MLB Notes

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
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.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.

Red Sox name Alex Cora manager; Mets offer job to Mickey Callaway

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Red Sox name Alex Cora manager; Mets offer job to Mickey Callaway

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have hired Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora to be their new manager.

The team made the announcement on Sunday, a day after Cora's Astros reached the World Series.

Cora replaces John Farrell, who was fired this month despite winning back-to-back AL East titles. Farrell's teams won the 2013 World Series, finished last twice and then in each of the past two years won the division but got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

A native of Puerto Rico, Cora is the first Hispanic manager in Red Sox history.

He played 14 years in the major leagues before retiring in 2011, including parts of four seasons with the Red Sox. He was a member of Boston's 2007 World Series team.

Cora has never managed before.

Reports: Mets offer manager job to Indians coach Callaway
NEW YORK — It appears the New York Mets have settled on their choice for a manager.

Several media outlets are reporting the team has offered the job to Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway. The New York Post was the first to report the Mets were in talks with Callaway, saying a deal is being finalized.

When contacted Sunday, multiple Mets officials declined to comment.

With his contract set to expire, Terry Collins stepped down at the end of the season after seven years as Mets manager and accepted a position as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson.

The 42-year-old Callaway has been Cleveland's pitching coach for the past five seasons under highly successful manager Terry Francona. Led by ace right-hander Corey Kluber, the Indians led the major leagues with a 3.30 ERA this season, one year after reaching the World Series.

Callaway has never managed at any professional level.

MLB Notes: Owners approve sale of Marlins to Derek Jeter's group

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MLB Notes: Owners approve sale of Marlins to Derek Jeter's group

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins are Derek Jeter's problem now.

Major league owners on Wednesday unanimously approved the sale of the woebegone franchise by Jeffrey Loria to an investment group led by Jeter and Bruce Sherman. The deal needed 75 percent approval.

A signed $1.2 billion agreement was submitted to Major League Baseball last month to sell the Marlins to a group led by Sherman, a venture capitalist who will be the controlling owner. Jeter, the former New York Yankees captain, plans to be a limited partner in charge of the business and baseball operations.

The closing on the sale is expected within a few days.

"I congratulate Mr. Sherman on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs as the new control person of the Marlins," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, "and look forward to Mr. Jeter's ownership and CEO role following his extraordinary career as a player" (see full story).

Dodgers: Gonzalez to miss playoffs with back injury
LOS ANGELES -- Veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will not be on the Dodgers' NL Division Series roster because of back tightness -- an injury that has plagued him all season -- and is expected to miss the entire postseason.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday that he and Gonzalez came to the decision mutually.

"As I talked to him, and seeing how his back is and how he's feeling, I was very disappointed," Roberts said. "But I think right now, as it stands, we're going to shut him down so we don't cause more damage, get him ready for next year, and expect him to respond to rest. If something unforeseen does happen to the active guys right now, we might try to revisit Adrian."

The 35-year-old Gonzalez started at first base on Tuesday and went 2-for-4 with a home run, his third this season. That was his first start in 15 days, and by Wednesday, the back problem had flared up again. He is batting .242 with 30 RBIs in 71 games.

Cody Bellinger, an NL Rookie of the Year candidate, figures to start at first base for Los Angeles in the postseason.

The Dodgers (101-57) have the best record in baseball and have clinched home-field advantage through the NLCS. They are still vying for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Giants: Cain to retire after start on Sunday
PHOENIX -- San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain says he'll retire after his start at home on Saturday against San Diego.

The 32-year-old Cain informed teammates of his decision in a closed meeting before Wednesday's game at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cain pitched the first perfect game in Giants history in 2012.

Cain, 3-11 this season, made his big-league debut with the Giants in 2005. He pitched in two of the Giants' three winning World Series appearances since 2010. The right-hander has a career record of 104-118 with a 3.69 ERA.

The three-time All-Star is nearing the end of his contract with the Giants, who have an option for one more season.

"His play on the field and community service exemplifies what a true big leaguer should be and he will definitely be missed," Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. "On behalf of the Giants, I congratulate Matt on an outstanding career and wish him and his family all the best. He'll forever be a Giant."

Before the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday, the crowd at Chase Field was informed of Cain's retirement in a public address announcement. He doffed his cap to the fans and the Diamondbacks dugout in appreciation of the gesture.