Yu Darvish had a spectacular 60-game season for the Cubs. In 12 starts, he posted a 2.01 ERA, 0.961 WHIP and 2.7 bWAR — the latter is really impressive, because as WAR is a cumulative statistic, in a 162-game season that extrapolates to 7.3 bWAR. That would have been not only the best year of Darvish’s career, but just the third Cubs pitcher-season with that large a bWAR figure since 1992 (Mark Prior had 7.4 in 2003 and Jake Arrieta posted 8.3 in 2015).
Anyway, all this terrific performance got Darvish a finish in the top three of BBWAA voting for the National League Cy Young Award, something the BBWAA terms a “finalist,” though there won’t be any further voting. Here are the three finalists:
2020 NL Cy Young finalists— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) November 3, 2020
Trevor Bauer, Reds
Yu Darvish, Cubs
Jacob deGrom, Mets
Winner announced Nov. 11, 6 p.m. ET on @mlbnetwork
Darvish, Trevor Bauer and Jacob deGrom all had fine 2020 seasons and you can make a case for any of the three.
The most important thing to note about this is that the (minimum) third-place finish will give Darvish a contract escalator. His contract calls for his base salary to increase by $1 million for a second-through-fifth place finish in Cy Young voting. Thus Darvish will make $23 million in 2021 instead of $22 million, and have an increase to $20 million in 2022 and $19 million in 2023.
So far, I’d say Darvish has been worth it. The second half of 2019 and all of 2020 have been totally dominant for Darvish, and he seems poised to do it again in 2021.
Also, Cubs manager David Ross was one of the top three finishers for NL Manager of the Year:
2020 NL Manager of the Year finalists— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) November 3, 2020
Don Mattingly, Marlins
David Ross, Cubs
Jayce Tingler, Padres
Winner announced Nov. 10, 6 p.m. ET on @mlbnetwork
It seems to me that either Don Mattingly or Jayce Tingler will win this award; both those teams (Marlins and Padres, respectively) had unexpectedly strong seasons and both made the postseason. Ross did a fine job managing the Cubs through the pandemic-shortened season, but the Cubs had expectations of a playoff season and generally award voters go for the unexpected rather than the expected. Still, congrats to Ross for (at least) the top-three finish.
As noted in the tweets, winners of these awards, as well as Rookie of the Year and MVP, will be announced next week. The full award schedule and the rest of the offseason calendar can be found here.
The NL Cy Young Award winner should be...
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