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Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber unanimously wins American League Cy Young Award

Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber was the unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, capping an impressive rise by the right-hander to his status as one of the game’s best pitchers.

Using a versatile repertoire that includes a looping curveball and a wipeout slider, Bieber went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 77⅓ innings during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, leading the majors in ERA and strikeouts and tying Yu Darvish for the most wins.cheap nfl nike jersey

Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, followed by Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Bieber was the first unanimous American League winner since Justin Verlander for the Detroit Tigers in 2011. It was the 10th time that an AL pitcher was listed first on every ballot.

“Today’s a good day regardless,” Bieber said. “It just makes it that much better that we were able to take this thing home and that it was unanimous.”8

The 25-year-old Bieber, a former walk-on at UC Santa Barbara, was selected by Cleveland in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft. He made his major league debut in 2018 and went 11-5 with a 4.55 ERA. He really started to show off his potential last year, winning the MVP award at the All-Star Game and finishing with 15 wins and a 3.28 ERA.

Before this season started, Bieber got a text from former Indians teammate Trevor Bauer, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds last year. The right-handers had the same Las Vegas odds for the Cy Young Award.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“I said … why don’t we go 2-for-2, or something like that?” Bieber said.

Bauer on Wednesday became the first pitcher to take home the NL honor for the Reds, the majors’ oldest franchise.

Bieber and Bauer, two California natives, made it an Ohio sweep on the mound in 2020. They are the third pair of former teammates to win Cy Young Awards in the same season, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. Greg Maddux and Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello in 2016 also accomplished the feat.

Bieber gives Cleveland its fifth Cy Young Award since CC Sabathia won in 2007. Cliff Lee won in 2008, and Corey Kluber took home the honor in 2014 and 2017. Gaylord Perry in 1972 is the only other Cy Young winner for the Indians.

Trevor Bauer becomes first Cincinnati Reds pitcher to win Cy Young Award

The Cincinnati Reds’ Trevor Bauer won the National League Cy Young Award, giving Cincinnati its first winner of the honor.

Bauer topped fellow finalists Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets in the voting announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Wednesday.

DeGrom was looking to become the third pitcher in MLB history to win the award in three consecutive seasons.

The Reds had never had a Cy Young winner, making them one of four active MLB teams without a Cy Young winner and the only team founded prior to 1961 without one.

Bauer ended that drought.new nike nfl jerseys cheap7

He went 5-4 with an NL-best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts, helping the Reds reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Animated on the field and outspoken off it, the 29-year-old right-hander struck out 100 in 73 innings and led the majors with two shutouts, a pair of seven-inning performances on doubleheader days.

He became a free agent after the season and turned down the Reds’ qualifying offer, but left the door open for a return.

This is the first Cy Young for Bauer, who tied for sixth in the AL voting in 2018, after he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA for the Indians. He was traded to Cincinnati at last year’s deadline as part of a three-team deal that moved Yasiel Puig to Cleveland.

Bauer struggled after he was acquired by the Reds, going 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts. He returned to form when this season started in July. He gave up only two runs and eight hits in 26⅓ innings over his first four starts. He also closed out the season with a flourish, recording a 1.29 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 35 innings over five September starts.nfl nike jersey cheap

“The biggest deal this year is I was just healthy,” he said. “I was able to go out there and compete, be on a routine.”

Bauer pitched Game 1 of the playoffs at Atlanta and struck out 12 in 7⅔ innings. But the Reds lost 1-0 in 13 innings and failed to score during the Braves’ sweep.

Bauer, who has his own YouTube account and nearly 400,000 followers on Twitter, was selected by Arizona with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He is 75-64 with a 3.90 ERA in 205 career games, including 195 starts.

Braves’ Freddie Freeman beats out Mookie Betts, Manny Machado for NL MVP award

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman easily won the National League MVP award Thursday, topping off a trying year that saw him become so ill with COVID-19 he prayed, “Please don’t take me.”

Freeman got 28 of the 30 first-place ballots in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts got the other two firsts to finish second, and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado was third.

In a season affected from spring training to the World Series by the pandemic, perhaps it was fitting the final major award of the year went to someone who had been infected by the virus.

Three weeks before the delayed Opening Day in late July, Freeman’s body temperature spiked at 104.5 degrees and he lost his sense of taste and smell. At one point, he recalled, he said a little prayer because “I wasn’t ready.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale8

“I got off to such a slow start,” Freeman said on MLB Network after Dale Murphy, a two-time NL MVP with the Braves, announced the winner. “I just didn’t know when I would get my legs back.”

The 31-year-old star bounced back in a big way, batting .341 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs while playing all 60 games. A powerful lefty batter with the ability to spray the ball all over the field, he led the majors in hitting 23 doubles and scoring 51 runs.

Boosted by the four-time All-Star, the Braves won the NL East and came within one win of reaching the World Series for the first time since 1999.

Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu earned the American League MVP, a recognition for leading his team back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.nfl cheap jerseys nike

This was the first time since Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau in 2006 that a pair of first basemen won the MVPs.

Betts, 28, was bidding to join Frank Robinson as the only players to win the MVP in both leagues. The outfielder earned the AL honor in 2018 while leading Boston to the World Series title.

Traded by the Red Sox to Los Angeles early this year, Betts hit .292 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs and was the catalyst in the Dodgers’ run to their first championship since 1988.

Machado hit .304 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs as San Diego made its first playoff appearance since 2006.

Marcus Stroman accepts New York Mets’ $18.9M qualifying offer

Right-hander Marcus Stroman has accepted the New York Mets’ one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.

The Mets made the offer to the free agent Nov. 1. Stroman confirmed on Twitter he had taken it, saying, “Beyond excited to be back in Queens in 2021!”

Stroman also said on Twitter that he was excited to play for new Mets owner Steve Cohen.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Players had until 5 p.m. ET Wednesday to accept qualifying offers. Besides Stroman, Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu and J.T. Realmuto also received offers. All but Stroman and Gausman rejected the deals.7

Stroman entered free agency without throwing a pitch during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. After recovering from a torn muscle in his left calf, which he suffered just two days before the season opener, the right-hander decided in August to opt out of the remainder of the season following discussions with his family about the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Stroman, 29, said the decision was made solely “for the best interests of my family,” adding that his grandmother and uncle have compromised immune systems and are around his mother on a regular basis.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

His decision to opt out came after a second simulated game in which he threw 85 pitches, with the intention of returning to the Mets’ rotation the following week. He was then placed on the restricted list.

The 5-foot-7 Stroman, who grew up about 50 miles from Citi Field, was 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts for the Mets after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019. He made the All-Star team for the Blue Jays, going 6-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts prior to the trade.

The ground ball, bulk-inning pitcher has twice thrown more than 200 innings in a season. Overall, he is 51-47 with a 3.76 ERA in 146 games, including 140 starts, over six major league seasons. He was the MVP of the 2017 World Baseball Classic and won a Gold Glove with Toronto later that year.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen among those leaving New York Mets after sale to Steve Cohen

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and much of his front office are leaving the New York Mets, the team announced Friday.

The moves were announced less than an hour after hedge fund manager Steve Cohen completed his $2.4 billion purchase of the team.

Special assistant to the general manager Omar Minaya, assistant general managers Allard Baird and Adam Guttridge and executive director of player development Jared Banner also are leaving. The status of senior vice president and senior strategy officer John Ricco was not mentioned.

Cohen ended the Wilpon family’s control of the franchise after 34 mostly frustrating years and took the title of chief executive officer. He hired former Mets general manager Sandy Alderson as team president in his first move and ended Jeff Wilpon’s tenure as chief operating officer.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Alderson, not Cohen, announced the baseball staff departures and said he had started the process of building a leadership staff.

“I want to thank Brodie, Allard, Adam and Jared for their contributions over the last two years,” he said in a statement. “I especially want to thank Omar for his long and distinguished service to the Mets in many important capacities.”8

Van Wagenen was a player agent and co-head of CAA Baseball before Wilpon hired him to replace Alderson after the 2018 season. The Mets went 86-76, finishing third in the NL East, and Van Wagenen fired manager Mickey Callaway and replaced him with Carlos Beltran.

But when Beltran was implicated in January by commissioner Rob Manfred in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal during Beltran’s final season as a player in 2017, he lost his job within days without managing a game and was replaced by quality control coach Luis Rojas.

New York went 26-34 and missed the expanded playoffs in the shortened 2020 season.

Many of Van Wagenen’s moves failed to work out, including acquiring second baseman Robinson Cano and signing free agents Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie. All three were among his former clients.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Van Wagenen congratulated Fred Wilpon for “an intelligence and love that made all of us feel that we were a part of his family” and Jeff Wilpon for an “incredible opportunity and the unwavering support” and for “unrivaled work ethic and sacrifice” to create Citi Field, which opened in 2009.

“We took a team that had suffered losing seasons in 2017 and 2018 to contention in 2019 and onto a chance for real success in 2020 prior to the pandemic,” Van Wagenen said in a statement that thanked staff, players and fans. “While we didn’t reach our goal in 2020, the work that you put in to keep everyone safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 threat played a significant role in the return of and the successful completion of the Major League Baseball season.”

Friday’s moves make Rojas’ future uncertain. Fired Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who completed a season-long suspension last week, could be a candidate for the analytics-oriented Cohen.

Atlanta Braves decline $3.5M option for reliever Darren O’Day

Right-hander Darren O’Day’s $3.5 million club option for 2021 has been declined by the Atlanta Braves, making him eligible for free agency.

O’Day receives a $250,000 buyout, completing a deal originally set to guarantee $2.5 million. He had a $2.25 million salary this year, which wound up being worth $833,333 in prorated pay for the shortened season.cheap nike jerseys nfl7

O’Day was 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 19 relief appearances this season, striking out 22 and walking five in 16 1/3 innings. He made five postseason appearances, allowing two runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

O’Day gave up singles to Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series, and both runners scored when Corey Seager homered off A.J. Minter in the Braves’ 8-7 win.

Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila says AJ Hinch, Alex Cora being considered for manager job

Tigers general manager Al Avila said Friday that Detroit is not ruling out the possibility of hiring AJ Hinch or Alex Cora for its manager vacancy.

Hinch and Cora were suspended through the 2020 postseason for their roles in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. The Astros fired Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow on Jan. 13 and Cora lost his job managing the Boston Red Sox the following day. Cora spent the 2017 season as bench coach on Hinch’s staff with Houston.

The Tigers are in the market for a replacement for manager Ron Gardenhire, who retired on Sept. 19 with a little more than a week left in the season. Avila was asked about Hinch and Cora, and while Detroit’s search appears to be in a very early stage, the GM at least seemed open to the possibility of hiring one of the suspended managers.cheap nike nfl jersey

“Really, I can’t say that I’ve eliminated anybody,” Avila said. “The cheating scandal is not a good thing, obviously. They’re serving their suspensions, and once their suspensions are over, then they’ll be free to pursue their careers. So we have not eliminated anybody from our list at this point.”8

Avila said interviews will be conducted by video, but he could meet face to face once the list of candidates is down to a small number.

“We could finish this sometime in October. It might go into November,” he said. “Really, we’re not in a rush. We’re kind of taking our time with it.”

The Tigers went 23-35 in the shortened season, finishing in the AL Central cellar for the third time in four years. They did bring up two of their most highly touted pitching prospects in Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, so that duo got some experience in the big leagues.

Avila said it is important that the next manager be able to help with talent evaluation, since there are important decisions to make throughout the roster. He sounds open to a variety of experience levels for managerial candidates.

“I guess one thing you could eliminate is a guy that maybe played and has absolutely no coaching experience, no managerial experience, and goes from being a player directly to a major league manager,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t go that way, but everything else I would say is in play.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Avila also said the Tigers are making changes in the pro scouting department and that a few people there are not having their contracts renewed.

Jon Lester hopes to remain with Chicago Cubs after team declines $25 million option

The Chicago Cubs declined the $25 million team option on pitcher Jon Lester on Friday, but did pick up the $16.5 million option on first baseman Anthony Rizzo before Sunday’s deadline.

Lester, 36, was at the end of a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs and still could return on a lesser deal. He’s owed a $10 million buyout.

“I know there is some doubt as far as the money that’s out there but I would like to think we can definitely get this thing done,” Lester said on ESPN 1000 on Friday. “I think it’s going to be a long offseason for everybody.”

Lester is a three-time World Series winner and was considered a culture-changing addition to the Cubs when he signed with them before the 2015 season. He struggled in the middle of the 2020 campaign but pitched well down the stretch after fixing his mechanics. He has won 193 career games and has previously stated he would like to win No. 200 as a Cub. Lester was 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 2020.cheap nike nfl jersey7

Rizzo, 31, joins players around the league to have his team option picked up for 2021. The Cubs did the same with him before last season, picking up an option for the same price, $16.5 million. He has been a stalwart at first base and a leader in the clubhouse during the Cubs’ competitive years over the past half-decade.

Rizzo struggled some during the shortened 2020 season, hitting .222 with 11 home runs, but over the course of his career he has been a great value for the team after signing a seven-year, $41 million extension in 2013.nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Cubs also declined a $3.5 million option on infielder Daniel Descalso. He’ll be owed $1 million.

Lester was asked when he was hoping to know if he’ll be back with the Cubs on a smaller deal.

“Things don’t happen until after Thanksgiving for a lot of guys,” he said. “Hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Tampa Bay Rays’ Randy Arozarena sets postseason record with 9th home run in Game 4 of World Series

Tampa Bay Rays rookie Randy Arozarena became the first player to hit nine home runs in a single postseason after taking Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias deep to right field in the fourth inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night.

Arozarena, 25, already holds the rookie hit record for a single postseason, set in Game 3, while breaking a four-way tie for most home runs.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager also homered in Game 4 and has eight this postseason.8

Arozarena later scored the winning run on Brett Phillips’ walk-off single, as the Rays beat the Dodgers 8-7 in Game 4 to even the World Series at two games apiece.

Arozarena actually fell down rounding third base, but after Dodgers catcher Will Smith couldn’t handle the relay throw, the Rays’ rookie was able to make it home with the winning run.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“All I was thinking about was just running hard,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “Running hard as I could. Once I got to a certain spot, I saw that the ball got bobbled. I got sent home. I tripped. … I was actually trying to get back to third base because I knew we had already tied the game so, if anything, I was just trying to get in a rundown. Then, I saw the ball get past him, so I turned around and scored.”

Arozarena also holds the record for total bases in a single postseason. He singled to lead off the sixth inning Saturday night, tying Pablo Sandoval for most hits by any player in one postseason.

The 2020 playoffs featured an extra round, meaning Arozarena is playing in his 18th playoff game already.

Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and Barry Bonds are the three other players — along with Seager — to hit eight home runs in a single postseason.

Tampa Bay Rays stun Los Angeles Dodgers in World Series Game 4 on dramatic finish at plate

The Tampa Bay Rays won Saturday night’s Game 4 on one of the wildest finishes in World Series history, capitalizing on a disastrous error by the Los Angeles Dodgers to secure an 8-7 come-from-behind victory and tie the series at 2-2.

With two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, Brett Phillips, a seldom-used outfielder, laced a single to center field off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, bringing in the tying run.

Center fielder Chris Taylor kicked the ball, and Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, who started on first, never stopped running. Taylor threw the ball to first baseman Max Muncy, who relayed it to catcher Will Smith. Arozarena had stumbled around third and was going to be out by 30 feet — until Smith dropped the ball and the ricochet allowed Arozarena to dive home and prompt a celebration that ended with the Rays running gleefully into the outfield.

The 116th World Series entered Saturday without a signature game on its ledger. Safe to say after Game 4, that’s no longer the case.

“Once I saw Randy slip, I was like, ‘Aw, shoot, at least we tied it up,’ and then [Smith] missed the ball,” said Phillips, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the eighth. “I don’t know what happened, but then he scored. The next thing I know, I’m airplane-ing around the outfield and I get dogpiled and here I am.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash tried to describe his emotions as he watched the final play at the plate unravel.

“The moment the ball left Phillips’ bat, we knew we had a tie ballgame, and then everything that happened afterward, Randy’s not used to having to run like that,” Cash said. “Normally he’s used to just trotting. So it threw him off for a little bit getting tripped up there between third and home. But Phillips, man, give that guy a lot of credit. I don’t know when the last time he got an at-bat was. Pretty impressive what he just did against one of the game’s best closers.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“Happened so fast, I didn’t know what to do. Gave a bunch of hugs, just in disbelief.”7

The emotional pendulum swung wildly in Game 4, with the Dodgers overcoming a pair of blown leads by the same relief pitcher to put themselves in a position for Clayton Kershaw, the fulcrum of the team that has won eight consecutive division titles but lost in its two previous World Series tries, to secure a title in his Game 5 start Sunday.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

The Rays ended that dream in classic fashion — on a wild sequence that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts described as “an unperfect storm.”

“I’m about to live 15 years shorter,” the Rays’ Brandon Lowe said. “I think that kind of sums it up. My God, I think I lost 10 years on that last play. God, that’s a storybook baseball game if I’ve ever been a part of one. That was insane.”

On the final play, only Taylor was charged with an error. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said there was no way for Smith to have known Arozarena fell.

“He was trying to catch the ball and put a quick tag down. If he’d have known he fell, he probably would have taken his time and made sure he caught it,” Turner said. “Not sure what happened in center. That’s uncharacteristic for us.”

It had looked grim for the Rays, with blown leads galore all game, thanks to the teams going blow for blow and scoring in eight consecutive half-innings, a World Series record.

With the score tied at 6-6 going into the eighth, Taylor led off with a double off Rays reliever Nick Anderson. A failed sacrifice and groundout later, Anderson needed only to retire Corey Seager to escape the inning. Anderson was not the first pitcher to try and fail on this night or this postseason. Seager looped a single into center field, scoring Taylor and pushing the Dodgers ahead 7-6.

It was the Dodgers’ seventh run of the night scored with two outs and their 17th of the series.

Los Angeles’ bullpen, so permeable in the prior innings, attempted to go into lockdown mode over the final two. After Adam Kolarek secured the first two outs in the eighth, rookie Brusdar Graterol punctuated the third out with his signature celebration.

In the ninth, Jansen tried to work around a single to Kevin Kiermaier and walk to Arozarena. With two outs, on a 1-2 count against Phillips, who hit .196 in the regular season and was 0-for-2 in the playoffs this year, Jansen left a cutter over the plate that Phillips rapped into center.