With the baseball season officially over, a lot of baseball fans are left with a giant hole in our lives. But don’t fret, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Headed our way soon will be the Hot Stove season, where teams wheel and deal to improve their teams odds in 2013. Until then, some notes to tide you over on Halloween.
I hope no one blinked during the World Series; if you did, you missed it. Four games is all it took for the San Francisco Giants to make quick work of the Detroit Tigers. Coming off two thrilling comebacks in both the LDS and LCS, the Giants roared into the Fall Classic and finished off their miracle season. It’s really pretty simple how they did it. They out-pitched the Tigers, out-hit them, and just flat out out-played them. I don’t know if the layoff hurt the Tigers, or if the Giants were just the better team. Actually, I think it’s the latter. As a Royals fan, I watched the Royals play the Tigers close to twenty times this past season, and I was never overly impressed with Detroit. Sure, they have Verlander and Cabrera, and Doug Fister(you just got Fisted!) had a good second half for Detroit out of the rotation. But their defense was awful all year, and the offense was really streaky. Sure, Detroit had a good season. But at the end of the day, the Tigers didn’t really grasp the AL Central till late in the season, they were pushed hard in the Oakland series and faced a struggling Yankees team in the ALCS. I probably could have named three other National League teams that could have beat the Tigers. I’m not trying to disparage Detroit, just saying that they never seemed like a World Series team to me. Big congratulations go out to the Giants and great to see a bunch of players who are confident and quirky. Bruce Bochy has taken this team of weirdos and molded them into a championship team. If I was GM Brian Sabean, I don’t change the nucleus of this team. This is a team that could be back in this spot next year.
Last night the Gold Glove awards were announced, and Kansas City Royals star Left Fielder Alex Gordon came away with his second consecutive award for defensive excellence. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about this award. Sure, I totally think Gordon deserved to win. But anymore, this award is not voted for defense as much as for offensive AND defensive excellence. Sure, voters can say it isn’t, but offense is taken into consideration way more than they should. Look at someone like Brendan Ryan of the Mariners. Ryan barely hits over .200 most years, but keeps his job because of his sparkling defense. Yes, his defense is that good. The truth is Ryan will never win this award because he just doesn’t hit enough. I just wish MLB would just be honest and admit this award is not for just defense alone. Hit good and play solid defense and you too could win a Gold Glove.
Soon the other awards throughout Major League Baseball will be announced, including American League MVP. Yes, that debate will heat up again. Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers ended up being the first Triple Crown winner in baseball since 1967 while Angels Center Fielder Mike Trout put up ridiculous numbers for a rookie. This debate has mostly split two sides of baseball, the old guard and the new guard. If you are someone who loves stats of all kind, including defensive, then Trout is your probably your man. If you look at getting your team to the playoffs and making baseball history, Cabrera is your guy. I’m still split, as I do understand what Cabrera has done this year and how special that is. But I also think Trout is about as special as they get, and his numbers stand out even more when you consider he was in AAA for the first month of the year. Defensively, Trout stomps Miggy, and Trout’s WAR is 3.8 higher than Cabrera’s. Yes, it is a lot of numbers to digest and it’s hard to argue with either choice. But if I had to put my money on it, Cabrera comes out the winner. But a part of me really believes the award should belong to Trout. Either way, we the fans win.
Finally, it is a bad kept secret that the Kansas City Royals are looking to upgrade their starting rotation this offseason, even if Dayton Moore seems to not be(or not able to) bumping up the payroll. If the Royals are looking to veer outside the box when looking, Brandon McCarthy might be an interesting option. McCarthy had a good season with Oakland in 2012, even if injuries limited him to only 18 starts. His ERA was 3.24 with a WAR of 2.0 and a strikeout to walk ratio of almost 3 to 1. His last two seasons in Oakland have been his best in the majors and he won’t be turning 30 until July. The price for Brandon might not be as high as well, since he is coming off of a major head injury(and last I checked, brain surgery was considered major). McCarthy was hit in the head from a line drive late in the season and had progressed enough from the surgery that Oakland was ready to activate him if they had advanced to the ALCS. He’s also had shoulder issues over the years, but McCarthy might be a risk worth taking. Maybe a smaller contract loaded with incentives? Sounds like the kind of deal Dayton Moore would love. If Moore is serious about getting creative this offseason, then McCarthy might be a good option. He can’t be any worse than some of the options we have now(paging Hochevar, Luke).