It’s been more than six weeks since right-hander Felix Hernandez closed the Mariners’ season by beating the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field and, in the process, winning the American League’s ERA title.
On Wednesday, finally, Hernandez will learn whether he will win the Cy Young Award for the second time in his career. The announcement should come shortly after 3 p.m. on MLB Network.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which administers the award, revealed last week that Hernandez was one of three finalists along with Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Chicago’s Chris Sale.
“To be a finalist for the Cy Young Award is great,” Hernandez said at the time. “That’s what we work for every year, to be one of the best.
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“This recognition is a testament to the hard work that I put in during the offseason, and it is great to be mentioned as one of the best pitchers in the American League.”
Hernandez, 28, finished 15-6 with a 2.14 ERA in 34 starts. Kluber was 18-9 and 2.44 in 34 starts; Sale was 12-4 and 2.17 in 26 starts.
The Cy Young Award, like all BBWAA awards, is determined by a 30-member panel of BBWAA members. Balloting on all awards took place prior to the start of postseason.
Hernandez previously won the award in 2010 and looms as a likely favorite this year after winning a Players Choice Award and “The Sporting News” award as the AL’s top pitcher.
The BBWAA announced the managers of the year on Tuesday: Baltimore’s Buck Showalter in the American League; and Washington’s Matt Williams in the National League.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon got one first-place vote and finished fourth in the AL balloting behind Showalter, Los Angeles’ Mike Scioscia and Kansas City’s Ned Yost.
The final awards of the season for Most Valuable Player will be announced Thursday.
CANO GETS TWO HITS
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano appears to be in midseason form as a club of major league players begins its tour of Japan.
Cano went 2-for-3 on Tuesday in helping the MLB club hold on for an 8-7 victory over the combined club of Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants in Osaka.
Tuesday’s game served as an exhibition tune-up for a five-game series against Japan’s National team, which begins Wednesday in Osaka.
Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to start Friday, when the series shifts to Tokyo for three weekend games. The series concludes next Tuesday in Sapporo.
HOT STOVE RUMBLINGS
Atlanta outfielder Justin Upton no longer has the Mariners on his no-trade list, which sets up an interesting question: Could he be the answer to their ongoing search for a right-handed power hitter?
The Mariners had a four-for-one deal in place for Upton in January 2013 when he played for Arizona. Upton quashed the swap by exercising his no-trade clause and was subsequently traded to the Braves.
That aborted deal would have sent right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks along with infielder Nick Franklin and relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor.
The Mariners no longer have Franklin and Pryor; both were traded last July prior to the no-waiver deadline.
Upton, 27, recently received a Silver Slugger award after batting .270 with 29 homers and 102 RBIs in 154 games. He is under contract through next season at $14.5 million and then becomes a free agent.
• It might take five years and nearly $100 million to lure free-agent DH/first baseman Victor Martinez away from Detroit, speculates former general manager Jim Bowden, who now works forESPN.com
Martinez is believed to be high on the Mariners’ off-season wish list. Since he received (and rejected) a qualifying offer from the Tigers, any other club that signs him will also forfeit a high draft pick.
• The Mariners continue to be linked to outfielder Yasmany Tomas, a Cuban defector, but appear disinclined to get into a bidding war. Most analysts tout Philadelphia as the favorite to sign Tomas.
• Outfielder Nelson Cruz rejected a three-year extension from Baltimore before becoming a free agent, according to Buster Olney ofESPN.com
If so, that suggests it will require a four-year deal to lure Cruz away from the Orioles — plus the loss of a high draft pick, because Baltimore extended a qualifying offer.
Right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan pitched two scoreless innings Monday for the Carolina in a 6-5 loss at Caguas in the Puerto Rican winter league.
Pagan, 23, has allowed just one earned run and four hits over seven innings in three appearances for Carolina after going 2-3 with 16 saves and a 2.89 ERA in 42 games at Single-A Clinton this past season.
The Mariners chose Pagan in the 10th round of the 2013 draft.
The Mariners announced the release of six minor league players, who are all now free agents:
• RHP Kevin McCoy, 23, was a 24th-round pick in 2013. He was 0-2 with a 4.20 ERA in 18 relief appearances this year for Rookie Peoria and Lo-A Clinton.
• RHP Logan Seifrit, 20, was a 33rd-round pick in 2012. He was 1-4 with a 9.91 ERA in 19 games for Peoria and Short-A Everett.
• RHP Daniel Thieben, 21, was signed in 2011 as non-drafted free agent. He was 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 games at Rookie Pulaski.
• C Toby Demello, 24, was a 29th-round pick in 2012. He batted .143 with no homers or RBIs in 49 in 17 games for Everett and Hi-A High Desert.
• OF Brett Thomas, 22, was a 21st-round pick in 2103. He batted .227 with one homer and 15 RBIs in 55 games for Everett, Pulaski and Clinton.
• OF Travis Witherspoon, 25, was claimed off waivers in October 2013 from the Angels. He batted .252 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs in 99 games at High Desert.