Lee's turnaround ends with Cy Young
Indians pitcher admits that 2007 demotion made for better story
Cliff Lee added the baseball writers' Cy Young Award to the growing list of honors for one of the most outstanding season-long pitching performances in recent years. The left-hander was 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA for the Indians.
It came after an injury hampered 2007 season in which he faltered and was sent to the Minor Leagues.
"It wasn't any fun [last year]," Lee told MLB.com, "but looking back, it definitely makes for a better story."
Lee's fellow players had already selected him as both the AL Outstanding Pitcher and the AL Comeback Player in the 2008 Players Choice Awards.
"[This year] was the most incredible season I've ever seen from a pitcher at that level," manager Eric Wedge said.
Torres decides to retire: Salomon Torres is pretty sure his second retirement will take.
"I am very confident I am doing the right thing," Torres told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Torres told the Brewers of his decision earlier this week, days ahead of the club's deadline to pick up his option.
Torres became the closer in May for Milwaukee and saved 28 games in 32 chances. He finished with a 7-5 record and 3.49 ERA and led the Brewers in appearances with 71 while throwing 89 innings.
"It was a great season," he said. "I thank everybody in the city -- the fans, my teammates, the reporters -- for all their support. It was a privilege to play there, but you don't want to have me there half-hearted."
Webb joins elite crew with Cy Young finish: Brandon Webb came in second place for the second straight year in Cy Young Award voting after winning the honor in 2006. Tim Lincecum was named the winner this season.
"I would like to congratulate Tim on a tremendous year," Webb told The Arizona Republic in a statement through is agent, Jonathan Maurer. "While I am disappointed I did not win, I am excited, with the help of my teammates, that I was able to win 22 games and be considered for this great honor again."
Webb is one of only four pitchers to finish no worse than second in the Cy Young Award voting for three straight years, joining Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux and Jim Palmer.
Marte signs three-year deal with Yankees: One week after declining to pick up Damaso Marte's option, the New York Yankees and the reliever agreed to a three-year contract with a club option in 2012.
"We wanted to see if we could negotiate a deal that [we] were more comfortable with on a multi-year basis," general manager Brian Cashman told Newsday. "[W]e feel that he's one of the better left-handed relievers in the game, and quality left-handed relief is hard to find."
Upton has surgery, should be ready for Spring Training: B.J. Upton, who had an outstanding postseason for the Tampa Bay Rays, underwent surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum. Executive vice president Andrew Friedman believes Upton won't be sidelined long.
"Obviously, with the fact it was Tuesday, we don't have too much of an update other than to say we expect him to be ready during Spring Training and be in position to be in our Opening Day lineup," Friedman told the Tampa Tribune.
Upton hit .273 with nine home runs and 67 RBIs during the regular season while stealing 44 bases. In 17 postseason games, he hit seven home runs and drove in 16 runners.
Aviles wins top honor for Royals: Mike Aviles was honored Tuesday by Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America when the group named him the Les Milgram Player of the Year. On the year, Aviles batted .325 with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs while playing in just 102 games before being promoted from Triple-A Omaha.
"It really means a lot to me," Aviles told the Kansas City Star. "More than people actually would think it would mean to anyone. Deep down, I always knew I could compete at the big league level, and I just wanted to have an opportunity to prove it."
Moss continues rehab on knee: Brandon Moss, who underwent a diagnostic scope on his left knee one week after the conclusion of the season, is thus far having a successful rehabilitation, and the team expects that he'll be ready to go by the spring.
"Brandon is continuing to work out and go through his rehabilitation program and everything is going well," Pittsburgh general Neal Huntington told MLB.com. "We just did a site visit to where he is rehabilitating and came away with positive feedback about the facility and were very encouraged. Everything seems to be going fine."
McCann claims second Silver Slugger: Brian McCann was awarded the Silver Slugger, given to the best hitter at each position in each. It was the second time in his career that McCann won the award.
"You don't play the game for awards," McCann told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "but it still makes it nice to know you ended the season on a positive note and everybody noticed the numbers that you put up."
"If you had told me that [three years ago], I wouldn't have believed you," McCann said of his success in the Majors. "I put a lot of hard work into getting my swing where I wanted it. Now I'm working on my defense, trying to make myself a better all-around baseball player."
Manny gets high praise from Angels owner: Angels owner Arte Moreno spoke highly of free agent Manny Ramirez during a radio interview, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"He single-handedly took L.A. to the promised land," Moreno said. "He did a heck of a job -- he hit great, he was a fan favorite, he did a great job with their young players. At the end of the day, you want people who can hit, and he may be one of the top right-handed hitters ever."
Lincecum aims to reach new level: Tim Lincecum is trying to figure out how he can top his 2008 performance.
"I don't buy into this stuff about me being super-dominant," Lincecum told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I just want to become better every day, every outing. There wasn't any time during the season when I felt, 'This is it and this [award] is going to happen.'"
Greinke claims achievement award: Zack Greinke, after winning 13 games and posting a 3.47 ERA in 32 starts during the 2008 season, was recognized on Tuesday by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America with a special achievement award.
Greinke says he still believes there is room for improvement.
"There are still several things that I felt I could have done a lot better this year. There were a couple of rough patches," Greinke told the Kansas City Star. "It was a good season overall, but I feel I can do better than that. And I feel I will do better each year just in learning from mistakes."
Holliday not worried about new digs: The A's completed the rumored blockbuster trade, acquiring Matt Holliday from the Rockies in exchange for Greg Smith, Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez. Holliday goes from a great park for home runs in Coors Field to a poor one at McAfee Coliseum. However, the slugger is not worried about his new home park.
"I can't do much about where the ball goes," Holliday told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I can focus on my swing and hitting it on the barrel of the bat. I've got a pretty good base, hitting-wise, and I think it will work about anywhere I play."
Sheets could be back with Brewers: Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said there is still a slight chance Ben Sheets could return in 2009, depending on how negotiations go with free agent pitcher CC Sabathia.
Melvin has spoken with Sheets' agent, Casey Close, and said there is a chance for the two sides to have negotiations down the road.
"We can't do anything until we get a feel from CC's people," Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We do have a need for a starting pitcher. Ben is familiar with Milwaukee and we're familiar with him."
Talks begin between Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks: The Arizona Diamondbacks have met with representatives of Randy Johnson, but that was only an initial meeting not a serious negotiation. The Diamondbacks would like to have Johnson back in 2009, and Johnson seems to prefer to stay in Arizona.
"We continue to have a fair amount of dialogue," Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes told The Arizona Republic.
Soria claims award as top Royals pitcher: Joakim Soria was recognized for his outstanding season on Tuesday as he was named the Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Soria, who picked up 42 saves in 45 chances in 2008, had a 1.60 ERA on the year.
"First I was an All-Star and now Royals' pitcher of the year," Soria told the Kansas City Star. "It's been a great year."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.