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Ramirez finishes 3rd in AL MVP Award race

Slugger's 8.0 WAR is highest for an Indians hitter since 1953
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- With a handful of games remaining in the first half of the 2018 season, Indians infielder Jose Ramirez let it be known he had decided against participating in the Home Run Derby. Then, he belted five homers in the six games leading up to the All-Star break.

That summed up Ramirez last season. He could turn any game into a must-see event.

CLEVELAND -- With a handful of games remaining in the first half of the 2018 season, Indians infielder Jose Ramirez let it be known he had decided against participating in the Home Run Derby. Then, he belted five homers in the six games leading up to the All-Star break.

That summed up Ramirez last season. He could turn any game into a must-see event.

:: AL Most Valuable Player voting totals ::

"I'm not surprised by anything that is happening with my career," Ramirez said. "I've always been like that, since I was a little kid, always doing things that no one was expecting of me."

On Thursday night, Ramirez finished third in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award behind Mookie Betts of the Red Sox and runner-up Mike Trout of the Angels. It marked the second straight year in which Ramirez -- a dynamic switch-hitting infielder -- placed third in voting for the AL's top accolade.

That was more of a surprise in 2017. This year, Ramirez made it clear the previous year was no fluke.

"You know, it's funny," manager Terry Francona said. "You guys always ask me, when guys are young, 'What are they going to turn into?' And you don't know. I mean, you'd like to think you watch him and you pay attention, but is the guy going to hit for average? Is the guy going to hit for power? Is he going to do both?

"Or, is he going to turn into this? He's a monster. He's getting better."

Video: Francona on Indians' offseason plans, Jose Ramirez

Betts was deserving of the AL MVP Award after posting a 10.4 WAR (via FanGraphs) for the 108-win Red Sox. The right fielder hit .346/.438/.640 with 32 homers, 80 RBIs, 129 runs and 30 steals, and he received 28 first-place votes. Trout (one first-place vote) was also worthy of being second in the voting. The Angels superstar posted 9.8 WAR with a .312/.460/.628 slash line, along with 39 homers, 79 RBIs, 101 runs and 24 steals.

Ramirez was third in the AL -- behind only Betts and Trout -- with an 8.0 WAR. That marked the highest in a single season for an Indians hitter since 1953 (Al Rosen, 9.1) and was tied for the 12th-highest showing in franchise history. Ramirez received one second-place vote and 10 third-place votes, while also garnering votes from fourth through seventh. He ended with 208 points, trailing Betts (410) and Trout (265).

Tweet from @MLBastian: The AL MVP will be unveiled tonight. Jose Ramirez will finish in the top three, along with Mookie Betts and Mike Trout. Here's a feature on Jose from October."Since I was a little kid, [I was] always doing things that no one was expecting of me."https://t.co/jPtPVtUhsX

Ramirez, who had a home in the Tribe's lineup as the No. 3 hitter, ended his campaign with 39 home runs, 38 doubles and 34 stolen bases. He joined Grady Sizemore (2008) and Joe Carter (1987) as the only Indians players to have at least 30 homers and 30 steals in a season. Ramirez did not stop there, though.

Ramirez -- the club's third baseman at the start of the season and its second baseman at the end -- also piled up 105 RBIs, 106 walks and 110 runs scored. In the process, he joined Barry Bonds (1992, '95-97), Jeff Bagwell ('97, '99) and Bobby Abreu (2001, '04) as the only players in MLB history to have at least 30 homers, 30 steals, 100 RBIs, 100 runs and 100 walks in a single season.

Those numbers take on a different look when also considering the two-month slump that dogged Ramirez down the stretch.

Video: Ramirez wins second career Silver Slugger award

Over his final 50 games, Ramirez hit .202 with a .724 OPS, dragging his overall rate statistics down and hurting his stock in the MVP race. Opposing pitchers moved away from giving Ramirez -- one of the best fastball hitters in baseball -- heaters to feast on throughout August. Then, Ramirez struggled to find his mechanical rhythm in September and into the postseason.

"He got himself into a predicament, and he couldn't get himself out of it," Francona said at the end of the season. "It's hard to figure out, because a guy can be that good, that dominant, and then he just couldn't get [back on track]. He kept peeling off balls. Even when he got pitches to hit, he kind of peeled off. And he knew it, and he watched video, and he just couldn't get the feeling of staying through the ball."

That did not stop Ramirez from finishing with some staggering numbers.

Over the past two years combined, Ramirez has hit .294/.380/.567 overall with a Major League-leading 94 doubles and 172 extra-base hits. His 14.6 WAR in that span ranks third behind only Trout (16.7) and Betts (15.7). In 309 games during that span, Ramirez has piled up 10 triples, 51 steals, 68 home runs, 188 RBIs, 217 runs and more walks (158) than strikeouts (149).

"You're not sure he has any business being as good as he is," Francona said. "And yet, he is. And he finds ways to keep getting better. His numbers are fantastic, but it's not just the numbers. He also does the little things."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez

10 best players still seeking an MVP nod

MLB.com @williamfleitch

Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich won the 176th and 177th MVP Awards on Thursday. (And believe me, I know exactly how many there have been.) It was the first MVP for each player, assuring them that their already-accomplished careers will not pass by unrewarded. They will not join the list of outstanding players who never quite grabbed the big trophy, a group that includes legends Eddie Murray, Eddie Mathews, Mike Piazza, Paul Molitor and Derek Jeter.

So with Betts and Yelich now on the other side of the velvet rope, here are the 10 best players who are still looking for an MVP nod, how close they've come and whether they're likely to get one someday.

Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich won the 176th and 177th MVP Awards on Thursday. (And believe me, I know exactly how many there have been.) It was the first MVP for each player, assuring them that their already-accomplished careers will not pass by unrewarded. They will not join the list of outstanding players who never quite grabbed the big trophy, a group that includes legends Eddie Murray, Eddie Mathews, Mike Piazza, Paul Molitor and Derek Jeter.

So with Betts and Yelich now on the other side of the velvet rope, here are the 10 best players who are still looking for an MVP nod, how close they've come and whether they're likely to get one someday.

1. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Best Finish: Third place, 2018

Arenado is always going to face the voters' tendency to discount Rockies players -- only one has been MVP, Larry Walker in 1997 -- though it's always worth remembering Arenado will be a free agent after next season. His OPS+ has risen every season since he joined the league, and somehow, he's just now entering his prime.

Video: Must C Crushed: Arenado takes NL HR lead with a pair

2. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Best Finish: Fifth place, 2018

Bregman received plenty of votes after a monster 2018 in which he led the Majors in doubles and was the best player on a 103-win team. He won't turn 25 until next season's Opening Weekend, and he's well positioned to remain the star on a perpetual contender for the next half-decade.

Video: Must C Clutch: Bregman's first career walk-off homer

3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Best Finish: Fourth place, 2018

It wasn't long ago that Freeman was thought of as an above-average, but not spectacular first baseman. He has since crafted himself into an undeniable superstar, and perhaps even an underappreciated one. As the young Braves rise around him, he remains the leader and the steadiest force on a team we're going to be seeing in a lot of Octobers. He led the NL in hits and doubles last season, and he won't turn 30 until next September.

Video: Must C Clutch: Freeman's HR gives Braves lead in 6th

4. Jacob deGrom
Best Finish: Fifth place, 2018 (1 first-place vote)

It has been four years since a pitcher won an MVP Award -- Clayton Kershaw in 2014. deGrom was arguably better in 2018 than Kershaw was that year, but he was no doubt hurt by the Mets' fourth-place finish.

Video: ATL@NYM: deGrom hurls 8 scoreless to earn 1.70 ERA

5. Paul Goldschmidt
Best Finish: Second place, 2013, '15

Goldschmidt's last three seasons haven't been quite as incredible as that stretch of 2013-15, but he's still been fantastic, and after a slow start to 2018, he was his old self for the final few months. His best season, 2015, happened to be the same year Bryce Harper had his monster season, and 2013 was the year Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates broke out. The real question: Does Goldschmidt make another MVP run in Arizona, or somewhere else?

Video: ARI@COL: Goldschmidt powers 2 homers at Coors Field

6. Francisco Lindor
Best Finish: Fifth place, 2017

If the Indians ever put together a season where they catch fire and win the AL Central by 30 games or something, it'll be the ideal season to honor Lindor, who is their spiritual leader and a transcendent player. Adding power to his game -- he has gone from 15 homers in 2016 to 38 last season -- hasn't cost him any of his other skills, and he has the added advantage of health and durability. He led the Majors in plate appearances (and runs, for that matter) in 2018. All that talent and he's only 25 years old.

Video: HOU@CLE Gm3: Lindor launches 446-ft dinger off clock

7. Manny Machado
Best Finish: Fourth place, 2015

It's obviously still up in the air where Machado will be peddling his wares in 2019 and beyond, but after the season he had in 2018, it's clear he'll be at the center of every conversation for years to come. He picked a terrific time to have the best year of his career, though his antics in the postseason have opened him up to scrutiny that could cost him votes. But it is obvious that Machado is one of the best players in baseball, and should be for the foreseeable future.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Machado drills three 109-plus-mph liners

8. J.D. Martinez
Best Finish: Fourth place, 2018

Martinez is unlikely to ever win an MVP -- no primary DH has since Juan Gonzalez in 1996 -- but we simply cannot deny a hitter of this caliber. Martinez just keeps getting better. For what it's worth, he did play 57 games in the field last season.

Video: Must C Classic: J.D. Martinez clubs his 40th homer

9. Jose Ramirez
Best Finish: Third place, 2017, '18

We've all known about Lindor for years, but far fewer people saw Ramirez coming. He has put together three magnificent years in a row, culminating in a 39-homer 2018. He went 2-for-31 in the last two postseasons -- but the postseason isn't a part of the MVP vote. Will he and Lindor take votes away from each other for years to come?

Video: Must C Crushed: Ramirez goes yard twice vs. Reds

10. Max Scherzer
Best Finish: 10th place, 2016, '17, '18

Scherzer has won three Cy Young Awards, he finished second this year and he hasn't finished lower than fifth since 2012. But he has never made much of a dent in MVP voting despite having won as many Cy Young Awards as Kershaw and more than Justin Verlander, both of whom have won MVPs. Scherzer may have to content himself with those Cy Youngs. If he wins one more, he'll be just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to have four: Roger Clemens (seven), Randy Johnson (five), Steve Carlton (four) and Greg Maddux (four) are the others.

Video: Must C Classic: Scherzer gets 12 straight outs via K

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman, Jacob deGrom, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, J.D. Martinez, Jose Ramirez, Max Scherzer

Kluber finishes third in AL Cy Young voting

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber did not capture the American League Cy Young Award for his work this past season. That distinction now belongs to left-hander Blake Snell, whose brilliant performance for the Rays was well-deserving of the annual accolade unveiled Wednesday night.

What Kluber did in 2018 -- a season rewarded with a third-place finish in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America -- further cemented his place as one of the greatest pitchers in Cleveland history.

CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber did not capture the American League Cy Young Award for his work this past season. That distinction now belongs to left-hander Blake Snell, whose brilliant performance for the Rays was well-deserving of the annual accolade unveiled Wednesday night.

What Kluber did in 2018 -- a season rewarded with a third-place finish in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America -- further cemented his place as one of the greatest pitchers in Cleveland history.

The franchise record book is filled with dominant arms, from Addie Joss, Bob Feller and Sudden Sam McDowell, to Luis Tiant, CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Even Cy Young himself graced a mound in Cleveland. After authoring another outstanding campaign, Kluber continued to climb Cleveland's historic ranks, finishing in the top three of AL Cy Young Award balloting for the fourth time in five years.

:: AL Cy Young Award voting totals ::

"He's one of the very best," Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier this year. "What was it, five years ago when he won his first Cy Young Award? I remember the one thing I said was, 'He hasn't done it over and over yet,' because he was young. Now, he's done it over and over and over, and it's every bit as impressive."

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award with 17 first-place votes, followed by Houston's Justin Verlander (13 first-place votes) and Kluber, who finished 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA. Fellow Indians starter Trevor Bauer, a leading contender for the award before a fluke right foot injury sidelined him for six weeks down the stretch, finished sixth in the voting after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings (28 appearances).

Kluber, a Cy Young winner in 2014 and '17, finished the season with an AL-best 215 innings. The right-hander joined Snell (21-5, 1.89 ERA) as the only pitchers in the Majors to reach 20 wins, with Kluber becoming the first Tribe pitcher to achieve the milestone since 2008 (Lee). Kluber was the first Indians righty to reach 20 wins since Gaylord Perry did so in 1974.

Over his 33 starts, Kluber also piled up 222 strikeouts against 34 walks. The right-hander's rate of 1.4 walks per nine innings was the lowest in the AL -- helped by 46 1/3 consecutive walk-free frames between May and June.

Video: DET@CLE: Kluber K's 13 over eight scoreless frames

Dating back to 2014, Kluber has gone 83-45 with a 2.85 ERA in 160 games, racking up 1,228 strikeouts against 223 walks in 1,091 1/3 innings. The Tribe ace reached at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in each of those five campaigns, the first pitcher in club history to do so. Kluber also had a 2.84 FIP, 1.02 WHIP and 17 complete games in that time period.

Kluber ranks third in Indians history in career strikeouts (1,423), trailing only Feller (2,581) and McDowell (2,159). Kluber is the best in Cleveland history (min. 1,000 innings) in strikeouts per nine innings (9.8) and winning percentage (.636) and ranks second in WHIP. Dating back to 1950, his 3.09 ERA ranks fourth overall among Tribe pitchers.

Because he finished in the top five in AL Cy Young voting again this year, Kluber's salary for 2019 increases to $17 million. The value of his two team options also increase to $17.5 million in '20 and $18 million in '21. Due in part to that escalating salary, Kluber's name has been floated in trade rumblings early this offseason.

Video: Are the Indians open to trading Kluber, others?

It should be noted that, if Kluber were to be dealt, his new team would be required to decide on the team options within three days of the conclusion of the 2019 World Series. If Kluber is traded in '20, the '21 option would become a vesting option based upon at least 160 innings in '20 with no disabled list stint at the end of the season.

Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, said it is hard to gauge whether the volume of conversations to date this offseason has been greater than at this point in past years.

"I think what I would reiterate," Antonetti said, "is that I think the conversations have reaffirmed for us that we have a lot of players on our roster and throughout our organization that are of interest to other teams. And I think what that allows us to do is have a lot of dialogue with other teams about potential opportunities for us to move forward as an organization and get better."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Corey Kluber

Carlos Carrasco hung out with a lot of giraffes

For baseball players, the winter presents an opportunity to get away from the grind of the regular season and postseason schedules to relax a bit and spend time with family. While we all know that there's #NoOffseason in any full sense, players do find ways to take advantage of their more flexible winter schedules to change up their routine.

For Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, that means a chance to travel and explore new places. He and his wife took a trip to Africa where they became intimately acquainted with the giraffes:

Tribe lands Moroff, Luplow in 5-player swap

Utility man Gonzalez, 2 prospects head to Pittsburgh in exchange
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Given the many questions hovering over the Indians' outfield, one goal this winter for the club is to introduce an assortment of potential answers. Cleveland took a step in that direction on Wednesday by making a five-player trade with the Pirates.

The Indians acquired infielder Max Moroff and outfielder Jordan Luplow from Pittsburgh in exchange for utility man Erik Gonzalez and a pair of 19-year-old pitching prospects. Right-handers Tahnaj Thomas (No. 30 on the Indians' Top 30 prospects list per MLB Pipeline) and Dante Mendoza will head to the Pirates' farm system as part of the deal.

CLEVELAND -- Given the many questions hovering over the Indians' outfield, one goal this winter for the club is to introduce an assortment of potential answers. Cleveland took a step in that direction on Wednesday by making a five-player trade with the Pirates.

The Indians acquired infielder Max Moroff and outfielder Jordan Luplow from Pittsburgh in exchange for utility man Erik Gonzalez and a pair of 19-year-old pitching prospects. Right-handers Tahnaj Thomas (No. 30 on the Indians' Top 30 prospects list per MLB Pipeline) and Dante Mendoza will head to the Pirates' farm system as part of the deal.

Luplow has logged Major League time in each of the past two seasons with Pittsburgh, but he has spent most of that time at Triple-A Indianapolis. It is not hard to see how the right-handed-hitting corner outfielder -- who has one Minor League option remaining -- might fit within Cleveland's outfield puzzle.

Video: PIT@MIL: Luplow rips an RBI triple to right field

"Jordan is a right-handed-hitting outfielder with almost a year of Major League experience," said Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations. "He's capable of playing all three outfield spots. He's spent most of the time in left and right, but we also believe he has the ability to play center field. He complements our roster really well."

Video: Antonetti discusses the Indians' offseason plans

As things currently stand, the Indians are heavy on lefty-swinging outfielders. With veteran center fielder Leonys Martin re-signed for 2019, a healthy Tyler Naquin would project to be a versus-righties option in right field. Luplow, who boasted an .891 OPS against left-handers at Triple-A in 2018, could compete for at-bats as a platoon partner with Naquin. The Tribe's new addition could also offer complementary depth in left.

In two years at Triple-A, the 25-year-old Luplow has hit .300 with 15 homers, 32 doubles, 68 RBIs and an .857 OPS in 132 games. He logged 13 outfield assists between MLB and the Minors in '18, but his offensive numbers in the big leagues have yet to match his production with Indianapolis. Last season, Luplow hit .185 (.631 OPS) in 37 games with the Pirates, and he has a .194 (.644 OPS) showing in 64 career MLB games.

The 25-year-old Moroff, who is out of Minor League options, gives the Indians a candidate for a utility role now that Gonzalez is no longer in the picture. In parts of three seasons with Pittsburgh, the switch-hitter has hit .193 with a .625 OPS in 84 games, while logging innings all around the infield. Moroff is a middle infielder by trade, but he has experience at third base, too.

Video: MIL@PIT: Moroff launches a solo homer to open scoring

"In Max, it's an infielder that's a very good defender at second base and third base. He's also played shortstop," Antonetti said. "Very good instincts and has had some success offensively. We're looking forward to both guys joining the organization, and I think both of them can help us moving forward."

Gonzalez (out of options) was a highly touted shortstop prospect while ascending Cleveland's Minor League ladder, but he was blocked by star shortstop Francisco Lindor. Gonzalez gave the Indians a plus defender for second, short and third, and got experience at first base and in the outfield. Looking ahead to 2019, Gonzalez would have fought for at-bats again given the presence of Lindor, Jose Ramirez and potentially Yandy Diaz around the Tribe's infield.

"That was a tough thing for us," Antonetti said, of the struggle to find Gonzalez at-bats in the Majors. "As our roster has taken shape over the past few seasons, we have not had an opportunity for him to play regularly. We feel this will give Erik an opportunity to play more with Pittsburgh and continue his career and potentially blossom into the everyday player we think he can be."

The 27-year-old Gonzalez is a career .263 hitter with five homers, 16 doubles, 27 RBIs and a .681 OPS in 162 games. He turned in a .273/.314/.397 slash line in 744 career Minor League games before sticking in Cleveland. Last year, Gonzalez hit .265 (.676 OPS) in 136 at-bats over 81 games.

Arguably his most memorable moment with the Indians came on Sept. 7, 2017, when Gonzalez belted two home runs against the White Sox in win No. 15 within Cleveland's historic 22-game winning streak.

Video: CLE@CWS: Gonzalez belts two homers vs. the White Sox

The Indians' 40-man roster is now at 35 players.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Erik Gonzalez, Jordan Luplow, Max Moroff

Marabell collects RBI triple in Fall League

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Thursday:

• Gameday: Mesa 11, Surprise 10 | Peoria 2, Scottsdale 1 | Glendale 4, Salt River 2

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Thursday:

• Gameday: Mesa 11, Surprise 10 | Peoria 2, Scottsdale 1 | Glendale 4, Salt River 2

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 22 prospect Santiago Espinal was 1-for-4 with a two-run single. Shawn Morimando started and lasted three innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Orioles (Glendale)
Martin Cervenka went 2-for-4 and scored a run, and Jay Flaa pitched one clean inning, only allowing a walk.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 7 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez hit a walk-off single to give Peoria a 2-1, come-from-behind victory. Matt Krook pitched three shutout innings in relief, striking out five while scattering two hits. No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Third baseman Bobby Dalbec, the Red Sox's No. 6 prospect, crushed a two-run homer, his third this fall season, going 1-for-5.

Yankees (Glendale)
Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Steven Sensley provided the game-winning hit for Glendale with his two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth. 

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Connor Marabell collect an RBI triple in the top of the first inning, scored a run and finished 1-for-4. Indians No. 6 prospect Yu Chang went 1-for-4. On the mound, Rob Kamisky threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief before Dalbert Siri threw two-thirds of an inning to get the win.

Royals (Surprise)
Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 1-for-5, and Nick Heath went 2-for-5, each scoring a pair of runs.

Tigers (Mesa)
Tigers No. 8 prospect Daz Cameron had multiple hits for the fourth time in his last five games, going 3-for-5, including a double and an RBI single. Jake Rogers (No. 12) hit a walk-off single to give Mesa the 11-10 victory. Daniel Pinero was 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and two runs, and No. 14 prospect Gregory Soto made the start, allowing two runs on two hits as he struck out six in four innings.

Twins (Salt River)
Griffin Jax started for the Rafters and gave up two runs over four innings. Hector Lujan pitched an 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, and Adam Bray threw one scoreless frame.

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 9 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe scored a run and finished 1-for-5 for the Desert Dogs. Zach Thompson secured the win with his scoreless ninth-inning relief.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
A's No. 30 prospect Skye Bolt had a perfect day at the plate, hitting two doubles and walking three times as he plated two runs and scored three. Sam Sheehan pitched a perfect seventh, and Calvin Coker was charged with five unearned runs in the eighth.

Angels (Mesa)
David Mackinnon hit a two-run double as part of a 2-for-5 day, and Brett Hanewich allowed an unearned run on two hits in his inning of relief. Ryan Clark earned his first win of the fall despite allowing two runs in the ninth.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Astros No. 2 prospect Forrest Whitley was stellar in his five-inning start, allowing only one hit while striking out nine. Drew Ferguson went 2-for-4 with a double, while Erasmo Pinales took his second loss of the fall after allowing two runs in 1 1/3 innings. More >>

Mariners (Peoria)
David McKay earned his second win of the fall after striking out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Chris Mariscal was 1-for-3 with a walk, and Joe DeCarlo and No. 20 prospect Ian Miller were a combined 0-for-4.

Rangers (Surprise)
Charles Leblanc was 2-for-5 and hit a game-tying two-run single in the ninth, but Joe Barlow took the loss after allowing the walk-off single in the bottom of the frame. Joe Kuzia also didn't fare well, allowing five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
Braves No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache was 1-for-3 with a walk and his third stolen base, and also recorded an outfield assist when he doubled a runner off of first base in the first inning. No. 23 prospect Izzy Wilson was 0-for-1 after entering as a pinch-hitter. Braxton Davidson was 0-for-3 with a walk and scored a run.

Marlins (Salt River)
It was a quiet day for Miami prospects as Marlins No. 12 prospect Brian Miller went 1-for-4, and Chad Smith took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Austin Listi was 3-for-4 with an RBI double to extend his hitting streak to four games. Darick Hall was 0-for-3 with a walk, and Luke Williams was 0-for-4.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom went 0-for-3 with a walk. Ben Braymer worked a scoreless inning of relief, striking out one and allowing one hit. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) finished the day 0-for-4

Mets (Scottsdale)
Top Mets prospect Andrew Gimenez and No. 11 prospect Desmond Lindsay combined to go 0-for-6.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
After entering the game as a defensive sub, Weston Wilson walked and tied the game with an RBI single as part of Peoria's game-winning rally in the ninth inning. That helped starter Bubba Derby, who allowed one run in five strong frames but was on track for the loss. Brerwers No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura and No. 19 prospect Trent Grisham both went 0-for-3.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Cardinals No. 27 prospect Conner Greene helped steady the ship after the Surprise pitching staff coughed up 10 early runs, as he got four groundouts and a strikeout as part of two perfect innings out of the bullpen. Lane Thomas started Surprise's late rally with a two-run single in the eighth, while Andy Young doubled, walked and scored two runs. Jeremy Martinez was 1-for-4 with a run.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner led Mesa hitters with three RBIs, as he doubled twice and hit a two-run single to hit safely in his fourth consecutive game. DJ Wilson (No. 16) added a double and a run, and Trent Giambrone (No. 29) walked twice. Manuel Rondon pitched a perfect fifth inning. More >>

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 16 prospect Will Craig mashed his sixth homer of the fall, a three-run shot, to cap a five-run rally in the eighth. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) was 0-for-3 with a walk, and Cole Tucker (No. 5) didn't hit after entering as a pinch-runner in the ninth. Geoff Hartlieb walked two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Mark Kolozsvary hit his second double of the fall and was 1-for-4, while No. 23 propsect Alfredo Rodriguez was 1-for-3.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
The D-backs' No. 3 prospect, Jazz Chisholm, reached base three times, tallying two hits and a walk, and scored a run from the leadoff spot in the Rafters' lineup. D-back's No. 5 prospect Daulton Varsho finished 0-for-2, then was substiutted out. Pavin Smith (No. 4) finished the day 0-for-3 with a walk, and Drew Ellis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts

Giants (Scottsdale)
Chase Johnson tossed his eighth consecutive scoreless appearance, allowing one hit in two innings, while striking out four. Giants No. 28 prospect CJ Hinojosa was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 23 prospect Hudson Potts was 0-for-2.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 20 prospect Errol Robinson and Cody Thomas each had 1-for-4 performances. Jared Walker finished 1-for-3 with a walk.

Rockies (Salt River)
Josh Fuentes launched a two-run home run, his only hit of the night (1-for-4), to put the Rafters ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Rockies No. 9 prospect Sam Hilliard went 0-for-4.

The case for each AL MVP finalist

MLB.com

The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player Award race has yielded three tremendous all-around players as finalists in Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez and Mike Trout. Each slugged more than 30 home runs while stealing more than 20 bases, as well as playing strong defense at his respective position. It's no easy decision to name one MVP from this trio, but that's exactly what will happen when the winner is announced Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Here's the case for each finalist.

Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Five-tool star Betts has worthy credentials to win the first AL MVP Award of his career at the age of 26. Betts, who stayed in the leadoff spot the entire season for the World Series champions, had the best FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (10.4) for a position player since Barry Bonds in 2004 (11.9).

The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player Award race has yielded three tremendous all-around players as finalists in Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez and Mike Trout. Each slugged more than 30 home runs while stealing more than 20 bases, as well as playing strong defense at his respective position. It's no easy decision to name one MVP from this trio, but that's exactly what will happen when the winner is announced Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Here's the case for each finalist.

Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Five-tool star Betts has worthy credentials to win the first AL MVP Award of his career at the age of 26. Betts, who stayed in the leadoff spot the entire season for the World Series champions, had the best FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (10.4) for a position player since Barry Bonds in 2004 (11.9).

• Complete 2018 awards coverage

After finishing second in the AL MVP Award race to Trout two years ago, Betts has an even better candidacy this time around. The right fielder was a force in every way possible, winning the batting title with a .346 average while adding 47 doubles, five triples, 32 homers, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. His 1.078 OPS was second in the Majors behind only Trout (1.088), and Betts earned his third straight Gold Glove Award for his defensive excellence.

All-time AL MVP Award winners

Video: Harold Reynolds breaks down Mookie Betts' AL MVP Case

Betts' numbers were remarkable across the board. He was a .364 hitter at home while hitting .331 on the road. He belted 13 homers at home and 19 on the road. Against lefties, Betts had an OPS of 1.207. Against righties, it was 1.037. Betts hit .330 or higher in every month except June, when he still had a respectable .290 mark.

"He impacts the game like no other player in the big leagues -- running the bases, playing defense, hitting for power," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "You see the numbers. It was a special season for him."

-- Ian Browne

Jose Ramirez, Indians
Ramirez burst onto the scene two seasons ago, surprising the baseball world with a performance that led to a third-place finish in AL MVP Award voting. The Indians star showed this year that his overwhelming showing was no fluke.

Once again, Ramirez is contending for premier season-end hardware. That is fitting, considering that only Betts (10.4) and Trout (9.8) were able to top the 8.0 WAR (per FanGraphs) that Cleveland's switch-hitting slugger posted in 2018.

Ramirez was an AL Gold Glove finalist at third base and picked up a Silver Slugger Award for the second consecutive campaign. Heading into August, he looked like a favorite for the AL MVP Award, but a two-month slide hurt his stock on the ballot down the stretch. Considering the extent of Ramirez's late-season troubles, the numbers he piled up are staggering.

Video: Ramirez wins second career Silver Slugger award

In 157 games, Ramirez turned in a .270/.387/.552 slash line to go along with 39 home runs, 38 doubles, 34 stolen bases, 105 RBIs, 110 runs scored and 106 walks (compared to 80 strikeouts). Ramirez did all that despite batting .202 with a .724 OPS in the final 50 games of the season.

Ramirez's 8.0 WAR was the highest for an Indians batter since 1953 (Al Rosen, 9.1) and was tied for the 12th-highest single-season total in franchise history. Ramirez also joined Bonds (1992, '95-97), Jeff Bagwell ('97, '99) and Bobby Abreu (2001, '04) as the only players in MLB history to have at least 30 homers, 30 steals, 100 RBIs, 100 runs and 100 walks in a single season.

-- Jordan Bastian

Mike Trout, Angels
A model of consistency, Trout has established himself as a perennial AL MVP Award candidate over his first seven full seasons with the Angels, and he has already won the prestigious honor twice, in 2014 and '16. He will finish in the top three for the sixth time in his career after falling to fourth place last season due to a thumb injury that forced him to miss seven weeks of the regular season.

Widely considered the best player in baseball, Trout is coming off what he considers to be his strongest overall campaign to date. He batted .312 with an MLB-high 1.088 OPS, 39 home runs, 79 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 140 games in 2018. Trout also set career highs in on-base percentage (.460), OPS+ (199) and walks (122), and he compiled the second-highest WAR (9.8) in the Majors, according to FanGraphs, trailing only Betts (10.4).

Video: Darling breaks down Trout's AL MVP chances

Trout's relentless drive to get better became clear in his push to improve his defense in center field, which had been rated unfavorably by advanced fielding metrics in recent years. After recording minus-6 Defensive Runs Saved in 2017, Trout focused on quickening his jumps and playing more aggressively this year. His efforts paid off, as he recorded plus-8 DRS in '18, earning him a Gold Glove Award nomination for the first time since '15.

"He achieved his goal," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in October. "What a surprise. It's pretty remarkable. Remarkable player, remarkable person."

-- Maria Guardado

Inbox: How much will Lindor earn in arbitration?

Beat reporter Jordan Bastian fields Indians fans' questions
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Questions regarding Francisco Lindor hitting arbitration, free agent Michael Brantley and more are answered in this week's Inbox.

CLEVELAND -- Questions regarding Francisco Lindor hitting arbitration, free agent Michael Brantley and more are answered in this week's Inbox.

Tweet from @b_lui1131: Do you think Lindor will set a new first year arbitration salary record? Brian - Willoughby, OH

This will be an interesting story to follow later this offseason, especially given the Indians' need to keep its payroll around the same operating range as last year. Shortstop Lindor is hitting arbitration for the first time, and Cleveland will try to table an offer in an effort to avoid a hearing.

A year ago, Cubs star Kris Bryant set the first-year arbitration record with a one-year, $10.85 million contract. He was coming off his age-25 season. Lindor just wrapped up his age-24 campaign and might finish in the top five in American League Most Valuable Player voting for the second year in a row. We'll know if that's the case when the MVP balloting results are revealed in an MLB Network special at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday.

All teams are required to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players by Nov. 30 and then the two sides exchange proposed salary figures for 2019 on Jan. 11. I'm not going to try to project the precise salary that Lindor might earn next season, but I can show you how he compares to Bryant's record-breaking case.

Bryant headed into last offseason with a .288/.388/.527 career slash line in 457 games with Chicago. He had 94 homers, 104 doubles, 274 RBIs, 319 runs scored and 28 steals. Per Baseball-Reference, Bryant had posted 19.7 WAR to that point (or 0.043 WAR per MLB game). His 141 OPS+ indicated that he had performed 41 percent above league average. Bryant had a National League Rookie of the Year trophy (2015) and NL MVP ('16), plus a World Series triumph in '16, on his career resume.

Video: CWS@CLE: Lindor smacks a triple to center in the 8th

Entering this offseason, Lindor has posted a .288/.350/.487 slash line in 574 games, with 98 homers, 138 doubles, 310 RBIs, 377 runs and 71 steals. The switch-hitting shortstop has a 119 OPS+ in his career to go along with 23.9 WAR (0.042 per game). Lindor is a three-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger recipient and has a Gold Glove Award in his trophy case. While Bryant has the better offensive showing in the samples given, Lindor is one of MLB's elite defensive talents.

Lindor might have a shot at a first-year arbitration record, but that's ultimately a footnote. The larger issue is how the Indians will fit whatever he earns into the payroll picture -- along with other raises through arbitration and guaranteed contracts -- while addressing the team's needs this winter. That is why there are already a surplus of trade rumors involving Cleveland swirling in the bubbling Hot Stove pot.

:: Submit a question to the Indians Inbox ::

Tweet from @SarahRissler: Why not extend the qualifying offer to Brantley? If he declines, we get a draft pick. Now we get nothing. #IndiansInbox

During the qualifying offer process, the Indians' front-office evaluators not only needed to determine whether players such as Brantley were worth the one-year proposal (worth $17.9 million for '19), but the likelihood that such an offer would be accepted. If the analysis shows that the player might accept, well, then the team has to know that it can fit that salary into the payroll.

That decision was due five days after the conclusion of the World Series. The Indians know they probably need to shed salary in order to add salary this winter, so committing nearly $18 million -- with a list of other roster issues still unsettled -- was problematic that quick into the offseason. True, Cleveland now loses out on any potential Draft pick compensation, but the team did not feel it could risk locking in that type of salary so early into baseball's offseason.

Is there a realistic chance that the Tribe tries to offload Edwin Encarnacion this offseason?
--Sid C., Wesson, Miss.

I think that would be a tall task. Encarnacion is set to earn $21.7 in '19 and he will turn 36 years old in January. There is also a $5 million buyout for his $20 million team option for '20. Encarnacion has a strong track record, but teams do not view aging sluggers the same as in previous eras. He is also limited to first base and designated hitter, limiting the list of potential suitors and hurting his value.

The Indians will certainly explore the market for Encarnacion, along with first baseman Yonder Alonso, whose deal is not nearly as hefty. Alonso is owed $8 million in '19 and has a $9 million team option (or $1 million buyout) for '20. Cleveland is surely looking into what teams would offer for one of its catchers, Yan Gomes or Roberto Perez. Again, the Tribe will likely need to free up some cash in order to fill some offseason holes.

Tweet from @Wildcard316: #IndiansInbox would trading Kluber be moreso having faith/confidence in Bauer being the Ace compared to trading Cookie and keeping Kluber?

I don't think being open-minded to listening to trade offers for Corey Kluber has anything to do with viewing someone else as the new "ace" of the rotation. That said, Cleveland has three arms capable of being labeled as a No. 1 starter (Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer), plus a rising star in Mike Clevinger. There is depth there and, even if there are questions about the back-end depth, the Indians would still head into '19 as the AL Central favorites if they dealt an arm to address some other areas of need.

Tweet from @BrianBosheff: Do you see a scenario where Jose Ramirez moves back to 3B? He was a Golden Glove finalist while his play at 2B left a lot to be desired...at least this past season.

If the Indians find a way to open up at-bats for Yandy Diaz at first or DH, then Cleveland could keep Jose Ramirez at third base. Right now, though, Diaz looks like the likely starter for third, with Ramirez staying put at second base. In that latter scenario, Jason Kipnis could take over in left field.

Tweet from @Domi_Rella: Regardless of what happens with Kluber or Carrassco, is Adam Jones in our price range? Does the potential of Oscar Mercado coming up mid-summer effect how they shop the OF position this winter? #IndiansInbox

Yes, Adam Jones -- or someone similar -- looks like a potential fit on the surface, especially if the outfield remains intact with no trades. Cleveland would be in the market for a right-handed complement to play multiple outfield positions. It can't be emphasized enough, though, that the Indians may not be much of a player in free agency unless something budges with the payroll. As for Oscar Mercado, he will be an interesting prospect to watch this year, but I doubt he impacts any winter plans. I would think center fielder Bradley Zimmer's pending return -- possibly midseason -- might factor into the team's thinking, though.

Tweet from @DreamingBasebll: #IndiansInbox Yu Chang excelled in the Arizona Fall League. What do you think the chances are that he sees time on the major league club in 2019?

I definitely think Yu Chang is on the '19 radar, but there are a few players in his path at the moment. With Lindor locked in at short, Chang has tried his hand at third base. Well, that's where Ramirez and Diaz fit into the MLB picture right now. Similar to Diaz's situation, if at-bats open at first base, leading to some position shuffling, Chang could have a better route to the big leagues. Expect him to be back at Triple-A next season. 

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor

Lindor, Ramirez take home Silver Sluggers

MLB.com @castrovince

The list of 2018 American League and National League Silver Slugger Award winners announced on Thursday night on MLB Network includes quite a few past recipients of the offense-based honor. Most notably, Mike Trout won for the sixth time, Jose Altuve for the fifth, and Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado for the fourth apiece.

But the list also includes the first two-time winner … within the same season. J.D. Martinez's selection as both a designated hitter and an outfielder makes him the first player in the 39-year history of the award, which is presented annually by Louisville Slugger, to win two Silver Sluggers in the same year.

The list of 2018 American League and National League Silver Slugger Award winners announced on Thursday night on MLB Network includes quite a few past recipients of the offense-based honor. Most notably, Mike Trout won for the sixth time, Jose Altuve for the fifth, and Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado for the fourth apiece.

But the list also includes the first two-time winner … within the same season. J.D. Martinez's selection as both a designated hitter and an outfielder makes him the first player in the 39-year history of the award, which is presented annually by Louisville Slugger, to win two Silver Sluggers in the same year.

• All-time Silver Slugger Award winners

MLB managers and coaches fill in their blank Silver Slugger ballots at the conclusion of the regular season and are not allowed to vote for players on their own team. It's not unusual for players to receive votes at multiple positions, though that usually works to the detriment of a player's chances of winning. Martinez's exceptional year, in which he spent 62 percent of his time at DH and the other 38 in the corner outfield for the World Series champion Red Sox, created an exception all its own.

Here is the full list of winners for 2018:

Video: Perez wins his second career Silver Slugger Award

CATCHER
AL winner: Salvador Perez, Royals (second Silver Slugger Award)

Perez, who also won a Silver Slugger in 2016, was the only AL catcher to notch enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, and he repeated the career highs he set in 2017 with 27 homers and 80 RBIs. The Indians' Yan Gomes led AL catchers in OPS (.762) but in 107 fewer at-bats than Perez (.713 OPS).

Video: J.T. Realmuto wins Silver Slugger at catcher

NL winner: J.T. Realmuto, Marlins (first)

A much-discussed trade candidate of late, Realmuto led all qualifying catchers with his career-best .825 OPS while hitting 21 homers, 30 doubles and three triples.

Video: Jose Abreu wins second career Silver Slugger Award

FIRST BASE
AL winner: Jose Abreu, White Sox (second)

In a down year for productivity for AL first basemen, Abreu recaptured the award he last won in his rookie season of 2014. He had a .265/.325/.473 slash with 22 homers, 36 doubles and 78 RBIs.

Video: Goldschmidt takes home fourth Silver Slugger Award

NL winner: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs (fourth)

A four-time Silver Slugger, Goldschmidt took an un-Goldschmidt-like .198 batting average into play on May 23 but wound up with a very-Goldschmidt-like .290/.389/.533 slash with 33 homers, 35 doubles and five triples by season's end. His .922 OPS was 25 points higher than any other qualifying first baseman in the Majors.

Video: Jose Altuve wins 5th career Silver Slugger Award

SECOND BASE
AL winner: Jose Altuve, Astros (fifth)

Beset by injury, Altuve endured a significant step down from his 2017 MVP numbers but will take home hardware anyway. He led all full-time AL second basemen in batting average (.316) and OPS (.837).

Video: Javier Baez wins Silver Slugger Award at second

NL winner: Javier Baez, Cubs (first)

Baez had the potential to invite the same positional vote split as Martinez because he made 75 starts at second and 52 at short (with another 18 at third). Wherever he played, he was one of the most productive players in the league, with an RBI total (111) that trailed only that of Martinez and the A's Khris Davis. Additionally, his .290 average, .326 on-base percentage, .554 slugging percentage, 34 homers, 40 doubles, nine triples and 21 steals were all career bests.

Video: Lindor gets his second career Silver Slugger Award

SHORTSTOP
AL winner: Francisco Lindor, Indians (second)

Lindor continued to assert himself in a field of electric AL shortstops with his second Silver Slugger Award in as many seasons. He tied for the Major League lead in runs (129) and became the first shortstop in MLB history with at least 35 homers (he hit 38), 40 doubles (he hit 42) and 20 stolen bases (he swiped 25) in a single season.

Video: Story earns first career Silver Slugger Award

NL winner: Trevor Story, Rockies (first)

Story made shortstop history of his own. With 37 homers, 42 doubles and 27 steals (all career bests), he became the first shortstop with a 40-double, 30-homer, 25-steal season. He drove in 108 runs, and his .914 OPS was the best of any qualified shortstop in the bigs.

Video: Ramirez wins second career Silver Slugger award

THIRD BASE
AL winner: Jose Ramirez, Indians (second)

Ramirez leads all MLB players in extra-base hits over the last two seasons (172) and, appropriately, has been named a Silver Slugger winner both years. He finished fourth among all AL players in slugging (.552), OPS (.939), RBIs (105), runs (110), total bases (319) and homers (39). He and Lindor are the first Indians teammates to win back-to-back Silver Sluggers since Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez in 1999-2000.

Video: Arenado wins fourth career Silver Slugger Award

NL winner: Nolan Arenado, Rockies (fourth)

If Arenado were only busy collecting his six straight Gold Gloves, he'd be an impactful player. But he's mixed in four straight Silver Slugger seasons, too. For the third time in the last four years, he led the NL in homers (38), and his .935 OPS and 111 RBIs were the best among NL third basemen.

OUTFIELD
AL winners: Mookie Betts, Red Sox (second); Mike Trout, Angels (sixth); J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (second, third)

Aaron Judge's second-half wrist injury opened the door for Martinez, who had 219 at-bats as an outfielder vs. 350 as a DH, to command a higher vote tally here. Martinez previously won a Silver Slugger with the Tigers in 2015 (as an outfielder). His overall numbers were what earned him his votes in 2018, but it's worth noting that his numbers as an outfielder (.384/.450/.680 slash) were actually even better than his numbers as a DH (.297/.373/.597).

Video: J.D. Martinez wins second career Silver Slugger award

Martinez is not the first player to receive votes at multiple positions in the same season. In fact, it happened a few times this year. Ramirez got votes at second base and third base in AL, while Baez got votes at second base at shortstop in the NL. They ended up winning at third and second, respectively. Meanwhile, Oakland's Davis got votes in the outfield and at DH in the AL but didn't win at either spot.

Betts and Trout, meanwhile, were no-brainers.

Video: Mike Trout wins his sixth career Silver Slugger Award

Trout, who has now collected a Silver Slugger in six of the seven seasons in which he's qualified for the batting title, led all qualified hitters in the Majors in OPS (1.088), and Betts was second (1.078). Trout's OPS and OPS+ (199) were both the best of his Cooperstown-worthy career.

Video: Mookie Betts sets records on way to Silver Slugger

Betts' .346 average was the best in the Majors by 16 points, and he tied Lindor for the Major League lead in runs (129). Betts, who also won a Silver Slugger in 2016, joined Ramirez in becoming baseball's first 30-homer, 30-steal players since 2012.

NL winners: Christian Yelich, Brewers (second); David Peralta, D-backs (first); Nick Markakis, Braves (first)

Yelich already won the NL Hank Aaron Award and now adds his second Silver Slugger. Yelich led the NL in average (.326), slugging (.598), OPS (1.000) and total bases (343), hit for the cycle against the Reds twice (becoming the first to do so against the same team), and finished two homers and one RBI shy of the first NL Triple Crown in 81 years.

So he was an easy selection, whereas Peralta and Markakis (both first-time winners) had a lot of competition for this honor.

Video: Peralta wins first career Silver Slugger Award

Peralta hit a career-high 30 homers, and his .868 OPS ranked fourth among NL qualifiers in the outfield.

Video: Nick Markakis takes Silver Slugger Award in outfield

Markakis had a power surge in his age-34 season, with his highest slugging (.440) and homer total (14) since 2012 and his highest doubles total (43) since 2010.

Video: J.D. first ever to win 2 Silver Sluggers in 1 season

DESIGNATED HITTER
AL winner: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (second, third)

As noted, Martinez saw the bulk of his playing time here (93 of his 150 games). Overall, he led the Majors in RBIs (130) and total bases (358) while finishing second in homers (43). His .330 average was nearly 40 points higher than his career norm, and his .402 OBP was nearly 50 points higher.

Video: German Marquez wins Silver Slugger Award at pitcher

PITCHER
NL winner: German Marquez, Rockies (first)

Pitchers are obviously graded on a steep curve here. In a year in which pitchers, as a whole, posted an ugly slash line, Marquez hit .300/.300/.350 in 65 plate appearances (his .650 OPS was the highest of any pitcher with at least 35 plate appearances). His homer off a position player (Daniel Descalso) -- a true role reversal if ever there was one -- likely stuck in the minds of voters.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Who will be dealt? Each team's top trade chip

MLB.com @feinsand

Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball's Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB's general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.

Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year's free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we'll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.

Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball's Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB's general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.

Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year's free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we'll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season

Here's a look at one trade candidate from every team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner
With an $8 million salary in 2019 and a $10 million option for '20, Cashner is a reasonably priced starter who could provide some back-end value for many teams. The Orioles are firmly in rebuilding mode, and they would probably love to shed some of their higher-priced players.

Boston Red Sox: Christian Vazquez
Vazquez signed a team-friendly three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Red Sox that kicks in next season, but his disappointing year at the plate could prompt Boston to try moving him. Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart still remain, though the Sox could try bringing in a better bat behind the plate, as well.

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar
Sonny Gray was too obvious for this one, as GM Brian Cashman said after the season that he was going to look to trade the disappointing right-hander. Andujar posted a terrific rookie season, but his value may never be higher, questions remain about his defense … and the Yankees might make a play for Manny Machado. If they do, Andujar could be flipped for a controllable pitcher.

Video: NYY@BOS: Andujar's 47th double ties AL rookie record

Tampa Bay Rays: C.J. Cron
Jake Bauers played more innings at first than Cron last season, while No. 2 prospect Brendan McKay is the first baseman of the future. Cron's 30-homer, .816-OPS season in 2018 should make him a valuable asset, and he'll be due a raise from his $2.3 million salary in his second year of arbitration.

Toronto Blue Jays: Brandon Drury
The Blue Jays have an abundance of infielders, and with baseball's top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., zooming toward the Majors, it's only a matter of time before third base becomes his territory. Drury is a versatile, valuable player with three years of arbitration eligibility remaining, so he could bring back a nice return.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu
Abreu has been a popular name on the trade-rumor mill for more than a year, and although the White Sox are close to finishing their rebuild, Abreu is arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason and can become a free agent after next season.

Cleveland Indians: Carlos Carrasco
Corey Kluber could have been the choice here given their ages -- Kluber is entering his age-33 season, while Carrasco will be playing at 32 -- and contract situations (Kluber is owed $13 million in 2019 and has club options for '20 and '21 worth $13.5 million and $14 million, respectively; Carrasco will earn $9 million next year and has a $9.5 million club option for '20). Kluber's track record is stronger, so although he may fetch a better return, the Indians would probably prefer to hang on to their ace and deal Carrasco.

Detroit Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
The Tigers are in a full-on rebuild, and while they won't be able to move the sizeable contracts of Miguel Cabrera or Jordan Zimmermann, Castellanos is a huge chip for GM Al Avila. Fresh off a 23-homer, .854-OPS season, Castellanos has two years of club control left and should bring back some value.

Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy
The Royals contemplated trading Duffy last summer, but the left-hander had a rough outing the week before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, then got knocked around twice in August before landing on the DL with a left shoulder injury. Trading him might be difficult because of the late-season injury and his salary (he has three years and $46 million left on his contract), but if the chance to deal him for value presents itself, the Royals could make a move.

Minnesota Twins: Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi will get a raise from his $6.3 million salary in his final year of arbitration, and while he had a decent season for the Twins in 2018, Minnesota could flip him a year before he becomes a free agent.

AL WEST

Houston Astros: Hector Rondon
With Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, Collin McHugh and Josh James all returning, Rondon and his $4.5 million salary might prove to be an expendable piece for the Astros.

Los Angeles Angels: Kole Calhoun
Three of the Angels' top six prospects are outfielders, and given that Mike Trout and Justin Upton aren't going anywhere, Calhoun could be on the move if the Halos can get a pitcher in return. He's due $10.5 million in 2019 with a $14 million club option for '20.

Oakland Athletics: Mike Fiers
Fiers earned $6 million last season and has one more year of club control, but given the raises coming to Khris Davis and Oakland's 11 other arbitration-eligible players, Fiers -- who had his best season in three years -- could be moved to free up some payroll.

Seattle Mariners: James Paxton
Mike Zunino is already gone from Seattle, traded to Tampa Bay in a five-player deal that landed center fielder Mallex Smith with the Mariners. GM Jerry Dipoto is trying to reshape the roster this offseason, and with Mitch Haniger, Edwin Diaz and Marco Gonzales reportedly not on the block, no player would bring back a bigger return than Paxton, the hard-throwing lefty who, despite a lengthy injury history, is considered by many to be one of the top southpaws in the league.

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
Shin-Soo Choo had a terrific year, but with $42 million due to him over the next two years, his contract will be tough to move. Gallo isn't arbitration-eligible until 2020, and with four years of club control and a powerful bat, he would be valued by many teams and might be moved for a starting pitcher. Texas has Ronald Guzman ready to take over full-time at first base should Gallo be moved.

Video: TEX@LAA: Gallo crushes 40th homer of season to center

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves: Johan Camargo
Austin Riley, the Braves' No. 5 prospect (and No. 43 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100), posted an .882 OPS at three Minor League levels last year, moving closer to the Majors. Camargo had a very solid season in 2018 (.806 OPS, 19 homers), but Riley remains the future at the hot corner. Atlanta might be able to move Camargo for an arm.

Miami Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
A year after trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Gordon, the Marlins could decide to move their All-Star catcher for a haul of prospects -- and there would be no shortage of teams lining up to make a deal.

• Marlins' three main options for Realmuto

Video: Bowman: Braves could pursue Realmuto trade

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler
Many believed Wheeler would be traded last summer, but the Mets held on to him. He delivered a strong season (3.31 ERA in 182 1/3 innings) that boosted his value, and with one year remaining until Wheeler becomes a free agent, new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen could bring back a nice return for the right-hander if he decides to move him.

Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco
Franco had a bounce-back season in 2018, his .780 OPS representing a 90-point boost from the previous year. But his streaky nature -- Franco struggled badly for most of May and August -- and inconsistent defense might prompt the Phillies to try moving him elsewhere.

Washington Nationals: Michael A. Taylor
With Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton in the outfield -- not to mention the potential return of Bryce Harper -- Taylor would appear to be the odd man out. He should draw interest from several teams and bring something of value back to the Nationals.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ
The 24-year-old infielder/outfielder was unable to build on his impressive rookie campaign as virtually every one of his offensive statistics regressed from 2017. Happ's versatility, talent and age make him an ideal target for any team -- small- or large-market -- and given the Cubs' glut of young position players, dealing from that strength to acquire pitching would make sense.

Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton
Hamilton has been on the trade block before and will likely be there again this offseason. The Reds need pitching, which could lead to them moving Hamilton or fellow outfielder Scott Schebler.

Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Ray
Brewers GM David Stearns isn't big on trading his top prospects, but with Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun locked into the outfield, Milwaukee could dangle its No. 2 prospect in an effort to acquire some pitching. Ray hit 27 home runs, stole 37 bases and posted an .801 OPS at Double-A last season.

Video: Ray, Brown named Brewers' Minor League POY

Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Cervelli
The Pirates posted a winning record in 2018 despite trading away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, so the idea of dealing their starting catcher isn't unrealistic. Cervelli's $11.5 million salary is the highest on the team, and he's slated to become a free agent after next season. Elias Diaz could take over behind the plate.

St. Louis Cardinals: Jose Martinez
Martinez's bat has never been a question, evidenced by his career .309 average and .850 OPS. His defense, however, has proven to be less than ideal, making him a prime candidate to be traded to an AL club where he could become a full-time DH.

NL WEST

Arizona D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has one year of club control remaining before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. If the D-backs decide they won't be able to re-sign him to a new deal, they could opt to move the franchise first baseman rather than letting him walk for Draft picks. This might not be a likely scenario given Arizona's desire to contend, but it can't be completely ruled out, either.

Video: D-backs pick up Goldschmidt's 2019 option

Colorado Rockies: Raimel Tapia
Tapia didn't find much of a role with the Rockies in 2018, playing in only 25 games during stints in July and September. He posted an .847 OPS with 11 homers and 21 stolen bases in 105 games at Triple-A, so a team in need of speed might have interest in Tapia, who is out of Minor League options.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Kemp had a solid regular season, hitting 21 home runs with an .818 OPS in 146 games, but he disappeared in the postseason, hitting one home run with three RBIs with a .548 OPS in 13 games. Kemp is owed $21.5 million in the final year of his eight-year contract, and the Dodgers would surely love to save at least part of that salary.

San Diego Padres: Craig Stammen
Stammen has performed well during his two years with San Diego, posting a 2.73 ERA in 2018 with 10 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. A contender would likely give the Padres something of value for Stammen, who is due $2.25 million and will be a free agent after 2019, his age-35 season.

San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik
Panik had a very disappointing 2018, but with two years of club control remaining, a change of scenery could be just the thing to spark his game. The Giants don't have an internal candidate to replace Panik at second base, though the position is as deep as any in this year's market, so finding a new second baseman shouldn't be very difficult.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Kaminsky earns 3rd AFL win in scoreless outing

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Monday:

• Gameday: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 5 | Mesa 2, Glendale 4 | Salt River 4, Peoria 5

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Monday:

• Gameday: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 5 | Mesa 2, Glendale 4 | Salt River 4, Peoria 5

 

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting .351 after going 1-for-3 with a two-run single. Cavan Biggio (No. 9) went 0-for-3, but made a nice diving catch in right field. Jackson McClelland had a rough afternoon as he gave up three runs (two earned) and issued a pair of walks in one inning.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: The youngest player in the @MLBazFallLeague, ladies and gentlemen.Follow live: https://t.co/QJw9o8rlW3 https://t.co/qUxuUfM8zw

Orioles (Glendale)
Chris Lee notched five strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Lee, who has a 3.05 ERA in the AFL, walked one and gave up two runs on four hits. Steve Wilkerson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, while Ryan McKenna (Orioles' No. 12 prospect) went 0-for-2 with a walk. Tanner Chleborad cruised through 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and surrendering just one hit.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored out of the leadoff spot.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 6 prospect Bobby Dalbec and Josh Ockimey (No. 10) went a combined 1-for-7 while hitting fourth and fifth in Mesa's lineup.

Yankees (Glendale)
Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial and Thairo Estrada (No. 16) each collected a hit for the Desert Dogs. Florial went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and Estrada finished 1-for-5. On the mound, Matt Wivinis threw one-third of an inning and picked up the save.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Rob Kaminsky improved to 3-0 and lowered his AFL ERA to 1.86 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Connor Marabell boosted his average to .303 as he went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, while Li-Jen Chu drove Marabell home with an RBI double in in the fourth. Chu finished 1-for-4.

Royals (Surprise)
Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Meibrys Viloria and Nick Heath each went 1-for-4, with Viloria picking up an RBI in the process. Scott Blewett (No. 26) gave up two runs and struck out six over five innings of four-hit ball. Grant Gavin issued a pair of walks and gave up a hit but escaped the game with a scoreless inning.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daz Cameron (Tigers No. 8 prospect) went 0-for-4. Sandy Baez (No. 26) only faced two batters, but struck out one and retired both. John Schreiber also fanned one and threw a clean inning.

Twins (Salt River)
Jaylin Davis went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. It was a challenging day for Twins relievers, starting with Devin Smeltzer, who allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk in one-third of an inning. Hector Lujan gave up two unearned runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, taking the loss.

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert saw his average dip to .338 after going 0-for-4. Zach Thompson walked one and gave up a hit but kept the opponents off the board in 1 2/3 innings on the mound.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Skye Bolt, the Athletics' No. 30 prospect, went 1-for-3 with a single. Calvin Coker retired both batters he faced, while Sam Sheehan didn't fare quite as well. Sheehan spun an inning but was charged with two runs on two hits.

Angels (Mesa)
Angels No. 4 prospect Jahmai Jones hit his sixth Fall League double as part of a 2-for-5 effort. David MacKinnon also picked up a hit and finished 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Ronnie Dawson hit his first homer of the Fall League, a solo shot that highlighted his 1-for-4 afternoon.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. It was his sixth double of the Fall League season. Joe DeCarlo started at catcher and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Wyatt Mills (No. 9) pitched two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief, giving up two hits. David McKay notched the win in relief, allowing one unearned run on one hit in one inning with one strikeout.

Rangers (Surprise)
Joe Barlow struck out one, but gave up hits, including a walk-off double, to the other two batters he faced. Joe Kuzia also pitched in relief and spun a scoreless inning.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)<
Braves No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache went 1-for-5 with a single, a run scored and four strikeouts. Ray-Patrick Didder went 0-for-4. Thomas Burrows (No. 19) pitched one inning of relief, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 17 prospect Jordan Yamamoto continued his impressive Fall League campaign with five scoreless innings. Yamamoto allowed one hit and one walk while striking out six. The right-hander lowered his AFL ERA to 2.08. Bryson Brigman (No. 27) went 1-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored. Brian Miller (No. 12) went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Chad Smith pitched a hitless inning of relief, walking one and striking out two. More >>

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Darick Hall entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth and came up clutch with an RBI single. Phillies No. 11 prospect Arquimedes Gamboa went 1-for-3. Luke Williams went 0-for-3. Seth McGarry gave up two runs on two hits in two innings out of the bullpen before handing off to Luke Leftwich, who yielded one hit, but threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom had a nice day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with four singles, an RBI and a run scored. Tres Barrera (No. 15) went 1-for-5 with an RBI double. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Tweet from @JakeDRill: #Nationals Tres Barrera gives Salt River a 2-0 lead with an RBI double in the fourth. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/iaRM8e7TOT

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez was just 1-for-5 at the plate, but that lone hit was a big one, as he came through with a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth. Peter Alonso (No. 2) also picked up an RBI and finished 1-for-4. Desmond Lindsay (No. 11) drew a pair of walks, but was otherwise 0-for-2. 

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: The #Mets' No. 1 prospect (#MLB No. 55) has struggled in the @MLBazFallLeague (.133 AVG), but he comes through in the clutch here. Gameday: https://t.co/B9BLeBr4It https://t.co/xm7m1pP2L7

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Weston Wilson went 2-for-5 with a run scored, including a 10th-inning single that led to the winning run scoring on an error on the same play. Trent Grisham (Brewers No. 19) went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple, a walk and a run scored. Grisham's three-bagger tied the game in the ninth. Daniel Brown tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Andy Young is hitting .328 after his 2-for-3 afternoon, which included an RBI double.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner tripled, his fourth of the AFL, and finished 1-for-4. DJ Wilson (No. 16) went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, while P.J. Higgins picked up an RBI and went 1-for-3. Justin Steele (No. 8) gave up five hits over four innings, but limited the damage to just two runs (one earned). Steele walked two, struck out three and has a 5.79 ERA in the AFL. Manuel Rondon threw a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.

Pirates (Surprise)
Cole Tucker, the Pirates' No. 5 prospect, went 0-for-4, but is still hitting .351. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) finished 1-for-4. Will Craig (No. 16) went 1-for-3, while also drawing a walk and scoring a run.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell boosted his AFL average to .280 as he collected a pair of hits and finished 2-for-4. Shed Long (No. 8) entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and struck out in his lone at-bat. Ty Boyles picked up the win for the Scorpions after throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
It was a fairly quiet day at the plate for D-backs prospects as Pavin Smith (Arizona's No. 4 prospect), Daulton Varsho (No. 5) and Drew Ellis (No. 9) combined to go 2-for-13. Smith and Ellis each had a single, while Ellis also drew a walk.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 20 prospect Errol Robinson went 1-for-4. Jared Walker hasn't hit particularly well in Arizona, but came through with a double and two RBIs for the Desert Dogs. Jordan Sheffield (No. 26) issued two walks but didn't give up a run in his two-thirds of an inning. More >>

Giants (Scottsdale)
Giants No. 28 prospect CJ Hinojosa went 0-for-3 and is hitting just .150 in the Fall League. Matt Winn also had a tough day at the plate and finished 0-for-2. Garrett Williams (No. 20) struggled with his command -- issuing four walks -- but did rack up six strikeouts in four innings. The lefty, who has a 1.88 ERA in the AFL, gave up two runs on four hits.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 23 prospect Hudson Potts went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles. Buddy Reed (No. 13) went 0-for-4 with a walk. Miguel Diaz got the start for the Javelinas and pitched three scoreless innings with one hit allowed, one walk and three strikeouts. Travis Radke was the first reliever out of Peoria's bullpen, and he allowed two earned runs on four hits in three innings, striking out one.

Rockies (Salt River) 
Jesus Tinoco (Rockies No. 20 prospect) continued his strong Fall League season, lowering his ERA to 1.72 with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Tinoco walked one and struck out two. Justin Lawrence (No. 17) also pitched in relief, giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk with three strikeouts.