Red Sox

Tigers' signing of Martinez provides best haul for Red Sox

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Tigers' signing of Martinez provides best haul for Red Sox

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

If the Red Sox had to lose free agent Victor Martinez to another team, they got the best possible result they could have hoped for when Martinez signed a four-year, 50 million deal with the Detroit Tigers Tuesday.

Here's why: The Tigers, by virtue of their record in 2010, had MLB's first "unprotected pick" in the 2011 draft. That pick now goes to the Red Sox as compensation, and gives the Sox one of the top 20 selections . . . compared to the late-50s pick they'd have received had Martinez signed with a team with one of the top 15 choices.

As part of the current rules, MLB ordinarily "protects" the first 15 picks in the first round. That's meant to ensure that teams with poor records the previous year keep their first-round pick even if they sign a Type A free agent -- as Martinez was classified. If teams with protected picks sign a Type A free agent, they surrender their second-round pick rather than their first-rounder.

The draft order is determined in reverse of the previous year's standings, meaning the Tigers, who finished with a 81-81 record, were determined, after tiebreakers, to have the 16th pick. But rules dictate that teams that failed to sign their 2010 first-round picks (Arizona, San Diego and Milwaukee) are given make-up picks in essentially the same slot as the previous year. Thus, the Tigers were pushed back from 16 to 19.

Interestingly, Detroit went into the last day with an 80-81 record. Some executives believe that, mindful of their place in the drafting order, the Tigers were intent on losing the final, otherwise insignificant game of the regular season against the Baltimore Orioles. Rather than use one of their regular starting pitchers, they cobbled the game together with five relievers.

But it didn't work. The Tigers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to win 4-2.

The win proved costly. Had they lost, the Tigers would have finished 80-82 and nudged the Oakland A's out of the final slot in the "protected pick" list.

Under that scenario, the Tigers would have forfeited their second-round pick. So instead of getting the No. 19 pick (along with a sandwich-round pick), the Red Sox would have gotten a pick somewhere in the late 50s as compensation for Martinez. (There are 33 picks in the first round -- 30 teams, plus three make-up picks -- the entire sandwich round, which will be determined by the number of teams losing free agents, and 15 more picks into the second round.)

Thus, a costly victory for the Tigers resulted in the Red Sox A) improving their compensation pick by about 45 slots and B) getting the best possible pick available for Martinez.

Had Martinez signed with Baltimore or Seattle, two other teams in the running, the Sox also would have gotten only a sandwich and a second-rounder since the Orioles and Mariners have "protected" first-round picks.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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