Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cy Cy

While I’m not real big on celebrating individual awards, congratulations to C.C. Sabathia for winning the 2007 AL Cy Young Award. The first Indian to win the award in 35 years, Sabathia garnered more votes than his ALCS foil, Josh Beckett – honestly, helped immensely by the fact that the voting is done prior to the playoffs.

In the final tally, Sabathia received 19 1st place votes, compared to Beckett’s 8 (Fausto received 1 on his way to finishing 4th, debunking the myth of teammates “splitting the vote”) and tallied a total of 119 points to best the 86 that Beckett garnered.

Beckett and the aCCe compiled eerily comparable stats for 2007:
19-7, 3.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 7.80 K/9, 0.15 BB/9, .684 OPS against

20-7, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.70 K/9, 0.20 BB/9, .663 OPS against
The main difference (that may or may not have swayed the fickle, and sometimes ill-informed, BBWA voters) is the fact that that Sabathia put up his statistics while pitching 40 1/3 more innings (240 for C.C. against 200 2/3 IP for Beckett), making the Crooked Cap’s accomplishments all the more impressive.

Outside of the accolades, one of the more important results of winning the award is that the Hefty Lefty will earn somewhere between $2M and $3M more in his 2008 contract. Obviously that talk of money and contracts brings up the inevitable C.C. extension talk from Clevelanders not content with living in the moment and always dreading the worst. While many in the fatalistic Cleveland media will tell you that this will put C.C. out of the Indians’ price range, I can’t see how this announcement makes TOO much of a difference.

While it is awfully nice to have “Cy Young Winner” on one’s resume, I’m pretty sure that the Indians and Sabathia’s agents were equally aware of C.C.’s track record, accomplishments, and potential – which will dictate where Sabathia’s contract negotiations start, regardless of a piece of hardware. It’s not as if the news today forced the Front Office on Ontario to suddenly realize that C.C. is an elite pitcher. This simply validates it, while not changing the fact that the Indians remain well-poised to sign C.C. to an extension.

With all of the downplaying out of the way, it is an incredible individual honor for Sabathia and, really, for the Indians – who haven’t had a major award winner since Sandy Alomar won the Rookie of the Year in 1990. From a historical perspective, considering the lack of BBWA awards that the Indians have received, this news is downright momentous.
Consider the Tribe winners (or lack thereof) of the main BBWA awards:
George Burns – 1926
Lou Boudreau – 1948
Al Rosen – 1953

Cy Young
Gaylord Perry – 1972
C.C. Sabathia – 2007

Rookie of the Year
Herb Score – 1955
Chris Chambliss – 1971
Joe Charboneau – 1980
Sandy Alomar - 1990

Granted, Albert Belle’s surliness prevented an MVP award coming his way in 1995 (“awarded” to Mo Vaughn instead) and the Cy Young Award started in 1956 (as the likes of Feller and Lemon wound down their careers)…but that’s a lot of years with not a lot of winners on the North Coast.

And, with that, a big congrats to the Big Fella…now let’s see if we can get him to sign a certain piece of paper to bring more hardware to the Tepee in the coming years.

If today’s announcement is good news…THAT would be great news!


KonstrucktaTribe said...

Yeah C.C!! Well deserved well deserved. Imagine what that might do to one's confidence?

t-bone said...

PrintPrint © 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
Wedge named AL's top manager
11/14/2007 2:00 PM ET
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- The American League Manager of the Year Award, in principle alone, is not an honor that suits Eric Wedge.

After all, Wedge is the guy who refuses to even walk into fair territory after an Indians victory to celebrate with his players. He prefers to stand off to the side, applauding his team's work.

That's probably the best summation of Wedge's managerial style. To him, baseball is about the players, and it's the manager's job to stay out of the way when things are going well and get out in front when they're going wrong.

But little went wrong for the Tribe in 2007, which is why Wedge -- his reluctance toward adulation aside -- is now the recipient of the game's highest managerial honor.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America named the 39-year-old Wedge his league's top skipper after he guided the Tribe to a 96-66 regular-season record and its first AL Central title in six years.

Wedge's Indians beat the defending AL champion Tigers by eight games, despite having an Opening Day payroll ($61.7 million) that drastically paled in comparison to that of Detroit ($95.2 million).

Though the Tribe's eventual advantage over the Tigers was sizable, it was not always an easy road to October. Wedge had to work with a team whose April roster greatly differed from its September makeup.

Injuries and/or ineffectiveness from two spots in the starting rotation and several spots in the starting lineup and bullpen dictated an overhaul in which contributions from rookies and previously unproven players such as Fausto Carmona, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rafael Perez, Franklin Gutierrez and Jensen Lewis became a key.

But Wedge's ability to mold young players was a major factor in his landing the job of managing the Tribe before the '03 season.

Wedge, formerly an injury-riddled catcher in the Red Sox's and Rockies' systems, had worked his way up the Minor League managerial ranks and been a two-time International League Manager of the Year at Triple-A Buffalo.

"He knew our standards, our expectations and what we wanted a Cleveland Indian player to be," general manager Mark Shapiro said recently. "He was an outstanding teacher. I knew when I hired Eric, nobody would care more than Eric, nobody would work harder than him, nobody would be more vested than him and, because of all that, nobody would be a better partner for me."

That partnership, though, was viewed as being a bit shaky after the 2006 season. The Indians had won 93 games in '05 but fallen short of the playoffs. And with expectations higher than ever in '06, the Indians fell flat with a 78-84 fourth-place finish.

The '07 season was the last guaranteed year on Wedge's contract. The Indians had a two-year option on him that Shapiro opted not to exercise before the season began, leading to speculation that Wedge might be on the hot seat.

But when the Indians overcame some unique obstacles -- in the form of a snowed-out series against the Mariners and home games moved to Milwaukee -- and grabbed a 52-36 record in the first half, Shapiro opted to extend Wedge for another three seasons, through 2010.

It was a show of faith that was immediately rewarded in the second half.

When the Indians were a game back of the Tigers after a loss on Aug. 14, Wedge called out his players and questioned their toughness and leadership.

"It's easy to be tough when you're winning," Wedge said at that time. "Now is the time when we have to toughen up. Enough's enough. Now, we're going to see how tough we are."

The Indians responded by going 31-12 the rest of the way.

And in October, with the Indians holding a 2-1 advantage in the AL Division Series against the Yankees, Wedge made the controversial -- and correct -- decision to stick with starter Paul Byrd in Game 4, rather than pitching ace C.C. Sabathia on short rest.

Though the Tribe was unable to capitalize on a 3-1 lead in the AL Championship Series against the Red Sox and advance to the World Series for the first time in a decade, Wedge earned quite a measure of respect around the league this season.

"Eric Wedge is a fine young manager," Joe Torre said after his Yankees were ousted from the playoffs by the Indians. "He's a special kid."

Wedge, however, never took credit for the Indians' achievements in '07.

"These are the guys that are doing it," he said of his players. "Every now and again, a manager has to give some direction, but ultimately, it's about these guys."

But for one day, at least, it's all about Wedge.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Ben said...

that 1995 Mo Vaughn award STILL makes my blood boil