Angels at Orioles July 23,  2011After being snubbed two seasons in a row, Mike Trout was finally named American League Most Valuable Player for the 2014 campaign. The 22-year old New Jersey native posted a .287/.377/.561 slash and collected 111 RBI and 36 home runs in 157 games for the Anaheim Angels last season. Looking at Trout’s past performances, it’s strange to see that his 2014 stats were the ones that won him the MVP award. While he did reach a career high in home runs and RBI, the New Jersey native also batted below .300 for the first time in his career, and shattered his previous strike out high of 139 by whiffing 184 times. That’s not to say that Trout wasn’t deserving of the MVP distinction — if anything he was overdue — but it just goes to show the fickleness of the Baseball Writers Association of America. On the National League side of things, Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw added an MVP award to his Cy Young hardware. While the 26-year old fell just shy of the 200 innings plateau for the first time in 5 seasons, he did collected 21 wins and posted a new career best 1.77 ERA. On top of that, Kershaw also collected new career bests in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.71), strikeout per nine (10.8), and complete games (6). With the MVP award under his belt, Kershaw became the first National League pitcher to win the distinction in 46 years.

  • In both leagues, the 2014 Most Valuable Player award came with some historical significance. However, perhaps the most startling fact of all is that the neither a Red Sox or Yankee appeared on the MVP ballot. This marked the first time in the history of the league, that the two juggernauts were shut out of the Most Valuable Player voting. (Yankees and Red Sox shut out of MVP voting for first time ever)
  • While previously thought to be a long shot, a reunion between Jon Lester and the Red Sox seems like its in the cards. However, if Boston is serious about bringing back the left-hander, they’ll need to show him the money. In the past, Red Sox principle owner John Henry has spoken out against signing pitchers in their 30’s to long-term deals; citing convincing information in his favor. But while Red Sox GM Ben Cherington knows there are no guarantees on the free agent market, he’s confident in gambling on Lester’s clean track record. (It’s time for the Red Sox to show Jon Lester the money)
  • The Red Sox options to fix the top of the rotation aren’t limited to those arms available on the free agent market. The trade front offers the team with quite a few attractive options, both in the National League and in the American League. In particular, starters with one year left on their current deal could be trade targets for the Red Sox. Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto seems like a logical fit in Boston, but is certain to cost a handsome package of prospects. (Soon-to-be-free-agent pitchers could be intriguing trade targets for Red Sox)
  • It seems as though free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval will choose between signing with the Red Sox or staying with the San Francisco Giants. However, the 28-year old won’t make a decision until he meets with the Red Sox front office in Boston sometime next week. There, Sandoval can get to know just what the Sox are all about, and decide if it’s where he wants to spend the next four-to-five years of his career. (For Red Sox and Pablo Sandoval, a meeting is next)
  • The Red Sox need for a left-handed bat is obvious, but the team should start shuffling the cards just to force in a lefty. With that said, the idea to trade Mike Napoli and sign free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche makes very little sense. While both players are on the same level statistically, Napoli is a proven cog in Boston’s attack both offensively and defensively. Therefore swapping the two would be a textbook lateral move. (No upside in trading Mike Napoli to sign Adam LaRoche)
  • Tweet of the day: *weeps*