Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty ImagesLooking at pitcher performance in a different way could have helped Chris Sale's case for the AL Cy Young.

This week's results from the voting for baseball's major awards have been pretty much free of controversy. Everyone who has been honored seems to have deserved it, and there haven't been any clear-cut snubs for players based on widespread faults in reasoning or antiquated ways of looking at results. It's always tempting to chalk it all up to progress, but chances are, this is simply a year in which most awards have had obvious winners or, in the case of the MVP balloting, several good choices but no real front-runner to get worked up over.

While this is a general assessment of this year's voting, I did mildly disagree with the voting for the American League's Cy Young Award, in which the winner, Cleveland's Corey Kluber, drew 28 of 30 first-place votes. Boston's Chris Sale finished second, getting the other two first-place picks. I did not vote for the award, but if I had, I would have voted for Sale. I'm not sure that would have been the right pick, but I do feel like the race could have been closer than the voting reflected. Part of this has to do with wins, but almost certainly not in the way you think I mean.

There are good arguments for both pitchers, and clearly the voters looked at different arguments than I did. But I'm not surprised by the vote and can see a few good reasons why it went the way that it did.


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Expert picks: Who will win the Cy Young?

November, 13, 2017
Nov 13
10:49
AM ET

The Four Aces of OctoberESPN Illustration

We asked 27 of our experts to give us their predictions for who will win baseball's four major awards: Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and MVP. Next up is the Cy Young.

American League

The finalists:

Corey Kluber

Age:
31 | B-T: R/R

HT: 6-4 | WT: 215

2017 stats: 18-4, 2.25 ERA, 265 K's

2017 WAR: 8.0

Kluber led the AL in ERA (2.25) and WHIP (0.87) and was tied for the most wins (18). He was second in strikeouts (265) and fourth in innings pitched (203⅔). He also led all MLB pitchers in Baseball-Reference WAR (8.0) and was fourth overall among all players.

Chris Sale

Age:
28 | B-T: L/L

HT: 6-6 | WT: 172

2017 stats: 17-8, 2.90 ERA, 308 K's

2017 WAR: 6.0

In his first season in Boston, Sale led the AL in strikeouts (308) and innings pitched (214⅓). Sale's 308 strikeouts are the second most in Red Sox history behind Pedro Martinez's 313 in 1999.

Luis Severino


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Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesA shoddy stretch likely cost Red Sox ace Chris Sale the Cy Young. But Boston plans to play big games at Fenway next fall, so keeping him fresh is task No. 1.

A shoddy stretch run likely cost the Red Sox ace the Cy Young. But Boston plans to play big games at Fenway next fall, so keeping him fresh is job one.
David Richard/USA TODAY SportsCarlos Santana hits the market after eight productive seasons with the Indians.

Looking to upgrade at first base, the Red Sox will reportedly meet with reps for free agents Carlos Santana and Logan Morrison this week.

Red Sox Hall of Fame 2B Bobby Doerr dies at 99

November, 14, 2017
Nov 14
7:31
AM ET

Bobby DoerrBettmann via Getty ImagesBobby Doerr was the oldest living major league player. He is the only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to live to be 99 years old.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Bobby Doerr, the Hall of Fame second baseman dubbed the "Silent Captain" of the Boston Red Sox by longtime teammate and friend Ted Williams, has died. He was 99.

Doerr died Monday, the Red Sox said Tuesday in a statement.

"Bobby Doerr was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one himself," Red Sox owner John Henry said in the statement. "And even with his Hall of Fame achievements at second base, his character and personality outshined it all. He will be missed."

Signed out of the old Pacific Coast League on the same scouting trip that brought Williams to Fenway Park, Doerr played 14 seasons with the Red Sox and joined his fishing buddy in the Hall of Fame in 1986. He had a .288 career average, helping the Red Sox to the 1946 World Series, and in the first All-Star Game played at night he hit a three-run homer that gave the AL the lead for good.

The nine-time All-Star often forgave his more accomplished friend for his storied anger and impatience.

"Ted couldn't understand mediocre, see. And I was in that mediocre class," Doerr told The Associated Press on his 90th birthday in 2008, which the governor of Oregon declared Bobby Doerr Day.


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Scoot over, Don Larsen. There has been another perfect game in the World Series ... of Bowling, that is.

Mookie Betts, the All-Star right fielder for the Boston Red Sox and bowling aficionado, rolled a 300 Sunday night in the final qualifying round of the World Series of Bowling in Reno, Nevada.

In an interview with PBA Network, he guessed that it was his 10th perfect game, but it marked his first in a Professional Bowlers Association tour event.

"This is definitely the most important one," Betts told the PBA.

Betts is competing in the World Series of Bowling for the second time in three years. Entering Sunday night, he was averaging a 204.71 score through 35 games and ranked 156th out of 195 players. Although he won't make the cut for the PBA World Championship, he made a discernible improvement on his 2015 debut, in which his average score was 190.

Sunday's 10-game round proved to be the lowest-scoring of the tournament for most players. Betts finished his first five games with a 194.4 average and rolled a 169 game -- his lowest score of the tournament -- in the sixth game before coming back with a 300 that pushed him up 40 places in the standings.

As Betts began racking up strikes en route to the perfect score, he drew attention from several of the experienced bowlers on tour, including Sean Rash and Tommy Jones.

"After the first ball, I turned around, and I was like, 'Oh boy, I wasn't expecting it to be this many,'" Betts said. "But the bowling community's close."

Betts won a Gold Glove last week as the American League's best right fielder. He batted .264 with 24 homers, 102 RBIs and an .803 OPS in 153 games for the Red Sox this past season, despite dealing with assorted injuries, including a wrist problem that bothered him late in the season.


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Amber Searls/USA TODAY SportsGiancarlo Stanton tore his way through August with 18 home runs, a tirade one might think would scare pitchers. But they haven't stood down.

Miami has opened the Stanton trade talks with Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco and Philadelphia, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
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Unshackled from luxury-tax constraints, Dave Dombrowski's club has its wallet open in search of the heavy hitter it has lacked post-David Ortiz.

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY SportsIn the first year of their post-David Ortiz era, the Red Sox hit only 168 homers, fewest in the American League. They'll be shopping to add power to their lineup this offseason.

With free agency about to get underway, the offseason is going to pick up steam. What are the big questions facing all 30 teams?

Boston Red Sox: Will they turn the power back on?

2017 record: 93-69

2018 World Series odds: 10-1

Vote: What should the Red Sox do this offseason?

It was the Year of the Home Run, with pitches getting hit over outfield fences at a rate never before seen in baseball history.

Except in Boston.

Home runs are en vogue again, but the Red Sox missed the memo. In the first year of their post-David Ortiz era, they hit only 168 homers, fewest in the American League. Of the 74 players who hit at least 25 homers, none were part of the Red Sox's lineup. Deposed manager John Farrell used seven different players in the cleanup spot, a testament to the fact that the team lacked a true middle-of-the-order power threat. As a result, the Sox scored 785 runs, a drop-off of 103 runs from 2016.


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Daniel Flores, a 17-year-old catcher who signed with the Boston Red Sox in July when the international amateur signing window opened, died Wednesday due to complications stemming from cancer treatment, the team announced.

Flores was signed out of Venezuela and was classified as the second-best prospect available, according to MLB.com. Flores was receiving treatments in Boston when he died.

"Everyone at the Red Sox was shocked to hear of Daniel's tragic passing," Dave Dombrowski, Boston's president of baseball operations, said in a statement. "To see the life of a young man with so much promise cut short is extremely saddening for all of us. On behalf of the Red Sox organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Daniel's family."

A switch-hitter, the 6-foot-1 Flores said during a July news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, that Salvador Perez was his idol, according to El Nacional.

"I hope I can have the [consistency] to play between 15 and 20 years in major league baseball. I hope I can get to the Hall of Fame."

Although he was several years away from the majors, Flores was already being hailed by scouts for his defense behind the plate, especially his arm strength and quick release. It's likely he would have ranked among the Red Sox's top five prospects by most projections heading into next season.

Manny Padron, one of Flores' coaches, told Hardball Scoop in July that the player was very mature for his age.


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BOSTON -- In 27 years with the Red Sox, Dana LeVangie has been a minor league catcher, a bullpen catcher, a pro scout, a major league advance scout, a catching instructor and a bullpen coach.

One thing he hasn't done: pitch.

But the pitching coach position was still vacant on new manager Alex Cora's staff, so the Red Sox promoted LeVangie into a job that few non-pitchers have held.

"This is something I didn't envision myself doing," LeVangie said Wednesday on a conference call. "But I think my experience throughout the game, experience dealing with the players has grown throughout my time. And I guess more than anything my commitment to the players, my commitment to the pitchers just continues to drive me to be the best."

Dave Duncan is the foremost example of a former catcher who became a successful pitching coach. Coincidentally, Tony La Russa -- the manager with whom Duncan worked in Oakland and St. Louis -- was recently appointed as an adviser to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

LeVangie noted the influence of longtime Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek in helping him learn to work with pitchers. With LeVangie's previous job now vacant, Varitek could be a bullpen coach candidate, a choice that would be popular with the fan base.


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The Boston Red Sox won a second straight AL East title in 2017 but still decided to jettison manager John Farrell after five seasons. Alex Cora takes over a team that, while a consistent winner, has lost in the AL Division Series the past two postseasons.

In addition to high expectations, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has some holes to fill now that free agency and the building of the 2018 team are underway. What's the Red Sox's biggest need? Which one move would you like to see them make before spring training? Would any of Keith Law's Top 50 free agentsInsider look good in a Sox uniform? Weigh in on Boston's offseason below and check out the other 29 teams here.

Keep track of the latest signings, acquisitions and rumored moves for every team from now through the start of spring training on ESPN.com.


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Whether Boston's rookie skipper can manage a big-league club remains to be seen. But Boston will happily welcome his readiness to turn the page.
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BOSTON -- For two weeks, Alex Cora lived a double life.

"I was the Red Sox manager from 8 to 11 [in the morning]," he said, "then I became the bench coach for the Houston Astros."

On Monday, 15 days after signing a three-year contract to be the 47th manager of the Boston Red Sox, Cora finally was able to devote 100 percent of his time and energy to that singular pursuit.

Having concluded his Astros coaching tenure with a World Series parade through downtown Houston last Friday, he arrived at Fenway Park to be reintroduced to the media, some of whom covered him as a player from 2005 to 2008, and take questions for the first time since the announcement of his hiring in a news release.

The Red Sox fired John Farrell on Oct. 11, two days after losing to Cora's Astros in the American League Division Series, and finalized a deal with Cora on Oct. 22, one day after the Astros won the pennant by beating the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

In between, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski led a seven-person contingent to New York to interview Cora on Oct. 15, an off day in the ALCS. A few days later, owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner -- who happened to be in New York on what Henry termed "non-baseball business" -- met with Cora.


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