1. Manager of the Year announced: In the National League and American League, the MLB gives us time to digest the National League Cy Young Award winner while talking about the newly awarded Manager of the Year in both the National and American League.
In the National League, you have Bud Black of the San Diego Padres winning the Manager of the Year. The Padres were eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the regular season which was a surprise since they were supposed to be one of the bottom dwellers in the National League West for the second year in a row, which didn’t end up happening. The Padres finished 90-72 yet had the second lowest payroll in the MLB. He had 16 first place votes but only won the National League Manager of the Year Award by one total point, edging out Dusty Baker 104 to 103. Dusty Baker received 13 first place votes after leading the Cincinnati Reds to a National League Central division title after they were projected to finish third or fourth in the NL Central in the pre-season rankings. Bruce Bochy of San Francisco, Bobby Cox of Atlanta and Charlie Manuel of Philadelphia round out the top five.
In the American League, Ron Gardenhire won the Manager of the Year Award by 27 votes over Ron Washington. Gardenhire became the first coach in MLB history to win six division titles in the coach’s first nine years of coaching. Gardenhire and the Twins finished 94-68, a successful first season at Target Field. Cito Gaston received a first place vote, but no other votes. I assume that it was a Toronto writer just being a homer and not thinking at all. He finished fifth while Jon Madden and Terry Francona finished third and fourth respectively.
2. Detroit reaches agreement with Benoit: The Detroit Tigers reached an agreement with Joaquin Benoit on a three-year, $16.5 million deal. He will be paid $5.5 million each year with $1 million in incentives that he can earn up to. In 63 games and 60.1 innings pitched as a set-up man for closer Rafael Soriano in Tampa, he had an ERA of 1.34, a WHIP of 0.680 and an ERA+ of 295, which is insanely good. The contract that he received was the biggest non-closer contract since Scott Linebrink’s four-year, $19 million deal three years ago with the Chicago White Sox. Over Benoit’s career, he has a career ERA of 4.47 in 336 games pitched and 651.2 innings pitched over the course of nine seasons. He has a WHIP of 1.349 and an above-average ERA+ of 105. So after the season he had last year with Tampa at age 32, Detroit is expecting the same type of performance for the next three years, which should last until he is 35 years of age, around the time when players start to go downhill anyway.
3. Blue Jays acquire Rajai Davis: The Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland Athletics have agreed on a three player deal that sent the speedster outfielder, Rajai Davis, across the continent. The Blue Jays sent back minor league reliever Danny Farquhar and minor league reliever Trystan Magnuson. Last year, in a full season for Oakland, had a batting average of .284, an on-base-percentage of .320, 50 stolen bases while being caught 11 times for a stolen base percentage of 82 percent. He had an OPS+ of 90, which is below average. His career has not been much better as he has a career batting average of .281, a career on-base percentage of .330. He has 143 career stolen bases while being caught 38 times for a career stolen base percentage of 79 percent. He has a career OPS+ of 91, which isn’t much better than his season last year. Not that great for Toronto, but it will help their speed and he is a good fielder so that helps Toronto as well. Farquhar was rated, by Baseball America, as the number 24 rated prospect in the Blue Jays’ organization. In double-A last year, he posted an ERA of 3.52, 9.3 strikeouts per 9 innings, 4.9 walks per 9 innings, 0.82 home runs per 9 innings in 76 2/3 innings pitched this year. Reported by several sources, he was part of the package that the Blue Jays had set up to send the Marlins in a trade for Dan Uggla, who was traded to the Braves as I covered in yesterday’s daily news. Magnuson is a 25 year old right-handed pitcher who posted a 2.58 earned run average in double-A last season. He posted 7.7 strikeouts per 9 innings, 1.2 walks per 9 innings and only one home run allowed in 73 1/3 innings pitched. Baseball America as him rated as the 22nd among the Blue Jays’ prospects. The good thing about Farquhar is that he is able to use multiple arm angles with his pitches to keep hitters off balance.