Pirates notebook: McCutchen is MVP finalist; Hurdle finalist for NL top manager
For the third year in a row, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
This time, he is an underdog.
The three finalists — who include Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton — were announced Tuesday. The winner will be revealed at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 on MLB Network.
A year ago, McCutchen got 28 of 30 first-place votes to become the sixth Pirates player to win the award. McCutchen also finished third in 2012.
The frontrunner this year appears to be Kershaw, a 21-game winner who also is a heavy favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award.
Kershaw led the majors in wins, ERA (1.77), winning percentage (.875) and WHIP (0.857). He could become the first pitcher to be named NL MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968.
McCutchen batted .314 and led the majors with a .410 on-base percentage. His .952 OPS was tops in the league.
Hurdle up for top manager
After guiding the injury riddled Pirates back into the postseason, Clint Hurdle again is a finalist for the NL Manager of the Year Award.
The other finalists are Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals and Bruce Bochy of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. The winner will be revealed at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the MLB Network.
Hurdle won the award last year. He could become just the second back-to-back winner, joining Atlanta’s Bobby Cox (2004-05).
Hurdle, 57, limped through the year with a bad hip that eventually required surgery. At various times during the season, the Pirates had standouts such as McCutchen, Russell Martin, Gerrit Cole, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez go down with injuries.
The Pirates went 88-74 and clinched the top NL wild-card berth. They were eliminated, 8-0, by the Giants.
Voting for MLB’s four major awards — MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year — was conducted by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Ballots were due on the final day of the regular season.
The Rookies of the Year will be revealed Monday, and the Cy Young winners will be announced Wednesday.
Martin, Marte miss out
Martin and Starling Marte were runners-up for Gold Glove Awards.
Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals edged Martin to win his seventh consecutive award at catcher.
Martin led the league with 12 defensive runs saved. He had a .994 fielding percentage and threw out 39 percent of attempted base-stealers.
Christian Yelich of the Miami Marlins won the Gold Glove in left field, beating out Marte.
Marte, 26, ranked second behind Yelich among NL left fielders with 10 defensive runs saved. Marte had a .968 fielding percentage and four assists.
Gold Glove winners are determined by a mix of major league manager ballots (75 percent) and statistical data (25 percent).
Martin, Liriano mum on offers
There’s no immediate indication whether Martin and/or left-hander Francisco Liriano will accept their $15.3 million qualifying offers for 2015. Neither player’s agent responded to repeated requests for comment from the Tribune-Review.
The deadline to accept an offer is Monday.
Citing sources, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com said the Chicago Cubs will make a big push to sign Martin as a free agent if he turns down the Pirates’ offer. Heyman said Martin is seeking a five-year contract.
Martin and Liriano are among 12 players who got qualifying offers. Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has rejected his offer.