Today I will do the award predictions for the AL, and tommorrow I’ll do the NL.
Dustin Pedroia. He has been amazing for the Red Sox, is very close to the league lead in batting average, and gets both steals and homers. He is the best all around player that plays a scarce position on a great playoff team. Whats not to like?
Cliff Lee. This is a pretty easy choice. Lee will lead the league in wins and ERA. He also gets his fair share of strike-outs. I know he isn’t on a contending team, but he is the best pitcher in the AL by a large margin.
Rooky of the Year
Evan Longoria. This is a very easy choice. He’s the best player on the best team in the AL East. He’d be the choice even if the Rays were terrible. Evan has carried that team, and will win the ROY.
Manager of the Year
Joe Madden. The Rays have been the biggest surprise of the year. They went from worst to first and aren’t done. This, however, would only be my pick if the Twins miss the playoffs. If they make it, then Ron Gardenhire would be my pick. I know the Rays were a worse team last year and a better this year, but they had more talent than the Twins did, and didn’t drastically downgrade in the offseason.
General Manager of the Year
(I know this isn’t a real award, but I think it should be. It is rated on deals through the year.)
Billy Beane. Remember at the beginning of this offseason when everyone was talking about how bad the A’s farm system was? Well, now they have arguably the best one. After trading Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Nick Swisher, and Joe Blanton for a ton of great prospects, they are bound for success. This team is going to be contenders in 2010 or 1011, all because of Billy Beane.
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The Clevland Indians are the hottest team in the MLB. They don’t have that many holes. They need to get a closer, shortstop/third baseman, second baseman, and starter in the offseason. They have a decent amount of money to spend, and have all the core players they had when they were one game away from the world series except CC Sabathia. But Cliff Lee has been just as good if not better than CC this year. They need to add a high OBP player to put at the top of their lineup so they can move Grady Sizemore down to the #3 hole. Orlando Hudson is a perfect fit here. He can bat leadoff and is a second baseman. The Tribe has enough money to afford O-Dawg and I think they will sign him. If they get him, they still need to add a closer. Brandon Lyon makes a lot of sense. They will be big players for Brian Fuentes, but I think he signs with the more successfull and west coast team Angels. Brandon Lyon is affordable and will help their bullpen a lot. For the shortstop or third baseman signing, I think Nomar Garciaparra makes sense. They can switch off Garciaparra and Jhonny Peralta at shorstop and third base. They also need to add a starting pitcher for depth. Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona form arguably the best 1-2 punch in the AL, but after that there isn’t much. They have Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, and Anthony Reyes as there 3-4-5. They could aquire this in a trade. It is likely that they move DLed catcher Victor Martinez to first base with Kelly Shoppach as the catcher. They could do that or they could sign a guy like Jason Giambi to play first base and keep Victor Martinez at catcher. That would open up Shoppach as a trade chip. They could trade Shoppach back to his former team, the Red Sox. I’m sure they would have interest in him. Maybe Shoppach for Michael Bowden, if things don’t work out for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This is just another option. They could spend the money they would’ve spent on Giambi and use it on a starter. One of the three young guys have to step up for the Tribe to compete, at least as long as it takes for Jake Westbrook to return from injury. The Indians have a lot of wild cards like will Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez return well from injury? Will one of the young players in the rotation step up to be the #3? Will Adam Miller fianlly stay healthy? If he does, can he and Matt LaPorta be key contibuters? Can Rafeal Bentancourt return to form? All of these questions must be answered. The amount of right answers will tell whether the Indians make it to the ALCS again or have a repeat performance of 2008.