With the Rookie of the Year Awards announced on Monday, Major League Baseball continued to hand out the offseason hardware by announcing the Manager of the Year awards on Tuesday. In the American League, Orioles skipper Buck Showalter took home the distinction, after leading his team to an AL East title, and playoff berth. While the Orioles season ended after the Kansas City Royals eliminated them in the Championship Series, Showalter’s 96-win team was consistently one of the leagues best. This years award marks the third time that the 58-year old has been elected the as one of the leagues best managers. Showalter previously won the award when he was at the helm for the New York Yankees in 1994, and the Texas Rangers in 2004. On the National League side, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was given the Manager of the Year honor. Like Showalter, Williams manager his team to a 96-win season, and an division crown. In the 48-year old’s first season as Nationals manager, Williams season was cut down by the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series.
- Players, particularly pitchers, are often touted on their playoff resumes in the free agent market. However, a starters success or failures in the playoffs only tells a fraction of the story. Consider free agent right-hander James Shields, whose shoddy postseason performance made some sour on the prospect of bringing him to Boston. Shields, however, has been a consistent workhorse during the regular season, and holds terrific numbers over his 9-year career. (Baseball GM: Postseason success or failure usually secondary in evaluating players)
- It might not time to start planning the welcome home parade yet, but it’s encouraging to know that the Red Sox and Jon Lester’s representatives have opened dialogue regarding a possible reunion. While it’s unknown if Boston is just doing their due diligence, Ben Cherington has discussed the idea of bringing back the lefty. (Red Sox meet with Jon Lester’s representatives)
- While the return of Jon Lester seems like a possibility, the return of free agent reliever Andrew Miller seems less likely. The 29-year old lefty has been one of the most sought after free agents in the early stages of the offseason, and is reportedly looking to ink a long term commitment. Further complicating a possible return is the fact that Miller would like to assume a closers role with his new team. (It doesn’t appear to be Miller time for Red Sox)
- Pablo Sandoval seems to be inching closer to a decision. Shortly after a report described the Red Sox as “all in” on the 28-year old, news broke that the Red Sox would like for the free agent third baseman to visit Boston. It seems as though Sandoval has whittled his options down to two teams — the Red Sox and the Giants. The switch-hitter is reportedly looking for a long term pact on the open market, so his final decision could be a matter of which team offers the largest deal. (Red Sox want Pablo Sandoval to visit Boston)
- While they’re not the best trade chips the Red Sox have, Jackie Bradley and Deven Marrero are certainly gaining a lot of attention on the trade front. When he wasn’t looking like a shell of his minor league self at the plate, Bradley was turning heads with his stellar center field defense. Likewise, shortstop prospect Deven Marrero displayed his strong defensive skill set, but struggled at the dish upon being recalled to triple-A. Still, teams are willing to sacrifice some offense for defense, which makes both Bradley and Marrero attractive options. (Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero drawing interest as other teams value defense)
- Tweet of the day: The tweet that made Red Sox Nations day