New York Yankees

New York Yankees

Jay Bruce's Thin Free Agency Market Proves Baseball Is a Young Man's Game

There was a time when a 30-year-old, lefthanded, proven power-hitting corner outfielder like Jay Bruce (277 HRs, 838 RBI) was the star of free agency. That would be 1976, when Reggie Jackson (281 HRs, 824 RBI) signed with the New York Yankees after owner George Steinbrenner wined and dined him.

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” Jackson said at the splashy introductory press conference to announce his three-year, $5 million deal—the biggest in baseball.

More recently, in walk seasons that resemble the one Bruce just had (.254, 36, 101), 30-year-old Jason Bay (.267, 36, 119) pulled in $66 million over four years in 2009 and 31-year-old Nick Swisher (.272, 24, 93) garnered $56 million over four years in 2012.

Bruce? He may want Dexter Fowler money (five years, $82.5 million), but MLB Trade Rumors estimates he gets $39 million over three years. That’s Shane Victorino money from five years ago.

What the heck happened? How come as revenues continue to soar the money for free agent power hitters in their 30s has cratered? That cold truth hit the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales last year.

This year, in addition to Bruce, who will play next season at age 31, the revised baseball actuarial tables will hit Lorenzo Cain, Todd Frazier, Carlos Gonzalez, Lucas Duda, Carlos Santana, Carlos Gomez and Zack Cozart, all of who will play next season at age 32. Deals of at least four years will be hard to find, if at all.

Here’s why this is a bad time to be a free agent position player advancing into your mid-30s:

1. Home runs are devalued.

Clubs don’t need to pay a premium on the open market for home runs because they are too easy to find. The young generation of hitters has been trained to hit the ball in the air, strikeouts be damned, and, with the help of a livelier ball the past 2 1/2 seasons, they are doing it quite well, thank you.

Look at the growth in home runs this way: we all know home runs are up, but very young hitters (those not yet eligible for free agency) are largely driving the surge. MLB set an all-time record for most home runs in a season this year. Teams broke the previous record, set in 2000, by 7.2%. But in comparing those two top home-run hitting seasons of all time, the number of home runs hit by players 25 and younger went up 55%.

Until this year, there never had been a season with more than six rookies who hit 20 home runs. Ten did it this year, including all six of the Rookie of the Year finalists. Gary Sanchez, Trevor Story, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoksins, Matt Olson, Joey Gallo, Paul DeJong … over the past two years we’ve seen a parade of instant sluggers hit the big leagues, and the intersection of the lively ball and modern hitting techniques assures more are coming. With this ball, teams can project their best prospects can slug at a higher rate in the majors than the minors.

Back to Reggie for a moment. Bruce and Jackson have their similarities at this age—even freakishly so. Bruce has 2,455 total bases, for instance, while Jackson had 2,438 when he hit free agency. Bruce has 1,294 hits; Jackson had 1,292. But you just didn’t find many power hitters in the 1970s like Jackson. When you look at adjusted OPS, which measures a player against his peers and considers ballpark effects, Bruce (110) actually is far short of Jackson (150).

2. Defensive shifts

No type of player has been harmed more by the growth of defensive shifts than lefthanded pull hitters without speed—hitters exactly like Bruce. Using 2012 as a dividing line when shifts began to become mainstream, you can see the effect on Bruce: he hit .261 on ground balls before then, and .223 since; he hit .365 on balls in play to the pull side before, and .306 after. He is losing about a dozen hits per year due to data that shows teams where to defend him.

We don’t have data before 1988 on where players hit the ball—neither did clubs, really, which is why Jackson did not see the kind of shifts Bruce sees every day.

3. It’s a young man’s game

Here is your true bottom line. We’ve seen two major shifts in the past 15 seasons toward skewing the game younger. The first occurred in 2003, when testing for performance-enhancing drugs began, first as survey testing and in the subsequent years as testing with penalties. Before 2003 teams could hand out contracts that paid players well through their late 30s because steroid use extended careers.

The next shift has occurred in the past three seasons, for a variety of reasons. Among them: an increase in velocity on the mound has placed a premium on younger muscles that fire quicker; more roster spots dedicated to relievers has increased the need for players who play multiple positions, which favors younger legs; and advanced training techniques and technologies that allow young hitters to impact the game more quickly. Of course, advanced information available to front offices has underscored that young players are more cost effective and less injury prone.

With the flood of 32-year-old hitters on the free agent market right now, it’s a good time to take a look at the graph below. It shows you how rare it has become for any hitter that age and older to even be an average contributor.

Consider an OPS+ of 100 to be average. What this chart measures is the number of qualified hitters age 32 and older who were at least average. What’s striking is that in 10 years, from 2007 to 2017, the number of reliable such veterans has been cut by more than half, from 32 to 15.

Yes, David Ortiz retired, but the dropoff this year also included the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli, Angel Pagan, Dustin Pedroia and Ben Zobrist, hitters who either could not stay healthy or productive.

Here’s some historical perspective on the demise of the veteran hitter. The 15 age 32+ qualified hitters this year with an OPS of at least 100 were the fewest in a generation—since 1988, when there were four fewer teams.

Someone watching baseball in 1901, with only 16 teams, saw more such good veteran hitters (16) than someone watching in 2017, with 30 teams. So much for the advancements of nutrition and training over the past hundred years to extend careers.

The landscape in recent years for veteran free agent outfielders is riddled with poor contracts. In the just the past five seasons, clubs gave contracts of four or more years to Swisher, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nick Markakis, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Ian Desmond and Josh Reddick.

This year Bruce is one of several hitters who bring a solid track record and good power numbers to the market. But if the market continues the trend from last year, it will be a market that is reluctant to pay for home runs and age.

Jay Bruce's Thin Free Agency Market Proves Baseball Is a Young Man's Game

There was a time when a 30-year-old, lefthanded, proven power-hitting corner outfielder like Jay Bruce (277 HRs, 838 RBI) was the star of free agency. That would be 1976, when Reggie Jackson (281 HRs, 824 RBI) signed with the New York Yankees after owner George Steinbrenner wined and dined him.

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” Jackson said at the splashy introductory press conference to announce his three-year, $5 million deal—the biggest in baseball.

More recently, in walk seasons that resemble the one Bruce just had (.254, 36, 101), 30-year-old Jason Bay (.267, 36, 119) pulled in $66 million over four years in 2009 and 31-year-old Nick Swisher (.272, 24, 93) garnered $56 million over four years in 2012.

Bruce? He may want Dexter Fowler money (five years, $82.5 million), but MLB Trade Rumors estimates he gets $39 million over three years. That’s Shane Victorino money from five years ago.

What the heck happened? How come as revenues continue to soar the money for free agent power hitters in their 30s has cratered? That cold truth hit the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales last year.

This year, in addition to Bruce, who will play next season at age 31, the revised baseball actuarial tables will hit Lorenzo Cain, Todd Frazier, Carlos Gonzalez, Lucas Duda, Carlos Santana, Carlos Gomez and Zack Cozart, all of who will play next season at age 32. Deals of at least four years will be hard to find, if at all.

Here’s why this is a bad time to be a free agent position player advancing into your mid-30s:

1. Home runs are devalued.

Clubs don’t need to pay a premium on the open market for home runs because they are too easy to find. The young generation of hitters has been trained to hit the ball in the air, strikeouts be damned, and, with the help of a livelier ball the past 2 1/2 seasons, they are doing it quite well, thank you.

Look at the growth in home runs this way: we all know home runs are up, but very young hitters (those not yet eligible for free agency) are largely driving the surge. MLB set an all-time record for most home runs in a season this year. Teams broke the previous record, set in 2000, by 7.2%. But in comparing those two top home-run hitting seasons of all time, the number of home runs hit by players 25 and younger went up 55%.

Until this year, there never had been a season with more than six rookies who hit 20 home runs. Ten did it this year, including all six of the Rookie of the Year finalists. Gary Sanchez, Trevor Story, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoksins, Matt Olson, Joey Gallo, Paul DeJong … over the past two years we’ve seen a parade of instant sluggers hit the big leagues, and the intersection of the lively ball and modern hitting techniques assures more are coming. With this ball, teams can project their best prospects can slug at a higher rate in the majors than the minors.

Back to Reggie for a moment. Bruce and Jackson have their similarities at this age—even freakishly so. Bruce has 2,455 total bases, for instance, while Jackson had 2,438 when he hit free agency. Bruce has 1,294 hits; Jackson had 1,292. But you just didn’t find many power hitters in the 1970s like Jackson. When you look at adjusted OPS, which measures a player against his peers and considers ballpark effects, Bruce (110) actually is far short of Jackson (150).

2. Defensive shifts

No type of player has been harmed more by the growth of defensive shifts than lefthanded pull hitters without speed—hitters exactly like Bruce. Using 2012 as a dividing line when shifts began to become mainstream, you can see the effect on Bruce: he hit .261 on ground balls before then, and .223 since; he hit .365 on balls in play to the pull side before, and .306 after. He is losing about a dozen hits per year due to data that shows teams where to defend him.

We don’t have data before 1988 on where players hit the ball—neither did clubs, really, which is why Jackson did not see the kind of shifts Bruce sees every day.

3. It’s a young man’s game

Here is your true bottom line. We’ve seen two major shifts in the past 15 seasons toward skewing the game younger. The first occurred in 2003, when testing for performance-enhancing drugs began, first as survey testing and in the subsequent years as testing with penalties. Before 2003 teams could hand out contracts that paid players well through their late 30s because steroid use extended careers.

The next shift has occurred in the past three seasons, for a variety of reasons. Among them: an increase in velocity on the mound has placed a premium on younger muscles that fire quicker; more roster spots dedicated to relievers has increased the need for players who play multiple positions, which favors younger legs; and advanced training techniques and technologies that allow young hitters to impact the game more quickly. Of course, advanced information available to front offices has underscored that young players are more cost effective and less injury prone.

With the flood of 32-year-old hitters on the free agent market right now, it’s a good time to take a look at the graph below. It shows you how rare it has become for any hitter that age and older to even be an average contributor.

Consider an OPS+ of 100 to be average. What this chart measures is the number of qualified hitters age 32 and older who were at least average. What’s striking is that in 10 years, from 2007 to 2017, the number of reliable such veterans has been cut by more than half, from 32 to 15.

Yes, David Ortiz retired, but the dropoff this year also included the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli, Angel Pagan, Dustin Pedroia and Ben Zobrist, hitters who either could not stay healthy or productive.

Here’s some historical perspective on the demise of the veteran hitter. The 15 age 32+ qualified hitters this year with an OPS of at least 100 were the fewest in a generation—since 1988, when there were four fewer teams.

Someone watching baseball in 1901, with only 16 teams, saw more such good veteran hitters (16) than someone watching in 2017, with 30 teams. So much for the advancements of nutrition and training over the past hundred years to extend careers.

The landscape in recent years for veteran free agent outfielders is riddled with poor contracts. In the just the past five seasons, clubs gave contracts of four or more years to Swisher, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nick Markakis, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Ian Desmond and Josh Reddick.

This year Bruce is one of several hitters who bring a solid track record and good power numbers to the market. But if the market continues the trend from last year, it will be a market that is reluctant to pay for home runs and age.

Jay Bruce's Thin Free Agency Market Proves Baseball Is a Young Man's Game

There was a time when a 30-year-old, lefthanded, proven power-hitting corner outfielder like Jay Bruce (277 HRs, 838 RBI) was the star of free agency. That would be 1976, when Reggie Jackson (281 HRs, 824 RBI) signed with the New York Yankees after owner George Steinbrenner wined and dined him.

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” Jackson said at the splashy introductory press conference to announce his three-year, $5 million deal—the biggest in baseball.

More recently, in walk seasons that resemble the one Bruce just had (.254, 36, 101), 30-year-old Jason Bay (.267, 36, 119) pulled in $66 million over four years in 2009 and 31-year-old Nick Swisher (.272, 24, 93) garnered $56 million over four years in 2012.

Bruce? He may want Dexter Fowler money (five years, $82.5 million), but MLB Trade Rumors estimates he gets $39 million over three years. That’s Shane Victorino money from five years ago.

What the heck happened? How come as revenues continue to soar the money for free agent power hitters in their 30s has cratered? That cold truth hit the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales last year.

This year, in addition to Bruce, who will play next season at age 31, the revised baseball actuarial tables will hit Lorenzo Cain, Todd Frazier, Carlos Gonzalez, Lucas Duda, Carlos Santana, Carlos Gomez and Zack Cozart, all of who will play next season at age 32. Deals of at least four years will be hard to find, if at all.

Here’s why this is a bad time to be a free agent position player advancing into your mid-30s:

1. Home runs are devalued.

Clubs don’t need to pay a premium on the open market for home runs because they are too easy to find. The young generation of hitters has been trained to hit the ball in the air, strikeouts be damned, and, with the help of a livelier ball the past 2 1/2 seasons, they are doing it quite well, thank you.

Look at the growth in home runs this way: we all know home runs are up, but very young hitters (those not yet eligible for free agency) are largely driving the surge. MLB set an all-time record for most home runs in a season this year. Teams broke the previous record, set in 2000, by 7.2%. But in comparing those two top home-run hitting seasons of all time, the number of home runs hit by players 25 and younger went up 55%.

Until this year, there never had been a season with more than six rookies who hit 20 home runs. Ten did it this year, including all six of the Rookie of the Year finalists. Gary Sanchez, Trevor Story, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoksins, Matt Olson, Joey Gallo, Paul DeJong … over the past two years we’ve seen a parade of instant sluggers hit the big leagues, and the intersection of the lively ball and modern hitting techniques assures more are coming. With this ball, teams can project their best prospects can slug at a higher rate in the majors than the minors.

Back to Reggie for a moment. Bruce and Jackson have their similarities at this age—even freakishly so. Bruce has 2,455 total bases, for instance, while Jackson had 2,438 when he hit free agency. Bruce has 1,294 hits; Jackson had 1,292. But you just didn’t find many power hitters in the 1970s like Jackson. When you look at adjusted OPS, which measures a player against his peers and considers ballpark effects, Bruce (110) actually is far short of Jackson (150).

2. Defensive shifts

No type of player has been harmed more by the growth of defensive shifts than lefthanded pull hitters without speed—hitters exactly like Bruce. Using 2012 as a dividing line when shifts began to become mainstream, you can see the effect on Bruce: he hit .261 on ground balls before then, and .223 since; he hit .365 on balls in play to the pull side before, and .306 after. He is losing about a dozen hits per year due to data that shows teams where to defend him.

We don’t have data before 1988 on where players hit the ball—neither did clubs, really, which is why Jackson did not see the kind of shifts Bruce sees every day.

3. It’s a young man’s game

Here is your true bottom line. We’ve seen two major shifts in the past 15 seasons toward skewing the game younger. The first occurred in 2003, when testing for performance-enhancing drugs began, first as survey testing and in the subsequent years as testing with penalties. Before 2003 teams could hand out contracts that paid players well through their late 30s because steroid use extended careers.

The next shift has occurred in the past three seasons, for a variety of reasons. Among them: an increase in velocity on the mound has placed a premium on younger muscles that fire quicker; more roster spots dedicated to relievers has increased the need for players who play multiple positions, which favors younger legs; and advanced training techniques and technologies that allow young hitters to impact the game more quickly. Of course, advanced information available to front offices has underscored that young players are more cost effective and less injury prone.

With the flood of 32-year-old hitters on the free agent market right now, it’s a good time to take a look at the graph below. It shows you how rare it has become for any hitter that age and older to even be an average contributor.

Consider an OPS+ of 100 to be average. What this chart measures is the number of qualified hitters age 32 and older who were at least average. What’s striking is that in 10 years, from 2007 to 2017, the number of reliable such veterans has been cut by more than half, from 32 to 15.

Yes, David Ortiz retired, but the dropoff this year also included the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli, Angel Pagan, Dustin Pedroia and Ben Zobrist, hitters who either could not stay healthy or productive.

Here’s some historical perspective on the demise of the veteran hitter. The 15 age 32+ qualified hitters this year with an OPS of at least 100 were the fewest in a generation—since 1988, when there were four fewer teams.

Someone watching baseball in 1901, with only 16 teams, saw more such good veteran hitters (16) than someone watching in 2017, with 30 teams. So much for the advancements of nutrition and training over the past hundred years to extend careers.

The landscape in recent years for veteran free agent outfielders is riddled with poor contracts. In the just the past five seasons, clubs gave contracts of four or more years to Swisher, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nick Markakis, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Ian Desmond and Josh Reddick.

This year Bruce is one of several hitters who bring a solid track record and good power numbers to the market. But if the market continues the trend from last year, it will be a market that is reluctant to pay for home runs and age.

Steinbrenner: Not even title would have saved Girardi's job

Hal Steinbrenner, principal owner, managing general partner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees, talks with reporters at the annual MLB baseball general managers' meetings, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Steinbrenner: Not even title would have saved Girardi's job

Former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi talks with reporters at the annual MLB general managers' meetings, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Steinbrenner: Not even title would have saved Girardi's job

Thad Levine, left, general manager for the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, right, talk at the annual MLB baseball general managers' meetings, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Steinbrenner: Not even title would have saved Girardi's job

Hal Steinbrenner, second from left, principal owner, managing general partner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees, talks with reporters at the annual MLB baseball general managers' meetings, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

FILE PHOTO: MLB: ALDS-New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians

FILE PHOTO: Oct 11, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) delivers a pitch during the first inning of game five of the 2017 ALDS playoff baseball series against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Scherzer, Kluber win Cy Young Awards by wide margins

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber walks to the dugout in the fourth inning of Game 5 against the New York Yankees in a baseball American League Division Series, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Cleveland. Kluber pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up three hits and three runs. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

Yankees Owner Hal Steinbrenner: Joe Girardi Was Out Even if Yankees Won World Series

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday he agrees with general manager Brian Cashman's decision to fire manager Joe Girardi last month and that the longtime manager would have been fired even if the Yankees won the World Series.

Although Girardi led a young Yankees team to the playoffs and past the No. 1 seed Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, his contract was not renewed three weeks ago after 10 seasons with the team.

Steinbrenner spoke to reporters for the first time since the firing and said the decision was a long time coming.

"This was not a decision we took lightly, and not a decision that had to do with 2-3 weeks. It had to do with 2-3 years, and observing things and hearing things,'' Steinbrenner told reporters at the MLB general managers meetings, according to ESPN. "We felt it was time to move in a different direction."

"As I told Cash, I wasn't following his recommendation: I agreed with it. He and I have had these discussions for a considerable length of time, over and over again. This isn't something we just decided we wanted to sit down and do at the end of the season. We've had a lot of discussions through the years.''

Cashman cited Girardi's issues with connectivity and communication with players as reason for the change. Steinbrenner agreed with the sentiment and indicated that even if the Yankees won the World Series, Girardi's failures may have still led to a change.

The Yankees Make A Cold, Calculating Decision By Refusing To Retain Joe Girardi

"I'm sure there would have been more pressure,'' Steinbrenner said. "It would have been maybe a more difficult decision to make. But I would have made it because I felt like that was best for the organization moving forward."

In his 10 years as manager, Girardi won one World Series and made the playoffs six times. Girardi finishes his 10 years with the Yankees with a 910–710 record. He has the sixth-most wins in Yankees history. In his 10 years as manager, he posted a .562 winning percentage, which is the best in that time. The Yankees never posted a record below. 500 and finished the 2017 regular season with a 91–71 record.

San Francisco Giants coach Hensley Meulens, Los Angeles Dodgers coach Chris Woodward, former Yankee Aaron Boone, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge and Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson are among the candidates under consideration for the Yankees' manager position.

Steinbrenner told reporters he has no timetable for the search and is "not rushing" Cahsman.

"I think you have to consider that you have a younger team, and maybe a different type of leadership is needed for a younger team than it is for a veteran team,'' Steinbrenner said. "I'm taking that into account and Cash is, too.

"I think if you ask Cash, it's also important for the next manager to have an understanding of analytics, because that's such an important part of the game. If they don't have it, they at least need a willingness to learn.''

FILE PHOTO: Former and current Red Sox players wave to the crowd during a pre-game ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts

FILE PHOTO: (top L - R) Former Boston Red Sox player Jason Varitek, current player David Ortiz, former player Tim Wakefield wave to the crowd along with (bottom L - R) former Red Sox players Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr during the pre-game ceremony as Fenway Park commemorates its 100th year anniversary before the start of American League MLB baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl

MLB Rumors: White Sox Open to Inquiries on Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia

It's that time of year again where major league baseball's free agency will spark a lot of rumors and a lot of deals in teams hopes that a player will bring them one step closer to a championship.

Nine players have received $17.4 million qualifying offers from their teams, and a total of 166 players have filed for free agency.

The majority of deals are expected to take place during the Baseball Winter Meetings on Dec. 10–14 in Orlando, Florida. The league's general manager as set to meet this week.

The Reiter 50: MLB's Best Free Agents | MLB Free Agent Compensation Rules

Here is the latest news and rumors from around the league.

Rumors and News

• White Sox GM Rick Hahn says he has received inquiries about first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia and haven't ruled out the possibility of a trade. (ESPN.com)

• The Minnesota Twins are hoping to strength its pitching depth and are looking at Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. (FanRag Sports)

• The Giants aren't planning on trading ace Madison Bumgarner. (San Francisco Chronicle)

• Trade talks have revolved around Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler as the GM meetings get underway. (MLB.com)

The New York Yankees will interview San Francisco Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens for their vacant managerial job. (FanRag Sports)

• The Orioles are willing to listen to trade scenarios involving closer Zach Britton. The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly have the most interest. (FanRag Sports)

• Free agent first baseman Carlos Santana has been shown interest by the Seattle Mariners, but no substantial talks between them have started. (MLB.com)

• The Giants are inquiring about Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton. (MLB Network)

Marlins have Stanton on the market as GM meetings start

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, right, talks with members of the media at the annual baseball general managers' meetings, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Judge, Bellinger unanimous picks as Rookies of the Year

FILE - These are 2017 file photos showing Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger, left, and New York Yankees' Aaron Judge. Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers are favored to win Rookie of the Year honors when the votes are announced Monday night, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/File)

Judge, Bellinger unanimous picks as Rookies of the Year

FILE - In this July 31, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium in New York. Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers are favored to win Rookie of the Year honors when the votes are announced Monday night, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Judge, Bellinger unanimous picks as Rookies of the Year

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees' Aaron Judge rounds the bases with a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in New York. Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers are favored to win Rookie of the Year honors when the votes are announced Monday night, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros

FILE PHOTO: Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) grounds out in the fourth inning during game seven of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros

FILE PHOTO: Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) grounds out in the fourth inning during game seven of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros

FILE PHOTO: Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) strikes out in the eighth inning during game seven of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros

FILE PHOTO: Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) strikes out in the eighth inning during game seven of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Yankees targeted A's Bob Melvin as potential manager

As the New York Yankees cast their net to find their next manager, they apparently had a legitimate interest in A's skipper Bob Melvin.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted that New York reached out to the A's about interviewing Melvin for their vacancy but that Oakland denied the request. A team must be granted permission to interview any manager or coach who's currently under contract with another team, and Melvin received a contract extension in September that will keep him in the A's dugout through the 2019 season.

Carlos Beltran of the Houston Astros hits a double off Sonny Gray of the New York Yankees during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2017

Carlos Beltran of the Houston Astros hits a double off Sonny Gray of the New York Yankees during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2017 (AFP Photo/AL BELLO)

2017 MLB Rookie of the Year Nominees: Quick Look at AL, NL Candidates

The awards for Rookie of the Year in Major League Baseball will be handed out today by the baseball writers and unlike most years, it is expected to be a landslide in both leagues.

Here is a quick look at the candidates for the award.

National League

Josh Bell, first baseman, Pittsburgh Pirates

Bell led a power surge for the Pirates, hitting 26 long balls, setting a NL record by a switch-hitting rookie, while driving in 90 runs to go with a .255 batting average.

Paul DeJong, shortstop, St. Louis Cardinals

DeJong made the most of his fairly limited time with the Cardinals this season, playing in only 108 games. But he hit 25 homers and led all NL rookie in doubles.

Cody Bellinger, first baseman/outfielder Los Angeles Dodgers

Bellinger should win this award pretty easily on the fact of his 39 homers, helping to power the Dodgers to the World Series. Bellinger capped his year by hitting more home runs than any other player in their age 21 season or younger except for Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews, two Hall of Famers.

American League

Aaron Judge — rightfielder, New York Yankees

Judge took the majors by storming not only because of his majestic homers and pretty solid defense. He set the MLB record with 52 home runs by a rookie, also walked 127 times and was the only major leaguer to strike out 200 or more times.

Trey Mancini — leftfielder/first baseman, Baltimore Orioles

In any other year Mancini would be getting more consideration, as a 293/.338/.488 slash line for anyone would considered a good season. Mancini tried to keep the Orioles afloat but ultimately finished the season in last place in the AL East.

Andrew Benintendi — leftfielder, Boston Red Sox

Benintendi was closing in on Judge for the award, especially when Judge was struggling late in the year. Benintendi hit 20 homers for the AL East champions, but being part of the power deficit Red Sox will cost him here.

Japanese star Otani announces desire to move to MLB

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2016, file photo, Japan's designated hitter Shohei Otani reacts after hitting a solo home run off Netherlands' starter Jair Jurrjens in the fifth inning of their international exhibition series baseball game at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. Texas, the New York Yankees and Minnesota can pay the most to an international free agent as highly touted pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani prepares to enter the market, and Major League Baseball and its Japanese counterpart have agreed to the outlines of a deal to keep the old posting system for this offseason. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

Yankees interview Wedge, former Indians, Mariners manager

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2013, file photo, then-Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge smiles before a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, in Seattle. Former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge has become the second person to interview with the New York Yankees for their dugout opening. He follows Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, who interviewed Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

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