Trade rumors are already flying in Major League Baseball. Free agency is up and running and star players could be changing uniforms at any minute.Yes, the Houston Astros are still just starting to enjoy their well-deserved winter-long celebration as the sport's newly crowned World Series champions, but you can be
Trade rumors are already flying in Major League Baseball. Free agency is up and running and star players could be changing uniforms at any minute.
Yes, the Houston Astros are still just starting to enjoy their well-deserved winter-long celebration as the sport's newly crowned World Series champions, but you can be sure that their general manager, Jeff Luhnow, is working the phones as you read this, trying to get even better in 2018 and beyond.
• VOTE NOW: Esurance MLB Awards
But even as the front offices look to the future, this unforgettable, action-packed week ahead in MLB is about the recent past.
In addition to the traditional Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) honors such as National League and American Rookies of the Year, Managers of the Year, Cy Young Awards and Most Valuable Players, Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET with the MLB Awards. Categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Manager and Executive.
• Complete awards coverage
Here's what to look for:
BBWAA Rookie of the Year Awards -- Today, 6 p.m. ET, MLB Network
Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers are enormous favorites for these awards, and for good reason: Judge hit an MLB rookie-record 52 home runs while putting together an all-around season that has him as a serious AL MVP contender, and Bellinger, 21, hit a National League rookie-record 39 homers. But there are other deserving candidates, too. Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox and Trey Mancini of the Orioles round out the AL finalists, and Pirates slugger Josh Bell and Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong are the NL finalists.
The award has been given out in each league since 1949, and only three times since have two players swept the balloting in the same year: 1987 (Benito Santiago and Mark McGwire), 1993 (Mike Piazza and Tim Salmon) and 1997 (Scott Rolen and Nomar Garciaparra).
The Dodgers have 17 ROY Award winners overall (including their Brooklyn days), the most recent being Corey Seager last year. That's by far the most of any franchise. Next most is, appropriately, the Yankees, who are tied with the A's at eight. New York's most recent winner is Derek Jeter in 1996.
The competition for rookie hardware likely doesn't end here for Judge and Bellinger, who helped their clubs push the World Series champion Astros to a seventh game in their respective postseason series. A head-to-head duel for the overall top rookie in the Majors is expected when the candidates for Best Rookie in the Esurance MLB Awards are announced.
BBWAA Manager of the Year Awards -- Tuesday, 6 p.m. ET,MLB Network
Houston manager A.J. Hinch is among the AL finalists, and Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts made the final three in the NL. That's not particularly surprising, although the voting for this honor did not include the postseason. Still, contenders Paul Molitor (Twins) and Terry Francona (Indians) should get plenty of support for the AL award while turnaround artists Bud Black (Rockies) and Torey Lovullo (D-backs) make the NL competition an unpredictable one.
BBWAA Cy Young Awards -- Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET,MLB Network
It's all about starters in both Cy Young Award races. In the NL, we'll see if Clayton Kershaw's injury-shortened body of work is enough to win his fourth NL Cy Young Award, while his fellow finalists -- Nationals right-handers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg -- might be in danger of splitting votes. All three AL finalists -- Indians right-hander Corey Kluber, Red Sox lefty Chris Sale and Yankees youngster Luis Severino -- were brilliant, but Kluber's dazzling work down the stretch of the season and final ERA of 2.25 might make him the favorite here for what would be his second Cy.
BBWAA Most Valuable Player Awards --Thursday, 6 p.m. ET,MLB Network
Will it be the big guy or the little guy? The impossible-to-ignore AL MVP vote features the enormous Judge and the diminutive Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve, with the terrific Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, at least height-wise, somewhere in between. Altuve has seemed to be trending toward this award sooner or later in his career, and this could be the day. In the NL, Giancarlo Stanton and his 59-homer season for the Marlins could net him his first MVP honor, but he'll have tough competition from a pair of first basemen who also always seem to be in the mix: Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs and 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto of the Reds.
Esurance MLB Awards --Friday, 8 p.m. ET,MLB Network
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American and National Leagues from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Hall of Famers, team general managers, broadcast-booth legends and you will be among those helping to pick this year's Best Major Leaguer in addition to the winners in the following categories: Best Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive, Personality, Postseason Moment and postseason performer.
One winner in each category will also be recognized for the year's best offensive play, defensive play, single-game performance, Fan Catch, broadcast call and Player-Fan Interaction.
In addition to the aforementioned categories, a panel of MLB experts will identify and recognize the season's Best Moments and Trending Topics.
Voting for the Esurance MLB Awards will remain open until 2 p.m. ET today. Winners also will be announced live on MLB.com.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.