No surprises thus far….

Justin Verlander wins the American League Cy Young Award.  Yep.

Joe Maddon takes Manager of the Year in the American League while former MVP Kirk Gibson takes it in the National League.  I don’t think either of these was unexpected.  Yes, many will whine and complain that Ron Washington and Tony LaRussa were more deserving, but this a regular season award and both Maddon and Gibson worked with teams that weren’t on anyone’s radar, especially the Rays who rebuilt nearly their entire bullpen.

The Miami Vice Marlins (having debuted their rather lame new uniforms and ‘Miami Vice’ logo) have made official and substantial offers to both Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols.  Ozzie stands by the team’s offers saying that they aren’t just public relations moves, but serious offers.  Word has it the Pujols offer could be just as substantial as the one presented by the Cardinals last off-season. with 8 to 9 years in the $220 million range.

So far, no surprises in the Hot Stove season.

The Red Sox are expected to meet with FA pitcher C.J. Wilson’s agent this evening or tomorrow, however given Wilson’s thoughts on a proposed contract in the $120 million plus range (for openers), I’m guessing the meeting will be more on Roy Oswalt, whom the agent also represents.  They have also met with the agent for FA closer Fransisco Cordero (who’d prefer to return to the Reds) and are talking with the reps for Heath Bell.  Brad Lidge (who has stated he’d accept a set-up/spot closer role) is also on the radar but for a more limited reclamation project contract.  At this point, the Scarlett Hose need to get serious with their bullpen… Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves are both awaiting word (as both would prefer to start or close) and Bobby Jenks is still under contract.  Aceves is incredibly valuable in his role as relief/spot starter which makes it harder, but settling the 7th/8th/Closer roles are obviously important.  Now take into account the fact that the Sox don’t have a skipper yet and it just gets more screwed up.

On that note, Cherington hasn’t ruled anyone out yet and with our list matching the Cub’s list (minus Mike Maddux) that leaves us in limbo.  With the ongoing questions of the bullpen, starting rotation and a few of the positions players (Youk.. trade for prospects and pitching or keep?), I’d have to believe the Sox need a manager in place fairly soon before the market gets heated up and top targets are still out there.

Tim Wakefield’s agent has noted that he has had some discussions with the Sox brass and would deem it a ‘shame’ if the veteran doesn’t return to Boston (also stating Wake wants another parade in Beantown).  He also noted some unnamed National League interest in his client.   Meanwhile, sources report an offer has been made to Big Papi however terms were not released.

The real intrigue of the off-season will be next week’s AL MVP announcement and the Justin Verlander argument.

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