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MLB Trade Rumors and News: Braves lead the pack with three Silver Slugger Awards

The Silver Slugger Awards were handed out on Thursday evening with some new faces and a lot of the usual suspects taking home hardware.

MLB: NLDS-Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

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  • The Silver Slugger Awards came out on Thursday and while there was a certain amount of weirdness (Ketel Marte KIND OF got jobbed out of the second base award because he is too versatile), many of the awards were straightforward as guys like Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr., Alex Bregman, and Cody Bellinger took home awards. The Braves were the big winners on the evening as they had three winners last night to lead the league for the 2019 season.
  • After snapping a three-year playoff drought and reaching the NLCS, the Cardinals rewarded their key leadership figures by handing out contract extensions all around on Tuesday, re-upping with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak through 2023 and general manager Michael Girsch and manager Mike Shildt through 2022.
  • Excited (or nervous) to find out where your favorite free agent is going to end up this offseason? Our Andersen Pickard made his best guess, predicting landing spots and contract values for each of MLB Trade Rumors’ top 50 free agents.
  • Monday was the deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to players if they so chose in order to get draft pick compensation if those players decided to go elsewhere. When the dust settled, ten different players received QOs including a few players that were a bit of a surprise. Everyone knew that guys like Gerrit Cole and Josh Donaldson were going to get offered, but the Giants in particular offered to Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith and it seems very possible that those guys will just say yes, get paid in 2020, and then hit free agency without any restrictions.
  • J.D. Martinez was one of the tougher guys to pin down as to whether or not he was going to exercise his opt-out clause following the 2019 season. He was one of the better hitters in the American League yet again, but free agency did not treat him as well as he would have liked his last go-around. Ultimately, he decided to stay with the Red Sox for the 2020 season with the knowledge that he can opt out after next season if he feels the need.
  • We have now reached the darkest point of the year as we are going to be without baseball for several months. Fear not: we will get through this together. To officially get the hot stove season started, the Royals announced that former Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny got the job as their new manager.
  • After bringing home a World Series title, Stephen Strasburg has opted out of the last four years of his contract with the Nationals. The World Series MVP will instead test his value on the free agent market, which in complete honestly will probably offer him more than the $100M over 4 years he had left with the Nationals. And that’s without mentioning all this deferred payment nonsense.
  • The Yankees and Aroldis Chapman have agreed on a contract extension through 2022. This extra year includes $18M on top of the $30M he was set to earn in the two years remaining on his five-year, $86M deal. Which will come first, the end of the contract or Chapman’s arm falling off from sheer torque? Stay tuned, kiddos.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates have been busy at the start of this offseason., not with signing players or even being connected to other teams in trades. Instead, they have been doing a full teardown of their leadership structure. They had already fired their team president as well as manager Clint Hurdle, but apparently both of those moves were not enough to save GM Neal Huntington’s job as he was let go last week as well.
  • The Boston Red Sox have hired Chaim Bloom as their new head of baseball operations, leaving him with large shoes to fill as he replaces Dave Dombrowski. The 36-year old has a very impressive career already, starting out as a humble Baseball Prospectus columnist to skyrocketing up the leadership chain for the Tampa Bay Rays. A Yale alumni just like fellow young-baseball-exec-phenom Theo Epstein, Bloom is highly regarded by everyone in the baseball world, a feat that should not be brushed aside. Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that a former co-worker of Bloom’s described him as so: “For a guy as smart and accomplished as he is, I think he gives everyone a feeling that he’s approachable and wants to engage.” It’ll be interesting to see what moves he’ll make right off the bat and how the offseason may go for the Red Sox with a new captain steering this ship.
  • The Phillies have decided to move in a VERY different direction than former manager Gabe Kapler as they announced the hiring of Joe Girardi for their managerial vacancy. Girardi is very much an old-school kind of guy, but he has some experience working with a level analytics department from when he was with the Yankees and will hopefully bring some leadership and stability to a team that was a pretty big disappointment in 2019.
  • Tommy John surgery has historically been reserved for major-league pitchers and washed up Division III sidearmers who injure themselves trying to show off in a company softball game. But in recent years we’ve seen an uptick in non-pitching position players go under the knife for UCL injuries. SB Nation’s Ginny Searle looks into this phenomenon and if there’s anything players or athletic trainers can do to stop it.
  • The Mets have hired Carlos Beltrán as their next manager. This isn’t the first time Beltrán has been considered managerial material by a New York team, as he interviewed with the Yankees in 2017 before ultimately being passed over for Aaron Boone. The look is a good one for the Mets. While Mickey Calloway did a lot of things wrong, perhaps the most jarring and damaging was the environment he created in the clubhouse. Beltrán is not only well liked and respected throughout all of Major League Baseball, but has already proven he’ll create a much more welcoming atmosphere than the previous skipper.
  • The Padres also filled their open manager position. After narrowing their search to Braves third base coach Ron Washington and Rangers coach/executive Jayce Tingler, Tingler ultimately won the job and became the youngest manager in the NL in the process.
  • Our friends at Beyond the Box Score put it best right here: We are all Deadspin now. We stand in solidarity with independent and just journalism that cannot be bought or silenced and commend the writers who fought so strongly to uphold those principles.
  • The Cubs’ managerial search ended very quickly as they hired David Ross to be their next manager. The Cubs and Ross had been connected even before the team and Joe Maddon parted ways. Now, the team hopefully has a manager that will bring a bit of tough love to a team that looks like a shell of its former self.
  • As we creep closer to the offseason, teams are beginning to open up spots on their 40-man roster. Don’t get caught going, “Wait, what happened to that guy?”, and follow our MLB outright assignment tracker here.
  • While several teams have been being methodical with their searches for new managers, the Angels and Joe Maddon seemed to be a match from the beginning and had been linked to each other basically since the job became available. Well, things recently became official as Maddon was named the Angels’ manager for the next three seasons.