It isn’t the official American League MVP award, and it isn’t a reliable tracker of eventual MVP voting, but the Players Choice award for AL Outstanding Player is a pretty nice award to have. And at least this year, Miguel Cabrera doesn’t have it. The honor goes to Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton, Cabrera and Major League home run leader Jose Bautista were the finalists for the award, which is voted on by Major League players through balloting conducted in September. Hamilton was out at that point with a rib injury that ended up costing him almost the whole month, but his body of work before that was enough to convince players that he earned it.
Since the award is for Most Outstanding Player, not Most Valuable Player, a team’s playoff contention usually doesn’t play into it. In fact, six of the previous nine winners didn’t get to the postseason that year. That would seemingly play to the advantage of Cabrera and Bautista and their individual resumes, but not this year.
The Tigers made a nice boost to their amateur scouting ranks Wednesday by completing their previously reportedly talks with Dodgers scouting director Tim Hallgren. He’s coming on board as Detroit’s national crosschecker, filling a post that opened with the promotions of Scott Pleis to scouting director and David Chadd to VP/special assistant.
Hallgren has more than a quarter century in baseball with the Dodgers and Texas Rangers. He was Logan White’s right-hand man with the Dodgers drafts, both as scouting director since 2007 and in his previous posts. He’ll now be working with Pleis, Chadd and James Orr in the Tigers draft room.
Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com first reported the move last week, though at that time nothing was official.
The Tigers have been expected to reach some sort of deal to bring back Jhonny Peralta as their shortstop for next year. But could they sign him even beyond that?
If it allows Detroit to bring back Peralta for a lower average salary than what he would’ve made on his $7.25 million contract option, then the answer might be yes. Foxsports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi suggests the Tigers will agree on a two-year contract with Peralta rather than pick up the one-year club option.
An industry source said late Tuesday night that no deal was imminent. Still, a second year would be an interesting twist to a deal that has been expected since the season ended.
Indications have suggested in recent days that the Tigers will not pick up the option, even if it means letting Peralta become a free agent. The option was part of the five-year, $13 million contract Peralta signed with Cleveland entering the 2006 season, one of several long-term deals the Indians reached with their young stars in the wake of their surprise threat to the division title in 2005.
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said at season’s end that they were interested in negotiating a new deal with Peralta, though he didn’t rule out the option at the time. Peralta, for his part, has said since the day he joined the Tigers in late July that he’d like to stay.
Dombrowski indicated at Brandon Inge’s press conference last week that talks were still in the early stages, but that they had time to work out a deal. To that end, Dombrowski said he’s “optimistic something will happen.”
If the Tigers aren’t interested in paying Peralta $7.25 million for next season, but would like to sign Peralta before he hits free agency, something would logically have to entice Peralta to sign. Short of contract incentives, a second year on the deal might be the enticement.