with a tremendous finale, one of the greatest games ever played (and there are even video highlights, although you'd be better served by my own gloss on it rather than the one provided.) There were many excellent MVP candidates in the Senators' seven game victory. It's so hard to choose between Goose Goslin, Bucky Harris, Joe Judge, and Fred Marberry that I'll go with the starter who won twice. But a special word must be said for Washington's Bucky Harris, their 27 year old second baseman who was in his first season as the team's manager. In the decisive seventh game, Harris used an Opener as his starting pitcher (replacing him after the first two hitters); he brought his 36 year old ace starter out of the bullpen in the ninth inning - and he knocked out three hits, one of them a homer, and drove in three of his team's four runs. The Boy Wonder indeed.

1925 - Max Carey, Pirates (.458/.552/.625) - The Senators returned to defend their title against the Pirates, making their first series appearance since Babe Adams pitched them to victory over Detroit in 1909. Adams was still around at age 43, pitching mop-up relief, and worked a single inning in this series as well. After falling behind three games to one, the Pirates rallied to win three in a row to take the Series in seven games, with Carey, their outstanding centre fielder and leadoff hitter, leading the way. Washington shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh famously made 8 errors in the seven games. None of them actually had any impact on the games until the finale. First Peckinpaugh's misplay of Moore's leadoff pop fly in the seventh started a two run rally that tied the game at 6-6. Peckinpaugh then homered in the top of the eighth to put the Senators back on top. But with two out in the bottom half of the inning, after the Pirates had tied the game, Peckinpaugh's errant throw loaded the bases, and Kiki Cuyler doubled in a pair to put the Pirates ahead to stay. This Series was also famous for Sam Rice's catch in the eighth inning of the third game. The Sens had a one-run lead when Pirates catcher Earl Smith drove a long drive to right centre. Rice laid out to make a backhand catch, and then tumbled over the makeshift barrier that served as a temporary bleacher. He emerged from the crowd holding the ball in his glove, and the umpire called Smith out. Stories immediately circulated that Rice had lost the ball upon crashing into the stands, and that a fan had placed it back in his glove. Rice said only "the umpire said he was out." He stuck to that story for half a century, leaving only a letter to the Hall of Fame to be opened after his death. The letter, upon being opened, concluded "At no time did I lose possession of the ball." Sam Rice was a man who could keep a secret. He had also turned down offers to tell his story for money because the mystery was more fun.

1926 - Pete Alexander, Cardinals (2-0, 1.33, 1 SV) - This was a classic Series, one of the most famous of them all. Ruth and the Yankees were back after a two year absence; the Cardinals were making their first ever appearance. The Yankees won the opener 2-1 behind Herb Pennock. The Cardinals evened the series behind 39 year old Pete Alexander, picked up on waivers from the Cubs that June. A five hit shutout from Jesse Haines put the Cards ahead, but Babe Ruth won the fourth game all by himself, becoming the first man ever to hit three homers in a Series game. The Yankees squeezed out an extra innings win in the fifth game, but Pete Alexander came back to beat them again in the sixth game and send the series to a seventh game. Errors by Koenig and Meusel helped the Cards to a 3-1 lead, but the Yanks got one back in the sixth and threatened against Haines in the seventh. Combs singled, Ruth was walked intentionally, and with two out Gehrig walked to load the bases. Second baseman Tony Lazzeri was due to bat; in his rookie season, he'd hit 18 HRs which was third best in the league. Player-manager Hornsby called on old Alexander, who had pitched a complete game the previous afternoon. Alexander stumbled on his way to the mound coming out of the pen, and ever afterwards there would be rumours that old Alex, not expecting to pitch,  had been hitting the bottle. (His wife would deny this story until the day she died.) With the count 1-1, Lazzeri hit a rocket into the seats that curved foul. He then struck out on a low and away curve to end the threat. Alexander retired the Yankees in order in the eighth, surrendered a two out walk to Ruth in the ninth - who quite unaccountably tried to steal second and was thrown out to end the series. Alexander and Lazzeri has been linked in baseball memory ever since and in what must be one of the strangest coincidences, both men suffered from epilepsy (it would lead directly to Lazzeri's death from a fall). Both made it to Cooperstown anyway.

1927 - Babe Ruth, Yankees (.400/.471/.800, 2 HR, 7 RBI) - The Ruth was mighty and he did prevail. In four games over the Pirates. I don't think the 1927 Yankees were the greatest team of all time. But they were pretty good.

1928 - Lou Gehrig, Yankees (.545/.706/1.727, 4 HR 9 RBI) - They called them Murderers Row for a reason. Babe Ruth hit .625/.647/1.375, with 3 HR, 4 RBI in the Series -  that's an OPS of 2.022 - with all three homers coming in the finale. And Gehrig was even more devastating? Mercy. The Cardinals never had a chance and were outscored 27-10 in the sweep. The Yankees even got a bit of revenge by pummelling Pete Alexander in the second game. Old Pete was still pitching? Sure, and he'd gone 16-9, 3.36 for the Cards that year, at age 41.
1929 - Jimmie Foxx, A's (.350/.381/.700, 2 HR 5 RBI) - . It had taken some time, but Connie Mack had assembled his second great A's team. His first great team, twenty years previous, had been built around outstanding pitching and the famous $100,000 infield. This one was also built around outstanding pitching, but it had one of the greatest catchers of all time in Mickey Cochrane and a pair of RH sluggers, the left fielder Al Simmons and first baseman Jimmie Foxx. Also known as Double X. Or the Beast. The Beast terrified a lot of pitchers ("He has muscles in his hair" complained Lefty Gomez.)  Foxx simply punished the Cubs as the A's won the first two games. But the Cubs had won the third game, and held an 8-0 lead in the seventh inning of the fourth game. They were nine outs away from tying up the series and heading home to Chicago. But Simmons led off with a homer, and suddenly the Cubs couldn't get anyone out. Four straight singles followed the Simmons homer before Burns popped out for the first out. That was followed by a single, an inside-the-park homer, a walk, a single, another single, a hit by pitch, and a two run double. Ten runs had scored - Foxx and Simmons had each had two hits and scored two runs in the outburst. And the A's wrapped it up in five games.

1930 - George Earnshaw, A's (2-0, 0.72) - The A's were back defending their title, and they matched up with the Cardinals this time. Lefty Grove and Earnshaw won the first two games, but the Cardinals came back to beat Walberg and Grove to tie the series. In the pivotal fifth game, Earnshaw and Burleigh Grimes traded zeroes for seven innings. The A's threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with one out but Grimes escaped the jam. Earnshaw had been removed for a pinch hitter, so Grove came out of the pen and got the win when Jimmie Foxx homered in the ninth. But Earnshaw came back two days later to make his third start of the series, and put up his second complete game victory as the A's repeated as champs.

1931 - Bill Hallahan, Cardinals (2-0, 0.49, 1 SV) - A rematch of the previous year's series saw the Cardinals turn the tables on the mighty A's. This was the series famous for Pepper Martin's performance, which was memorable indeed - Martin hit .500/.538/.792, led both teams with 5 R, 5 RBI and 5 SB, and generally drove A's catcher Mickey Cochrane out of his mind. But Hallahan's work was undeniable - he pitched a shutout in Game Two to even the series, a complete game victory in the fifth game, and he came out of the pen to get the final out of the series, facing the tying run.

1932 - Lou Gehrig, Yankees (.529/.600/1.118, 3 HR 8 RBI) - Babe Ruth was getting old (37) and this would be his last World Series appearance. He'd make it memorable, hitting .333/.500/.733 and touching up Charlie Root for one of the most famous homers in Series history. It was his second of the game and put the Yankees ahead 5-4; Gehrig immediately followed with his second of the game, and Root was excused for the rest of the day. Gehrig had started the Yankees scoring in each of the first two games, and he drove in three more runs in the finale as the Yankees swept the Cubs.

1933 - Carl Hubbell, Giants (2-0, 0.00) - Walter Johnson had tried managing the Senators but despite winning at least 92 games three years in succession could never finish higher than second. So Clark Griffith fired the living legend and replaced him with his 26 year old shortstop, Joe Cronin. And it worked. It didn't hurt that Connie Mack had started selling off his stars again, and that Babe Ruth was another year older. The Sens hooked up with the Giants that October, who had been managed by first baseman Bill Terry since John McGraw's sudden retirement the previous summer. Hubbell tossed two complete game victories, the second an 11 inning effort in the finale as the Giants won in five.

1934 - Dizzy Dean, Cardinals (2-1, 1.73) - The Gas House Gang was a one-year wonder, and Ol' Diz didn't have long at the top of the game either. But their big year was unforgettable, even if it happened generations before we were born! After winning 30 during the season, three of them in the final six days, to pitch the Cardinals to the pennant, Dean tossed a pair of complete game victories in the Series, the second a shutout in the seventh game. He also did a memorable turn in the fourth game as a pinch-runner - he broke up a potential double play the hard way, intercepting the relay from shortstop Rogell with his head. His teammates carried their dazed and barely conscious ace off the field, and headlines the next day read "X-RAYS OF DEAN'S HEAD REVEAL NOTHING."

1935 - Tommy Bridges, Tigers (2-0, 2.50) - The Tigers finally won a championship, after coming up short on four previous tries. Now the eternally hapless Browns were the only AL team never to win a title. Bridges was a slightly built curveball artist whose life took a sad turn when he came back from the war with an alcohol problem. But that was years in the future. Against the Cubs, he tossed a pair of complete game victories and pulled a nifty Houdini act in the ninth inning of the finale - with the score tied 3-3 and Stan Hack on third after leading off with a triple, Bridges got a K, a comebacker and a flyout to escape the jam and collect the win when the Tigers scored in the bottom half..

1936 - Jake Powell, Yankees (.455/.538/.636, 1 HR 5 RBI) - The first Yankee dynasty was over. Miller Huggins was dead, Babe Ruth had retired, and the Yankees had just one pennant in the previous seven seasons. The second great dynasty begins right here. In the eight seasons from 1936 through 1943, they won seven pennants and six championships.The 1936 team might have been the best of the bunch. They were surely one of the greatest teams ever. They tore the league apart, finishing 19 games ahead of the second place Tigers. They scored 1,065 runs, just two shy of the all-time mark (which they'd set back in 1931.) They had Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri in the lineup - all Hall of Famers. Red Rolfe and George Selkirk were merely all-stars. Cooperstown would eventually summon pitchers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing as well.  That's a lot of Hall of Famers and they were all pretty close to their prime. So which of these immortals stepped up to lead them to a six game victory against the Giants in the Series? None of them? It was the guy who'd come over from Washington in a mid-season deal and would spend most of his career as a fourth outfielder? Of course it was.

1937 - Lefty Gomez, Yankees (2-0, 1.50) -  The Yankees were back, and this time they dismissed  the Giants in five games, outscoring them 21-3 in the first three games. Only a Carl Hubbell win in the fourth game averted the sweep. They'd had basically a three man offense during the season - Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Dickey - but in the Series, everybody chipped in with the bat.  Lefty Gomez allowed just three runs while pitching complete game wins in the opener and the finale.

1938 - Red Ruffing, Yankees (2-0, 1.50) - Gabby Hartnett's "Homer in the Gloamin" put the Cubs into the Series instead of the Giants. The Yankees didn't care, and don't appear to have broken much of a  sweat either as they simply blew away the Cubs, outscoring them 22-9. They got offense from all over the lineup - Ruffing provided complete game wins in the opener and the clincher.

1939 - Charlie Keller, Yankees (.438/.471/1.188, 3 HR, 6 RBI) - So Cincinnati took a crack at derailing the New York juggernaut, making just their second Series appearance ever twenty years after winning a tainted title in 1919. The Yankees still didn't care, and swept them behind four different starters; Keller was involved - either scoring or driving in - more than half the runs they scored in the series. The last game went to the tenth inning tied at 4-4. With one out and Crosetti on second, Keller reached on an error by the shortstop. With runners on the corners, DiMaggio singled to right to score Crosetti, and when the right fielder bobbled the ball, Keller came home as well. He seems to have collided with Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi, as he fielded the throw from the outfield in front of the plate and then turned back and lunged at Keller charging home. The film is choppy but it does suggest contact between Keller and the upper part of Lombardi's body and head. At any rate, the ball rolled a few feet away, as Lombardi lay stunned for a moment. Meanwhile DiMaggio had been running hard from the moment he left the batter's box, and now he came flying home. Lombardi scrambled after the ball, retrieved it, and then attempted to tag DiMaggio, who executed a very nifty slide and was called safe although the Reds all protested. The score was now 7-4, and when the Reds were retired in the bottom half of the inning, the Series was over. The Reds had lost and it was all Ernie Lombardi's fault - the Series became famous for what would always be called Lombardi's Snooze.

1940 - Bobo Newsom, Tigers (2-1, 1.38) - Cincinnati repeated as NL champs,and met up with Detroit. The Tigers lost, but  Newsom was the outstanding performer in the Series. He pitched three complete games. His father came up from South Carolina to see him win the opener, and then died while he was in town. Bobo said "I think I'll win this for my daddy" and pitched a shutout in the fifth game.  In the seventh game, working on a single day's rest, the Reds reached him for two runs in the seventh and took the series with the 2-1 victory.

1941 - Joe Gordon, Yankees (.500/.667/.929, 1 HR, 5 RBI) - This was the first true Subway Series, the first of seven such meetings in 16 years between  the Yankees in the Bronx and the Dodgers in Brooklyn. The Yankees had already played the Giants five times in October, and the term "Subway Series" had been used in 1936 and 1937 - but if you were already in the neighbourhood, the two ballparks were located conveniently close to one another, it being just a twenty minute walk from the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan across the Harlem River to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. But Brooklyn was the far side of the moon. The Yankees won the first and third games but the Dodgers were one strike away from winning the fourth game and tying the series. They got that third strike, but it eluded catcher Mickey Owen and Tommy Henrich reached first base. It was followed by hits from DiMaggio, Keller and Gordon and the Yankees had risen from the dead to score four times and win the game. They closed out the Series the next afternoon.

1942 - Johnny Beazley, Cardinals (2-0, 2.50) - The Yankees had won all eight Series appearances since losing to St. Louis in 1926. The Cardinals were back, and after dropping the opener at home, they cruised to victory in five games behind a balanced attack, Beazley  pitched complete game victories in the second and fifth games.

1943 - Spud Chandler, Yankees (2-0, 0.50) - The Yankees and Cardinals were back for a rematch, but a great many of their players were absent. This was the first Series truly impacted by the war - the Cardinals were missing Johnny Beazley, the star of the 1942 Series - they were also without outfielders Terry Moore and Enos Slaughter and infielders Jimmy Brown and Creepy (yes, Creepy) Crespi. For their part, the Yankees were without three Hall of Famers - Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Red Ruffing - and Red Rolfe had retired. No one hit very much, and Chandler provided a pair of complete game victories, the second a shutout, as the Yankees cruised in five games.

1944 - Mort Cooper, Cardinals (1-1, 1.13) - Baseball got so strange during the war years that the St Louis Browns actually won a pennant and got to play in a World Series, for the first (and only) time. In a low scoring series, Cooper hooked up with Denny Galehouse of the Browns in a pair of fine pitching duels. Cooper lost the first game 2-1 but pitched a shutout to win the fifth.

1945 - Hank Greenberg, Tigers (.304/.467/.696, 2 HR, 7 RBI) - This was a rematch of the 1935 Series, which the Tigers had won six games. That Series had ended with Stan Hack of the Cubs stranded on third base with the tying run. Hack was still the Cubs third baseman and Hank Greenberg was still the Tigers' best hitter. Greenberg had returned that June from almost four years in the US Army. No major league player served longer, but he picked up right where he'd left off, hitting .311/.404/.544 with 13 HR and 60 RBI in his half season. In the Series, Greenberg's three-run homer broke up a tie in the second game and his RBI singles put the Tigers ahead to stay in Games 4 and 5.

1946 - Harry Brecheen, Cardinals (3-0, 0.45) - This Series was famous for its finale, but it was full of interest along the way. It would be the only time Ted Williams played in a Series, but hampered by a bad elbow after being hit by a pitch in early October he managed just five hits and a single RBI. The two teams traded victories - first Boston, then St.Louis - for the first six games. Brecheen pitched a shutout to win the second game and a complete game victory to keep the Cardinals alive in the sixth game. The Cardinals took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning of the finale when the Red Sox put a couple of runners on against starter Murry Dickson. Brecheen came out of the pen and got the first two outs but Dom DiMaggio doubled home both runners to tie the game. But in the bottom half of the inning, Slaughter led off with a single and after two men were retired, he scored from first on Walker's double, the famous "mad dash" as shortstop Johnny Pesky supposedly hesitated before relaying the ball home. (I've watched the video, I don't think so!) Brecheen survived a nervous ninth inning to close out the game.

1947 - Hugh Casey, Dodgers (2-0, 0.87, 1 SV) - It's not often a player from the losing team is the best choice.Tommy Henrich of the Yankees was the hitting star, but Casey's performance was the most  impressive. The Dodgers tried six different starters in the seven games. None of them made it through five innings - they worked just 23.1 IP with a 9.64 ERA. The series would have been over a lot sooner if not for Casey, who came out of the pen to shut down Yankees rallies in games three and six. He also got the win in game four after Lavagetto's walk-off pinch hit double broke up Bevens' no-hit bid.

1948 - Bob Lemon, Cleveland (2-0, 1.65) - It was a low-scoring six game series in which no one hit very well - as a team, Cleveland hit .199. Larry Doby was their whole offense. The Braves beat Bob Feller twice, but Lemon beat Warren Spahn in the second game to even up the series, and he won the clincher four days later.

1949 - Allie Reynolds, Yankees (1-0, 0.00, 1 SV) - Reynolds pitched a shutout to win the opener 1-0, on Tommy Henrich's walkoff homer (the first walkoff homer in Series history.) In the fourth game, the Dodgers rallied from down 6-0 to score four runs in the sixth inning. They put the tying runners on board. Reynolds came on to strike out the pinch-hitter, ending the threat. He then set down the final nine Dodgers in order.

1950 - Joe DiMaggio, Yankees (.308/.471/.615) - The Whiz Kids from Philadelphia won a marvellous pennant race with the Dodgers that went down to the season's final game. Back in the Series for the first time since 1915, they ran into the Bronx juggernaut. The Yankees swept them behind four different starters. Gene Woodling was the top hitter in the Series, but DiMaggio's big hits in Games 2 and 4 were more decisive.

1951 - Eddie Lopat, Yankees (2-0, 0.50) - Trailing the Dodgers by 13 games in mid-August, the Giants had gone 37-7 to catch them and force the famous playoff, which they won with a desperate ninth-inning rally capped by Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard Round the World. For their troubles, they got a date with the Yankees. The Bombers, as usual, didn't care and beat them in six games behind a balanced attack in which no really stands out. Two brilliant rookie outfielders made their WS debuts - Willie Mays didn't do much for the Giants and Mickey Mantle suffered a devastating leg injury (it was probably a torn ACL) in the second game. Eddie Lopat's two complete game victories make him a pretty easy choice for Series MVP.

1952 - Allie Reynolds, Yankees (2-1, 1.77, 1 SV) - Reynolds started and lost the first game, but three days later pitched a shutout to even the series at two games apiece. In the sixth game, he came out of the pen in the eighth inning with the tying run on second base and closed the door on the Dodgers for the save; the next day, he relieved Eddie Lopat in the fifth inning to win the finale.

1953 - Billy Martin, Yankees (.500/.520/.958, 2 HR 8 RBI). Martin had made a spectacular, game-saving catch of a wind-blown infield popup in the finale of the 1952 Series (there were two outs, the bases were loaded, the first baseman lost the ball in the sun - if it fell in, three runs would have scored and put the Dodgers ahead ). This time he tortured Brooklyn with his bat. His bases loaded triple in the first inning of the first game got him off to a roaring start; his seventh inning homer tied up the second game; he ended the series with a walkoff hit to score Hank Bauer. His 12 hits tied the Series record.

1954 - Dusty Rhodes, Giants (.667/.714/1.667, 2 HR, 7 RBI)  In the first game, Rhodes pinch hit in the 10th inning of a 2-2 tie and hit a three-run walkoff homer. (The game had gone to extra innings largely because our man Willie Mays had made a pretty nifty catch in the eighth inning.) In the second game, with the Giants down by a run, Rhodes delivered an RBI single to tie the game. He stayed in that game and added s solo homer to put the Giants up 3-1. In the third  game, Rhodes delivered a two-run pinch-hit single to break up a 1-1 tie and put the Giants ahead to stay. They didn't need him to finish the sweep, but yeah - the Series MVP was a pinch-hitter.

In 1955, SPORT magazine began giving its annual award to the World Series MVP, which has since been officially adopted. The winners named since 1955 have, with one glaring exception, gone to someone quite deserving. You can certainly quibble a little - Gary Carter may have been a better choice than Ray Knight in 1986. Mickey Mantle or Whitey Ford were just as worthy as Bobby Richardson in 1960 (certainly all three were far more impressive than anyone from the actual winning team.) 

It really irritates me that three players had to share the 1981 award (although actually trying to choose just one between the three of them is truly desperate work.)  But you can't really give the MVP to Yankees pitcher George Frazier (0-3, 17.18) although it's hard to see who contributed more to the Dodgers' victory. If I had to settle for one, it would be Guerrero.

But the only egregious error to my mind was giving the MVP to Livan Hernandez in 1997. Hernandez did win both his starts but he allowed 9 runs in 13.2 innings. A 5.27 ERA in two starts is generally not my idea of your MVP, and especially not when Moises Alou is hitting .321/.387/.714 with 3 HR and 9 RBIs.

Bobby Richardson (1960) is the only second baseman to win the post-1955 World Series MVP, but I've singled out Frank Frisch, Joe Gordon, and Billy Martin in the years prior. I was somewhat shocked that Eddie Collins didn't make the list . Collins has long been regarded as one of the great World Series performers of all time, and he would indeed have been a worthy choice on three occasions (1910, 1913, 1917) - I just went with Baker and Faber instead. Sorry Eddie!

Richardson is also the only player from the losing team to be named MVP, but I think Bobo Newsom (1940) and Hugh Casey (1947) would have been the best choices in their day. Willie Stargell is the oldest World Series MVP in 1979, but Pete Alexander was just a little older (by ten days) in October 1926 than Stargell was in October 1979.

Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Reggie Jackson are the only two-time winners since 1955; I've given two awards to Frank Baker, Lou Gehrig, and Allie Reynolds and three to Babe Ruth. Jackson is the only man to win his two awards for two different teams, but I've got Ruth for two different teams and at two different positions - one as a pitcher, two as an outfielder. He was mighty. He prevailed with regularity. Although you could make the same argument for Reggie, I suppose. While in 1977 Jackson played only in right field, in 1973 he started five Series games in centre field and just two games in right field.

It's just not as impressive as pitching and playing the outfield.

The Willie Mays World Series MVP Award | 113 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 08:09 AM EDT (#409091) #
Wow Mqgpie, you are writing books on here.
ae_scott - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 08:20 AM EDT (#409092) #
Delightful as always, Magpie.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#409094) #
Epic, Magpie.

Collins reversed his field, and dashed past Rariden towards home plate, with Zimmerman behind him, the ball in his hand, in desperate pursuit. Because no one was covering home. Pitcher Benton and first baseman Holving were just standing around, watching the play

This was not, as some believe, the origin of the phrase "what a rube!".
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 03 2021 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#409095) #
I knew about Allie Reynolds' World Series heroics, but this article inspired me to learn a bit more about him.  Here's a start. 
Petey Baseball - Thursday, November 04 2021 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#409124) #
Nick Castellanos is a free agent. He'd be a great fit with the Jays at third base, if they're willing to sacrifice a little defense.
Glevin - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#409133) #
"Nick Castellanos is a free agent. He'd be a great fit with the Jays at third base, if they're willing to sacrifice a little defense."

He hasn't played 3B since 2017 and was awful then. He's not playable there.
Mike Green - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#409135) #
I agree with glevin about Castellanos, but for somewhat different reasons.  If you take the longer view of his defence at third base and in the outfield, he's about the same in both places according to both UZR and DRS.  A poor but not unplayable defender (-7/150).  The problem is that his bat over the long term is very good but not great; by xWOBA last year he was at .371 which is almost exactly where he has been over the last 6.  He's a 15 WAR player over his career, and accordingly Steamer projects him at 2 WAR in 660 PAs despite a very good .269/.330/.484 slash line.  Is he an upgrade on Santiago Espinal- not really.  Steamer projects him at .268/.325/.376, a significant fall-off from his career line of .301/.361/.390, but 1.4 WAR in 421 PAs.  Another right-handed bat with high slug and fair OBP and poor defence is not what the club needs. 
85bluejay - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#409137) #
Interesting, Wade Miley had a very good year and the Reds couldn't find a trade partner - Cubs claimed him on waivers.
Glevin - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#409138) #
Baffling in regards to Miley. Miley had a $10M option. He's not an amazing pitcher but would still bring something back at that price. Why didn't Reds pick up option and trade him?
mathesond - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#409139) #
Seems like last winter people were wondering the same about Brad Hand...
vw_fan17 - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#409140) #
I guess the Cubs had priority over the Jays on the waiver wire, given they are in the same league? For $10M, a pitcher a pretty good 3 years of the last 4 (ERA+: 159, 116, 88, 141) should have been a no-brainer for us to pick up - it's only a 1 year deal, AFAIK.
John Northey - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#409141) #
Yeah, iirc waivers work by league (same league first) then by reverse of standings (worst gets first choice). Another reason to hope for MLB to just say 'screw it' and make it all one league. AL/NL was fun for a long time but if they go universal DH then the last difference will be gone. Used to be different umpires for each league, the NL used to have a LOT more AstroTurf fields (leading to more of an emphasis on speed due to the old turf making balls roll further). Now there are only a few of those left, Jays, Rays, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Marlins. And the modern version doesn't have the concrete effect the old ones did.
Magpie - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#409144) #
The great Vin Scully has an observation:

Would you believe in the year Hank Aaron passed away, the Braves won 44 games before the All-Star break, 44 games after the break, and won the World Series the 44th week of the year. Aaron, of course, wore #44. Maybe the Braves had a secret weapon after all.

Explains a lot.
bpoz - Friday, November 05 2021 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#409146) #
Very weird Magpie.
AWeb - Saturday, November 06 2021 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#409153) #
Thanks for the great article Magpie. Been on this site a long time, and your writing is still great.
Glevin - Saturday, November 06 2021 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#409156) #
Jays made Matz a multi year offer but he turned it down so they won't give QO. Makes sense. He'd be a useful back of rotation guy but there will be a bunch of those guys available. Not something you overpay for.
John Northey - Saturday, November 06 2021 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#409157) #
Thanks Glevin - link to the tweet
bpoz - Saturday, November 06 2021 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#409158) #
Glad that the jays have started their search for player additions. Best wishes to Matz.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 06 2021 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#409159) #
The Jays were reportedly considering making a QO to him, with some in the FO in favour of doing this, so it wasnít a clear-cut decision. The decision may have had something to do with having a less-than-optimal payroll in 2022. Itís hard to evaluate the decision without knowing the overall financial picture.

My inclination would have been to make the QO, as I think Matz had a good chance of being useful to the Jays in 2022 (with some potential to be even better than he was in 2021). I think heís a cut above the typical back-end fodder that is out there. Think about some of the pitchers the Jays have used in the rotation and bullpen in recent years ó itís easy to forget just how awful some of those ďbargainsĒ can turn out to be.
85bluejay - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 07:37 AM EST (#409165) #
It's close but my inclination would be not to offer Matz the QO.
bpoz - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 10:08 AM EST (#409167) #
With the deadline being 5PM today the QO offer "may" not be over and done with.

So most likely the long term offer was 2-3 years with/without option. Assume $10/12/15 mil per year for 3. So cheap to expensive. We don't know the offer.

I will believe the no QO offer when the deadline passes.

FA Corey Dickerson (low level) is not getting a QO which all of baseball should assume. In theory he could sign before 5PM today with any club I assume.

John Northey - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 11:06 AM EST (#409171) #
Dickerson I figure is looking for a full-time job with someone - 109 games this year, 52 in 2020 (pretty much full time), 78 in 19, 135 in 18, 150 in 17. He can play full time when healthy, but is best vs RHP only (845 OPS vs RHP, 708 vs LHP lifetime - last year 749/642). If the Jays trade Gurriel or Hernandez then Dickerson would work well in a platoon with Grichuk I think (759/779 lifetime, 693/733 last year) or with Gurriel if Grichuk is miraculously traded (803/843 lifetime, 802/743 last year which seems odd vs his career figures). Huh, surprised by Gurriel's figures there for 2021 and being over 800 both ways lifetime.

No question in my mind the Jays #1 priority is resigning Ray, then trying to keep Semien or finding replacements for both. I suspect they made what they felt was a likely 3 year deal to Matz to see if he'd bite but when he didn't show any interest in it they knew he'd take the QO. The old arbitration system (offer arbitration to get compensation) was a bit too weak (Jays once traded for a guy going to free agency just to get the draft pick under AA), the current QO I think is getting too strong (Matz is a good starter and it seems wrong the Jays get nothing for him). Something in the middle is needed - maybe no one loses a pick, but teams can gain one for losing a guy who was worth 3+ WAR the season before or an average of 3+ in the previous 3 seasons (any version of WAR would work). Of course, for the league to encourage teams and players to stay together would be better as continuity of players helps attach fans to a club so maybe no compensation at all, or some reward for both player and team if the guy stays - no idea how that could work - maybe a pick if you resign your own free agent, but that would encourage teams to let guys get to that stage. Too often these things can backfire.

So for 2022 the Jays could have 2 picks gained (helping rebuild the farm), or they resign 2 key players (expanding the window of contention potentially). Dang, I'm wandering again. Too many thoughts.
bpoz - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 11:49 AM EST (#409173) #
LAD are a team that goes very far to win. They got past SF but Atlanta prevented them from getting into the WS. Injuries to Kershaw, Gonsolin and May depleted their rotation. Also Bauer was lost for part of the year. These injuries did not matter as far as getting a WC spot.

Scherzer was added to get as deep as possible into the playoffs and maybe to win their division. I don't know who else tried for Scherzer. A big package was given up for Scherzer and Trea Turner. At least T Turner was not a rental.

It really astonishes me how far LAD would go to win. The 2021 WS was still no guarantee for LAD.
Glevin - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 12:01 PM EST (#409174) #
Matz was never going to get QO and I doubt it was ever a consideration except for some PR (look how much we value you). Reds couldn't trade Miley who had similar underlying numbers as Matz at $10M salary so cut him. You just don't give backend players that much money. It would be very hard to find another Ray but very doable to find another Matz. Think Matz will end up with a slightly better version of Taijuan Walker deal. Walker was 3/$23. Matz, maybe 3/$26 or something? I think a one year deal for Matz would be in the $10-12M range.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 12:43 PM EST (#409175) #
I think you're wrong. Kevin Goldstein, former Astros scouting director, called Matz "a real tough QO case. Itís VERY close. I do think heíll do well in FA if he doesnít get one" (Oct. 18, 2021 Fangraphs chat).
Glevin - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 12:58 PM EST (#409177) #
Well, let's see. I don't think he'll do very well in free agency and if he does, good for him but I wouldn't want to be the team paying big bucks for a backend starter. If Jays sign a top-3 guy, they get that guy, Berrios, Manoah, Ryu, and Pearson with Stripling being the 6th guy and Hatch #7. That's certainly good enough to compete. Don't think Jays settle for that but the need is the Ray/Rodon/Gausman or even Gray/Desclafini type not #4/#5 guy.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 02:40 PM EST (#409179) #
Matz was somewhere between the 15th and 25th best starter in the AL last year.  That's an awfully nice back-end starter.  The distance between Hatch/Stripling and Matz is probably about the same as the distance between Matz and Ray. 

I don't know whether a QO is reasonable though.  If a lockout results in a 80 game season, a player like Matz may have less value.
Glevin - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 06:16 PM EST (#409180) #
That's absolute nonsense Mike... The game is very much on a curve and the difference between Matz and Stripling is not even remotely like Matz and Ray. There's a good chance Stripling is better than Matz next year and very little chance either are close to Ray. Why do I say that? Because in the past five years, Stripling has been better than Matz in four of those years. Matz is being hilariously overrated here. He's a guy who has had a 3.90-4.50 XFIP for five straight years. That's a pretty solid baseline for a backend starter. He's had 3.4 total WAR over the past five years. And this is not like Ray where there is an obvious improvement. Matz has pretty much the same baseline numbers. If you want to bet on him being the best he's ever been, go for it, but that's a bad bet to take and I'd rather a different team take that bet. Just baffled at how much people like Matz.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 07:01 PM EST (#409181) #
Kevin Goldstein is hilariously overrating Matz? Interesting. Why would a neutral observer with his credentials do that?
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 07:37 PM EST (#409182) #
Letís see what Matz ends up getting and let reality determine who is right. By the way, back end starter can vary. Back end starter on a contending or championship team is very different from back end starter on a mediocre team.

Itís a good time to remember you canít prove somebody elseís opinion wrong, but you can strengthen your own case.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 08:46 PM EST (#409183) #
For the record, mlbtraderumors didnít include Matz in their surprised list of non tendered pitchers.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 08:50 PM EST (#409184) #
The thing about the Jays current rotation is that back-end could become mid-rotation pretty quickly.

Berrios - great

Manoah - great (unclear how many innings heíll be able to throw, though)

Ryu - could be great, good, in decline, injured ó hard to predict

Pearson - big arm, durability and consistency big question marks. Bullpen arm?
greenfrog - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 09:54 PM EST (#409185) #
For the record, Iím not saying that Matz is destined to be a great pitcher in 2022. I am saying that he has a decent shot at being good (with some risk that he gets injured or is mediocre), and that a QO, while perhaps an overpay in terms of AAV, would have been a reasonable way to secure some quality depth in the rotation next year without a lot of risk.

I get the counterarguments, though.
cascando - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 10:18 PM EST (#409186) #
I like Matz and would be happy to see him back, but it was obvious to me that he wasnít going to get a QO. I guess if Kevin Goldstein was the GM there may have been a difficult internal discussion. Maybe there was? Anyway, I hope heíll be open to coming back in a reasonable FA deal, and Iíd be surprised if the market for Matz is even close to $18.4M/ year, regardless of term. I donít see much precedent for starters who are not durable and have no history of high-end performance getting that type of money.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 07 2021 @ 11:07 PM EST (#409187) #
You pay $18.4m *because* youíre not giving him a multiyear deal. In other words, you pay more in AAV because youíre not taking on any term risk.

Matz will have appeal to teams because heís in his prime, is a lefty, has good stuff, made some improvements in 2022, and pitched in a tough division (in three hitter-friendly home parks). And sure, he hasnít been the most durable pitcher, but he made 29 starts in 2021.

He had 2.8 WAR last year and Steamer projects him for 2.3 WAR next year. If a win costs about $8m+ then $18.4m on a one-year contract really doesnít sound that bad. Sure, you can go high-risk, high-reward and throw cash at someone like Syndergaard, but where does that leave you if he blows out his arm again?
Michael - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 01:51 AM EST (#409189) #
I'm in the camp that would have offered him the QO. 1 year at $18.4 is, from my POV, a safer offer than something like 3 years for $40M which that article said was the limit of the Gray long term deal that the Rockies then didn't offer the 1-year QO.

Unless there's something we don't know about the player's health, the team's payroll (with the parent company management issues), and/or the possibility of lockout/strike.
bpoz - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 07:53 AM EST (#409191) #
The best Matz has done is 4 seasons from 2016-2021 about 150IP with an ear 3.80-4.10. I evaluate those good seasons as a very good #4 and a fairly solid #3. The 14 wins in 2021 are the highest he has ever had.

Stripling compares quite similarly. Never a full time starter. 3 years of about 100IP with an era of about 3.80? He probably did not have to go through the lineup a 3rd time too often. I rank him as a decent #4.

2022 will probably not prove who is better but over 3 years we probably get our answer.

We rank value on the latest year IMO. I try not to. So the Matz QO was a question mark. When Stripling is eligible the QO is a more firm No I expect.

I am also pondering Pearson and Syndergaard. Syndergaard was proven to be good prior to his TJ. 2IP in 2 years. Pearson has not proven anything as far as how good he is. With injuries he has pitched 33IP in the last 2 years. So my question is that if both are healthy in 2022 for the entire year the IP should be 100-150 I am guessing. Pearson may be on a lower quantity of IP.
Mike Green - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 08:03 AM EST (#409192) #
Matz had the lowest barrel rate among the starters.  The starter's xERA for 2021 courtesy of Statcast:

Manoah- 3.37
Ray- 3.56
Matz- 4.06
Berrios- 4.09
Ryu- 4.45
Stripling- 4.83

Ray will probably win the AL Cy Young and he was very good, but there was an element of luck there.  His barrel rate was double that of Matz.

Like Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law, Mike Petriello described the QO decision for Matz as a tough call which could go either way.  It's not a perspective that is unique to a few Battersbox denizens.

cascando - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 12:18 PM EST (#409193) #
You pay $18.4m *because* youíre not giving him a multiyear deal. In other words, you pay more in AAV because youíre not taking on any term risk.

Yes, that is how it works. If Matz ends up getting a one-year deal, I think it will be several million less than the QO amount. If it's a multi-year deal, then less still. That's my expectation. I guess we'll see.
Mike Green - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 12:47 PM EST (#409194) #
That's close to the way I feel about it, but not quite.  Matz and the Blue Jays were negotiating on a multi-year deal but did not reach an agreement.  I think he'll end up with 3 X 15 or so.  If he doesn't arrive at a multi-year deal early, he might end up getting less on a 1 year deal later- maybe $12 million for 1 year.  But the CBA situation hangs over everything and it means the best one can do is a guess.
ayjackson - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 01:55 PM EST (#409195) #
Any speculation that they might have a 2 or 3 year deal with Matz ready to go or would the CBA uncertainty likely preclude that?
hypobole - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 03:03 PM EST (#409196) #
FWIW, Dierkes at MLBTR predicts the Matz contract as 3 X 9, McDaniel at ESPN as 2 X 12.5.
cascando - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 03:04 PM EST (#409197) #
Speaking of objective observers, MLB Trade Rumors projects Matz's next contract at 3/27; Ben Clemens of fangraphs projects Matz getting 3/42 and the crowdsource answer at fangraphs is 3/38.3 (median) and 2.68/35.5 (mean).
Chuck - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 03:35 PM EST (#409198) #
Dierkes at MLBTR predicts the Matz contract as 3 X 9

That seems harsh. Even Roark got 2x12.

Mike Green - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 04:31 PM EST (#409199) #
The pitcher I thought of when estimating Matz was J.A. Happ- who started off strong in Philadelphia (as Matz did with the Metz) and then had a prolonged down phase where he was a below average pitcher.  He then had a good but not great year in 2015.  He was signed for 3 X13 heading into the 2016 season.  I guess many (most?) people here feel that Matz has no possibility of achieving what Happ did in 2016 and 2017. 
Nigel - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 04:33 PM EST (#409200) #
Matz' history gives ammunition to a broad range of perspectives on his ability and projecting his future. For me, the dividing line on outcomes is somewhere around 3/42. If you think Matz could get 3/42 or above then a QO makes some sense (the annual QO amount is probably a closeish approximation of what a fair one year contract would be in a world in which he could get 3X14). If you think his three year contract amount would be a lot less, then a QO is a an overpay. Without considering the uncertainty caused by the CBA, I think Matz could get a deal around 3/42 plus or minus, so I probably would have made the QO on the basis that getting bigger name FA pitchers to sign in Toronto has always been almost impossible. I understand the contrary view though.
Gerry - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 04:46 PM EST (#409201) #
Andrew Heaney, who some thought would be a good fit for the Jays, is signing with the Dodgers.

The Orioles claimed Bryan Baker off waivers from the Jays.

With Baker and Dany Jimenez gone, it shows that K rate alone will not get you a spot in the Jays bullpen.
John Northey - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 05:23 PM EST (#409202) #
Now the question becomes multi-pronged. Do the Jays blow the wad hoping Ray can keep being a Cy winner with the risk that he goes back to the 2020 pumpkin he was? Or do they sign a couple of risks like Jon Grey (107 ERA+ lifetime, 3.0 BB/9 vs 9.2 K/9 with 2021 numbers very similar in Colorado) and Carlos Rodon (24 fantastic starts in 2021, but then injured, after a 2020/2019 where he totaled 11 games, 9 starts, 42 IP) both of whom didn't get QO's? Ex-Jay Anthony DeSclafani also is a free agent who didn't get a QO despite a 3.9 WAR season (104 ERA+ lifetime, 2.5 BB/9 vs 8.0 K/9). Those 3 only cost cash, and probably less than $20 mil per each. In fact 2 of them combined might make less than Ray will in 2022 with fewer years added after.

So if you are the Jays GM what do you do? It worked well last year risking $8 mil on Ray - can any of those guys be had or someone else for that little, thus saving more to upgrade at 3B/2B or hold Semien? As much as I'd love to keep Ray I have trouble risking $100+ mil on him.
cascando - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 07:12 PM EST (#409204) #
I think theyíll go after at least one upper-tier guy like Gausman. And if they donít get him, sign a lower tier FA with modest upside like Pineda. Semienís money is going to be used to pay their arbitration eligible guys. Unless the payroll is set to rise significantly, there may not be much leftover. A couple of RP, a steady rotation arm, and that is the same as what they spent on Matz+Ray+Semien+Yates. Fortunately they donít have too many holes that absolutely have to be filled through FA.
dalimon5 - Monday, November 08 2021 @ 11:58 PM EST (#409206) #
Iím betting they sign Semien or Seager, Berrios and let Ray walk. Trade any combo of Gurriel, Kirk and B prospect for elite starter from the Marlins.

Plan B is Ramirez.

That would be my strategy.

ď For the record, Iím not saying that Matz is destined to be a great pitcher in 2022. I am saying that he has a decent shot at being good (with some risk that he gets injured or is mediocre), and that a QO, while perhaps an overpay in terms of AAV, would have been a reasonable way to secure some quality depth in the rotation next year without a lot of risk.Ē

I donít think anyone will argue against that.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 06:37 AM EST (#409208) #
Looking at teams that will have very low playoff hopes.

AL: Cleveland (retooling to open another window fast), KC (1 more year of prospect development), Texas (trying to force their window through, FAs, trade and high level prospects graduating), Minnesota (may try somehow to contend) Baltimore (continue to rebuild). 5 teams.

NL: Colorado & Arizona (have to deal with LAD,SF and SD) so the need a strong farm and payroll flexibility. Miami (payroll flexibility & young/controllable talent) will help them vault over Philadelphia, Washington and NYM who will try to compete and probably fail with expensive/bad contracts. Cubs and Pittsburgh are building slowly.

This establishes the off season playing field the way I see it.

I believe that Shapiro has quite clearly said that he wants to compete for a "long" time. He has also said how he would do it. He will use a strong farm and payroll flexibility to do that. Use the farm to trade for Berrios. Trade for Cimber and C Dickerson by giving Miami payroll flexibility as the cost of Panik and McInvale. Richards was useful at the cost of Tellez a very promising hitter that may achieve his potential.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 08:02 AM EST (#409209) #
Iím thinking about Mike Moustakas. Heís a flawed player with a very bad contract... and the Reds are apparently desperate to cut payroll. Are they desperate enough to give up good assets to get rid of him, say Sonny Gray? And to take back a lesser bad contract, say Randal Grichuk?

I think itís worth exploring for the Jays. Moustakas fits the roster much better than Grichuk.
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 09:05 AM EST (#409212) #
Kiley McDaniel at espn has some FA contract projections out this week.

I don't know; Gausman, Ray, Semien - they all seem pretty reasonable. (5x20-22)
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 09:21 AM EST (#409213) #
Yes, ay.  Any of those players at that contract price would be good value, and Semien would be excellent value.  I think those numbers are low, but we'll see.

Moustakas and Gray for Grichuk and a lower level prospect would be reasonable.  Gray's Statcast numbers suggest that is mediocre 2021 ERA was totally unrepresentative of how he pitched.  Indeed, his xERA over the season was the best of his fine career.  If money was an issue for the Jays, the Reds could throw in a little money to offset the salary differential and the Blue Jays could upgrade the prospect sent the other way. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 09:43 AM EST (#409214) #
John Northey - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 10:09 AM EST (#409215) #
The challenge for the Jays is long term payroll - a big monkey wrench is Bo & Vlad in 2-3 years as they start to get paid what they are worth. Plus of course Hernandez and others. So short term 2-3 year deals are ideal for the Jays unless at a bargain rate. But few high end free agents will take that. Trades cost a lot of prospect capital which they'd rather hold onto in order to keep a cheap flow of talent coming.

Potential star calibre players coming up are Moreno (C), O Martinez (SS), maybe Groshans (SS/3B). No others catch me as potential all-stars though. I easily could be wrong though. Gunnar Hoglund is the highest rated pitcher, but hasn't pitched as a pro yet due to Tommy John surgery. Adam Kloffenstein is the next highest pitcher but had a 6.22 ERA in 2021 so he is a ways off I suspect, if he ever reaches.

So pitching is critical. If Pearson doesn't develop the Jays have a big issue as then only Manoah would be a cheap quality starter in the rotation. Everyone else has to be imported (not to mention Stripling and Berrios are free agents post 2022, and just 2 years left of Ryu). No question that has to be priority #1 this winter and next.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 10:48 AM EST (#409216) #
Agreed John N. Pitching is critical.

Without Ryu we don't do as well in 2020 & 21.

Ray and Matz were gambles that paid off big for 2021.

For 2022 hopefully Ryu continues to be good. We got lucky with Manoah and Berrios was a smart move.

Ryu, Manoah and Berrios seem to be the best Opening day rotation from 2020-2022. Stripling has the track record to be very good if he can have one of his best years with a 3.50 era and 150 IP.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 11:28 AM EST (#409217) #
If the Jays can swap Grichuk for Moustakas in order to lower the prospect cost for one of Cincy's SP's (preferably Castillo but more likely Gray), then it's definitely worth looking into. I'm not sure what Moose is going to provide after an injury plagued 2021, and given his age he's more likely in the declining phase, but swapping out Grichuk makes Moose's contract a bit more palatable (versus signing someone like Seager and still having Grichuk's contract).

The Jays apparently offered Moustakas 3/30 before he signed with the Reds for 4/64. Clearly they valued him but not nearly as much as his current contract. Taking on $38m (what's remaining on Moose's deal) while getting rid of about $19m (Grichuk) softens the blow somewhat.

Ideally the Jays could upgrade 3B and get a comparable SP (to Gray) through free agency, but obviously that's the much tougher (and likely more expensive) road.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 12:32 PM EST (#409218) #
The NL Central is weak so only Milwaukee and St Louis are strong. The Reds wanted cut to payroll so Miley (163IP) is gone.

Mahle, Gutierrez, Castillo and Gray are quite a solid rotation. Their core is young and needs to win to build a winning spirit. I see them as close to contending now. Tanking does not seem right.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 12:36 PM EST (#409219) #
Grichuk would be good value if his contract was 2 or 3 million less. He has the annoying ability to ground into double plays but he is very steady defensively -- over 500 chances handled last year and 0 errors.

Does anybody think Johnny Cueto could be a cheaper no. 5 starter or would he be another Tanner Roark?
Nigel - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 02:51 PM EST (#409220) #
If I listen carefully, I can hear Boras laughing, all the way out here in Vancouver, about that estimate from McDaniel on Semien's contract numbers.
85bluejay - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 03:19 PM EST (#409221) #
what would you be prepared to give up for Castillo/Gray/Moustakas/Senzel(change of scenery guy whom I think the reds have given up on)?
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 03:19 PM EST (#409222) #
I would be pleased if the Jays signed Semien for around 5/125 ($15m more than McDanielís prediction). He was and is a great fit for the Blue Jays.
Nigel - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 03:31 PM EST (#409223) #
Unless my math is wrong (always a possibility), Semien has the most WAR or any player in baseball over the past 3 years. I think Semien's AAV on a 5 year deal is closer to $30m. On a longer deal, $25m AAV may be possible but there are huge age related risks with that. What I do know is that you don't hire Boras if you have any goals other than extracting maximum value.
cascando - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 03:45 PM EST (#409225) #
I just looked at Kiley McDaniel's list and several of the predictions seem wildly unrealistic to me. He projects Ray to get 76 million over 4 years. That is less than Ryu. I guess, sure, sign Ray if he's willing to take that deal, but I don't think it is happening.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 03:46 PM EST (#409226) #
Iím sure Borasís interns are hard at work preparing an inches-thick binder on Semienís superlative abilities.

It would be interesting (or perhaps painful) to know the terms of the multiyear contracts that the Jays reportedly discussed with Semien prior to the 2021 season. Perhaps Semien wanted something like four years at $16-18m per year but the Jays felt that would be too risky.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 03:47 PM EST (#409227) #
My guess is Semien ends up with 5/150. Or maybe 6/150, but either way, I don't think he goes below $150M. As mentioned, if he hired Boras, then he's likely looking to maximize every dollar he can. As he should. My pre-Boras prediction was around 5/125, but I think he ends up topping that now.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 06:20 PM EST (#409229) #
For what it's worth, I would take Semien at 6/150.  I think he's going to age much better than the average player, with his obvious commitment to fitness and history of durability key factors. 
85bluejay - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 07:00 PM EST (#409231) #
The problem with Semien at 6/150 is that you have Springer at that price and if you hope to extend Vlad & Bo, both are likely to be 25m plus per year - that's over 100m for 4 players and you haven't even gotten to the most important item - quality pitching and I don't see the Jays being a luxury tax team (regardless if posters would argue that they can afford to be).
99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 07:21 PM EST (#409233) #
I agree with most that the hypothesized contracts from pundits seem too low. I wonder if thereís something weíre missing, like maybe the pandemicís effects on revenue are greater than we believe? Mid/smaller market teams like Cincinnati and Cleveland looking to cut payroll may be a sign that teams are still trying to make up for their 2020 revenue losses.

You have to think that the number of teams bidding this year is already enough to push things well above last year, but maybe thatís not true
John Northey - Tuesday, November 09 2021 @ 11:25 PM EST (#409236) #
And there is the problem for the Jays - 6/$150 might make sense for Semien but with Springer already signed for roughly that and in a few years getting hit with Vlad, Bo, Hernandez, etc. it could get to be too much. I suspect they'll let Semien go this winter and chase cheaper options for one of 3B/2B with Biggio/Espinal at the other and hoping a kid comes up and succeeds (such as Groshans or Lopez or Smith) thus allowing them to say 'goodbye' to the more expensive option at 3B/2B. Blow a wad on the rotation instead (Ray or someone else - I suspect they are after an older star to cover for 2-3 years then leave as Bo & Vlad get real expensive).
scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 08:20 AM EST (#409238) #
I think he's going to age much better than the average player, with his obvious commitment to fitness and history of durability key factors.

Reminds me of Bautista.

Objectively, I wouldn't expect a late bloomer to age well.
Now, a guy who was a phenom at 15 might still be one at 42.
And yet, I'm not expecting Guerrero to age well either, because of other factors.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 09:07 AM EST (#409240) #
I wasn't intending to say that the Blue Jays should acquire Semien at 6/150.  That's a complicated question which depends on budgets.  I was saying that he would be still good value (for whichever team signed him) at that level. 
bpoz - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 09:16 AM EST (#409241) #
The GM meeting is currently underway.

Atkins spoke well (feeling positive) but revealed nothing. The writer however mentioned what he thought the Jays should/would do. Jerry Dipoto however revealed a lot. He too felt positive about 90 wins and a young team. He will chase FAs but none that will take away the position of the young successful stars. He mentioned Ty France and JP Crawford as breaking out in 2021. Also M Haniger is returning. I believe Dipoto and Atkins because I heard them talk.
scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 10:11 AM EST (#409242) #
Are the GMs allowed to talk about free agents in those meetings?
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 10:41 AM EST (#409244) #
Reminds me of Bautista.

Semien doesn't remind me of Bautista.  Jose was fiery, and on the reckless side when ired.  This contributed to the shoulder injury and made him a total liability in the field by his mid 30s.  Semien moved to a dangerous position this year and played it very well with discipline and care for his body.  Of course, anything can happen and luck does play an important role. 
scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 11:00 AM EST (#409245) #
Semien's 202 injury is the reason he ended up with the Blue Jays.
He missed a lot of time in 2017 as well. Not really the iron man you picture.

scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 11:02 AM EST (#409246) #
2020 injury.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 11:39 AM EST (#409248) #
Semien played 53 of Oakland's 60 games in 2020.   Since he came up for good in 2015, he's played as pretty much any middle infielder- Cesar Hernandez has played 4 more and Brandon Crawford has played 3 less.  No, he's not Cal Ripken Jr., but that level of commitment to playing every game even if injured has its costs. 
scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 01:51 PM EST (#409250) #
Semien is a .250-.265 hitter who has developed elite power in the last 3 years.
It's conceivable that he'll be an elite player for the next 4 or 5 years.
A lot of that depends on opposite pitchers continuing to challenge him inside.
Bautista was an elite hitter between 29 and 34. Semien is a good defender, but few teams spend a lot of money on their second basemen.
The Yankees, for example, hedged their bets with LeMahieu. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 02:08 PM EST (#409252) #
Semien is a shortstop who played second base for one year.  It wouldn't shock me at all if the Yankees took a pass on Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story et. al and went for Semien. 
Hodgie - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 02:58 PM EST (#409253) #
The limiting factor for Semien's next contract would be whether the league still views him as a SS or a 2B going forward. Kevin Goldstein in a recent chat suggested that the industry sees the latter, with his defensive metrics over the last 3 seasons, at least by OOA, suggesting the same. If that is the case, Boras or no Boras I think it will be difficult for a soon to be 32 year old 2B to get $30M/year on a longer-term deal.
scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 03:28 PM EST (#409254) #
The Yankees have 2 highly ranked middle infield prospects, so it's not clear if they'll be looking for someone to act as a placeholder at SS or if they'll sign one on a long contract and use their prospect capital some other way.
Their other need is centerfield and elite pitching.

scottt - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 03:54 PM EST (#409255) #
Semien being represented by Boras means that he won't be signing until late next year.

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 04:05 PM EST (#409256) #
That's interesting regarding Semien's defence, Hodgie.  It's not often that DRS and UZR both are on the opposite side of OAA.  If you use 2018-21 allowing that Semien had relatively few shortstop appearances in 2020 and 2021, the disparity between DRS/UZR (+13/+18 runs) and OAA -14 outs) is very large.  I don't think I've seen that before. 
Hodgie - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 05:29 PM EST (#409258) #
I was surprised as well Mike, and it wasn't until Goldstein's comment that I dug into his Statcast numbers. Statcast has really never been a big fan of Marcus at SS.
AWeb - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 06:48 PM EST (#409259) #
Athletes and agents are generally pretty delusional about things, but it would be unusual for Semien to be a good defensive SS in his mid 30s. Also, and if I were teams I couldn't stress this enough, he just finished 2nd or 3rd in mvp voting as a second baseman. It was obviously an ideal situation for him, it would be a bad idea to switch it up. Also the Jays should throw short term big bucks at him, imo. 3 years 100 million?
Nigel - Wednesday, November 10 2021 @ 07:27 PM EST (#409260) #
Semien seems like an ideal fit for the NYY and the LAA. Whether there is actual interest from those two clubs or not, the fact that two of the richest clubs would be likely landing spots will make bidding for Semien from the cost conscious all the more difficult.
Jonny German - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 04:08 AM EST (#409261) #
Tweet from @GregorChisolm:

Clarifying something that has been misreported, as far as I know, for years. A lot of sites list Gurriel as having a year of arb remaining after the next two years of his deal expire. That is not the case. Gurriel will be eligible for free agency after 2023.

That's a big hit to his trade value.
Jonny German - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 04:48 AM EST (#409262) #
There's been lots of talk / assumption that the Yankees will spend big once again in free agency, particularly on one of the star shortstops and on high-end starting pitching. I'm skeptical about just how much they can do - including arbitration estimates they're already projected for over$200M in 2022 payroll. Luxury tax (current CBA) starts at $210M and they don't have significant contracts they can easily move. Even if they're willing to join the Dodgers in the $250M range, that only puts them on par with the Jays for how much they've got available to spend.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 09:01 AM EST (#409263) #
Interesting points, Jonny.  I have thoughts on both Gurriel's "lost" arb year and his trade value, and the Yankee payroll situation. I'll give each of them a separate comment.

On Gurriel, I don't see his 2024 lost arb year as having too much value.  At that point, he'll be 30 with 5+ years of service time.  He's a decent but not great player.  If he follows the typical path for a player of his age (basically playing at about his career norms for the next 2 years), his arb value and his free agent value are not likely very far apart.

I wonder if there has been any recent research on the $/win globally for players in their final arb year vs. in free agency.  You could just use the precise figures in contracts or perhaps try to adjust for front-end or back-end loading of long-term contrcts.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 09:08 AM EST (#409264) #
I'll post something longer about the Yankees later on, but Jonny's point is a good one.  It's not obvious how they can spend a lot.  One way that they could do so is pairing Stanton with a prospect.  Stanton has more value to another team as a rightfielder than as a Yankee.  I have more to say about Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres, but that will have to wait.
scottt - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 09:29 AM EST (#409266) #
Second base is not a defense first position, like shortstop or third base.
It's a lot more like 1B/LF. Obviously, it requires more mobility and second basemen sometimes end up in the outfield.
Wouldn't most shortstop win a gold glove if they shifted to second base?
It's ironic that shortstop is also the better position offensively.

scottt - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 09:32 AM EST (#409267) #
NYY needs a shortstop. They have LeMahieu and Torres at second.
Most don't see Semien as the top shortstop option and the Yankees usually go after the best player.
LAA needs pitching, pitching, pitching and more pitching.
I'm not sure if they have money to spend on anything else.

scottt - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 09:35 AM EST (#409268) #
The Yankees don' t have a lot of room, but I don't expect them to be under the tax threshold.
I see them doing at least one trade, like the one that brought Taillon.

scottt - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 09:41 AM EST (#409269) #
Gurriel's brother has not followed the regression vs age path and Gurriel, perhaps because he has not actually played that much yet, could very well do the same.

His value is more a case of improving his reads on balls.
He has all the tools to be a star in left field.
I don't think he has the focus to be a DH.
Who knows how he'd look playing 1B for a full season?

Glevin - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 10:02 AM EST (#409270) #
Really think Jays are going to trade for a starter and there are a few good possibilities. Castillo with Reds, one of the Marlins guys, and one of the A's guys who are getting expensive. I am sure the Jays will make a run at Ramirez who is a perfect fit but it wouldn't leave the Jays able to do much more trading because I am sure it would take a good chunk of talent (i.e. Kirk, Groshans, Pearson). He's a special player so I'd be fine with it but would need to fill other needs via FA.

How do other people have the order of Jays needs? For me it's:
1-Top-3 starter
2-2B or 3B upgrade then big drop to:
3.a-Other of 2B/3B (You can be OK with Espinal/Biggio in one spot if you upgrade elsewhere)
3.b-LH DH/4th OFer
3.c-backend starter
3.d-Late inning reliever
Mike Green - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 10:36 AM EST (#409273) #
I don't see it quite that way.  There are lots of different ways to get where the club needs to get:

- they obviously need starting pitching; they just don't have the innings there, but Manoah, Berrios and Ryu at the top of the rotation could be sufficient.  Obviously another pitcher of the same general quality as Manoah would make other needs less pressing
- I agree that they need a second baseman or third baseman-ideally one who bats left or switch-hits
- they need a lefthanded hitting outfielder- ideally one who plays centerfield
- pitching depth generally is required because the cupboard in the high minors is essentially bare. 

How they use the DH spot is another question and it depends on how other roles are filled.  Let's suppose that the club trades Kirk and Grichuk and acquires among other things a left-handed 4th outfielder who can play a good defensive centerfield (let's imagine the Jarrod Dyson of 5+ years ago).  In that case, Springer would DH for a significant portion of the time when RHs are pitching.  The club might then need a RH bat to take the remainder of the DH role.
bpoz - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 11:16 AM EST (#409274) #
Stroman is not the best SP in the FA class. But he is equal to Ryu and Berrios in eating innings and performance. All 3 have been consistent in their performance over the years. Ryu's 4.37 era was much higher than normal. However I don't believe that any but the great pitchers are good every year. I looked at Kershaw and D Price to see if they were always good. Kershaw is but Price has declined since joining Boston and I no longer see him as a great pitcher. But Price may have a great year left in him and surprise people.
Michael - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 02:22 PM EST (#409275) #
Re Gurriel and "his arb value and his free agent value are not likely very far apart."

Even if it is true that the expected value is similar, the lack of the extra year of arbitration cuts down the upside of him. As in, if he hits another gear and overperforms if you still had arbitration there is a delta there you could capture, but if you don't there isn't. It is like a "free" club option.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 03:05 PM EST (#409276) #
I agree, Michael. It's just that the great majority of his trade value is found in his upcoming 2 prime years at a low salary. Let's say he takes it up a notch and becomes a 4 WAR player in 2022 and 2023. His arb price would be accordingly higher and the excess value modest.
Nigel - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 03:24 PM EST (#409277) #
I think Glevin and Mike have the needs right. Having watched the success of the Rays and Sox this year (with their high leverage RH relievers) I would probably lean less towards a high end starter and more towards an additional high leverage reliever (to join them) and towards more lineup balance (LH and some additional OBP) to help combat those pens. As Mike says, there are a variety of ways to skin the cat. I just donít see spending $25m AAV on one of the top end starters as being the best use of resources.
John Northey - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 04:16 PM EST (#409278) #
Interesting rumors I was reading earlier that the Marlins want to move one of their young starters for offense - ideally Catcher and CF but offense is #1. Their big prize is Sandy Alcantara (25 in 2021, 3.8 bWAR over 205 2/3 IP with a 131 ERA+, lifetime 121 ERA+, 3 years of arbitration ahead before free agency). I'd think the asking price would start at Gurriel and Kirk then add from there. That trade tool I like to play with says Gurriel, Kirk, and O Martinez might get it done, but odds are the Marlins would want more. No bad contracts on their roster that I can see, so no easy 'we will take that off your hands' deals possible. Should be interesting to see if the Jays can pull off something there. I'd hesitate to trade 2 pieces from the ML roster and a prospect for 1 starting pitcher though, even an ace, as pitchers are so risky it seems.
Glevin - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 06:51 PM EST (#409280) #
"I just donít see spending $25m AAV on one of the top end starters as being the best use of resources."

Really think the Jays are going to trade for a starter and try to get a hitter in free agency. There are starters available for trade (Marlins, Reds, A's are best fits). That changes if they get Ramirez in trade I suppose.
scottt - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 07:01 PM EST (#409281) #
Biggest need is to replace Ray.
They can let Pearson have another shot at the 5th starter.
Depth is Stripling, Kay, Hatch, Thornton, Francis, etc..

Second biggest need is a plus left bat to replace Semien in the 2-hole.

They have options to cover third base, second, centerfield when Springer isn't playing, but they could also improve on that while filing the hitting need. So the bat needs to play 3rd base or be willing to DH a lot.
Springer is not going to want to DH when healthy and Biggio really needs to be settled at second.

They could use another arm in the pen, but it's pretty full and there is not a lot of options left, so maybe more AAA depth guys than anything else. Need at least one spot in the pen to rotate guys with options.

scottt - Thursday, November 11 2021 @ 07:15 PM EST (#409282) #
Kirk is not part of the core.
I don't know if Gurriel is.
Gurriel and Guerrero are the 2 guys who don't speak English without an interpreter, but they do interact with one another an awful lot during a game.
I'm not convinced that any team value him more than the Blue Jays do.

Kirk + Martinez for Ramirez is tempting.
Same for a pitcher?
You can get a pitcher through free agency, so basically you're only saving money and that pitcher will become expensive through arbitration if he's good anyway.
Yeah, that doesn't work for me unless that pitcher is signed to a cheap contract.
It's too much like using your Air Miles to buy a 30% discount on something.
I can get that 30% discount if I wait for a sale...

johnny was - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 09:45 AM EST (#409287) #

johnny was - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 09:47 AM EST (#409288) #
The Jays and As have had the most active trading relationship in baseball by far over the past 20+ years, so I wouldn't at all be surprised if Chapman and Montas or Manaea become our primary off season fixes. That works fine for me.

It's obviously too early to comment on Kim Ng's track record, but here's a summary of her trades so far (via SB Nation):
SK in NJ - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 12:33 PM EST (#409289) #
Really think the Jays are going to trade for a starter and try to get a hitter in free agency. There are starters available for trade (Marlins, Reds, A's are best fits). That changes if they get Ramirez in trade I suppose.

I think it's going to come down to who is the best player they can get in return for Kirk (or with Kirk as the main piece going the other way). He's the one expendable position player who should have high value, and if the team is not seriously looking to move Moreno off catcher, then Kirk's the logical player to move. I don't think Oakland needs a catcher. The Guardians definitely want a catcher and have a history of coveting Kirk, so a deal for Ramirez seems pretty realistic to me depending on his availability. The Marlins would want Kirk and have a ton of SP depth, although some of them have injury concerns. Not sure about the Reds.

My guess is the top trade targets for Atkins are Ramirez and Castillo. It fits the type of acquisitions he's either made or tried to make over the last 12-18 months, and both have more than 1 year of control left. Castillo might be too expensive (unless the Jays take some other salary back). I actually think the Jays and Guardians match up very well. Cleveland always seems to want a mix of MLB and MiLB players in return for their stars/vets, and the Jays have some redundancy in positions Cleveland really needs help in (catcher, OF). Not sure any of the teams mentioned (MIA/OAK/CIN) aside from CLE would covet a Kirk/Gurriel type of package. Obviously the Jays would have to add more to that to get Ramirez, but it's probably a realistic starting point.

cascando - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 12:49 PM EST (#409290) #
I really don't know about Kirk's trade value. If I was a rival GM, I'd probably be more interested in Danny Jansen. He showed this year that he has an MLB quality bat, possibly a very good one, and he appears to already be an above average defensive C. And how much trade value does Danny Jansen have? Probably not a lot.

Defense is less important at most positions these days because of the relatively low number of balls in play, but Catcher defense is just as important as ever. Maybe more so, because there are more pitches than there used to be.

Also there might not be NL teams with any interest in Kirk.
bpoz - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 01:27 PM EST (#409291) #
I hope Shapiro and the rest of the FO discussed the performance and future impact of Ryu and Springer on the team. For the next 2 years they will cost $45 mil/yr combined. Adding another $20 mil/yr contract long term could backfire on the team. Injuries, poor performance and the loss of financial flexibility will impact competitiveness for a few years. IMO the Jays will not spend their way out of being weak competitors because I strongly feel that there will be budget restraints.

Cleveland traded Lindor due to budget restraints. They may continue to do that. Overcoming their AL Central rivals probably will not be difficult once they clear expensive contracts and bring in young cheap players. In the AL East the task is harder except for TB who traded away star talent to get cheaper and seemed to improve their won/lost record.

Neither Shapiro or Atkins has said anything of substance yet. Maybe by Friday Nov 19 they will say if they are going after a good player in specific terms.

Mike Green - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 02:07 PM EST (#409292) #
Ron Swoboda

Just seeing the name transported me back to 1969.  Swoboda's catch was a surprise because it was Ron Swoboda.  Agee's catches were a whole other story.
Glevin - Friday, November 12 2021 @ 03:27 PM EST (#409293) #
I'm sure there are teams that believe Kirk can be an everyday catcher. It's not unreasonable. In that case, he has great value. Chance to be best hitting catcher in baseball under contract until 2027. Not Moreno value obviously but he definitely has plenty.
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