NEW YORK (APCSN)David Priceof the Tampa Bay Rays and knuckleballerR.A. Dickeyof the New York Mets won baseball's Cy Young awards on Wednesday. Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants placed sixth in the National League voting, the highest finish of his career, after going 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 193 strikeouts.Price barely beat out 2011 winnerJustin Verlanderfor the American League prize in one of the closest votes ever. Dickey was an easy choice for the NL honor in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.The 38-year-old Dickey became the first pitcher who relied predominantly on a knuckleball to win the Cy Young Award, an achievement mentors such as Hall of Famer Phil Niekro are quite proud of.Runner-up two years ago in the Cy Young race, Price was the pick this time for the AL's top pitching prize. He received 14 of 28 first-place votes to edge Verlander, chosen first on 13 ballots.Other than a 1969 tie between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain, it was the tightest race in the history of the AL award.Rays closerFernando Rodneygot the other first-place vote and came in fifth.Price went 20-5 to tieJered Weaverfor the American League lead in victories and winning percentage. The 27-year-old lefty had the lowest ERA at 2.56 and finished sixth in strikeouts with 205.Verlander, also the league MVP a year ago, followed that up by going 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA and pitching the Detroit Tigers to the World Series. He led the majors in strikeouts (239), innings (238 1-3) and complete games (six).Price tossed 211 innings in 31 starts, while Verlander made 33. One factor that might have swung some votes, however: Price faced stiffer competition in the rugged AL East than Verlander did in the AL Central.Weaver came in third with 70 points, but was listed second on a pair of ballots. The right-hander threw a no-hitter and had a 2.81 ERA in his first 20-win season but missed time with injuries and totaled only 188 2-3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels.The top pick in the 2007 amateur draft out of Vanderbilt, Price reached the majors the following year and has made three straight All-Star teams.Despite going 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 2010, he finished a distant second in Cy Young voting toFelix Hernandez, who won only 13 games for last-place Seattle but dominated most other statistical categories that year.Verlander was trying to become the first AL pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Youngs since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000. San Francisco right-handerTim Lincecumdid it in the National League in 2008-09.Dickey drew 27 of 32 first-place votes and outdistanced 2011 winnerClayton Kershawof the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gio Gonzalez of Washington finished third.
OAKLAND – The Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.
Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons. He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title. He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.
Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003). He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games. Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.
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The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.
The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.
It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.
It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.
“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”
It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.
The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.
A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.
He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.
Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.
Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.
He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.
Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.