NEW YORK – Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers breezed Wednesday to baseball’s Cy Young Awards.
Kershaw won the prize as the National League’s best pitcher for the second time in three seasons after posting a 1.83 ERA – lowest in the majors in 13 years.
“This is such a cool thing. I can’t even explain what it means to me,” Kershaw said in an interview on MLB Network. “It really is a huge honor.”
The 25-year-old lefty with a big-breaking curve drew 29 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals was picked first on one ballot.
Kershaw went 16-9 and topped the NL with 232 strikeouts. He also won the Cy Young Award in 2011 and finished second last year to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Scherzer took the AL honor after leading the majors with 21 wins. He received 28 of 30 first-place votes.
The right-hander lost only three times and was the lone 20-game winner in baseball. He ranked second in the majors with 240 strikeouts and was fifth in the AL with a 2.90 ERA.
Scherzer smiled and raised both arms when the results were announced.
“It’s unbelievable. It just vindicates everything I’ve done,” he said, acknowledging all the run support he received from Detroit’s powerful lineup probably helped his candidacy.
Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers was second, marking the highest finish by a Japanese-born pitcher in Cy Young voting. Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners came in third.
Wainwright went 19-9 for St. Louis and finished behind Kershaw. Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez, picked earlier this week as the NL Rookie of the Year, was third.
Free agents asking premium prices: Pitching is at a premium already this offseason, with teams looking to increase depth for the long season ahead. Pretty much all free agents are going for top dollar.
Tim Lincecum got a $35 million, two-year contract to stay with the San Francisco Giants, who didn’t want him going on the open market.
Outfielder Marlon Byrd agreed to a $16 million, two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies this week, a huge increase from the agreement he signed with the New York Mets last winter that wound up earning him $800,000 – including bonuses.
“It’s definitely a little scary,” Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Wednesday after hearing some of the asking prices.
Agent Scott Boras, who wants to goad teams into spending more on free agents, criticized the Mets, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for not spending enough and playfully suggested the Tampa Bay Rays seek a more financially beneficial home.
“I think there’s a lot of cities that may attract them,” he said. “Maybe New Jersey would like that winning percentage.”
After missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years, the New York Yankees are in a shopping mode. They need pitching. But there aren’t any aces on the free-agent market, so teams could bid up the prices of pitchers projected as a No. 2 or No. 3 on a staff.
Only one agreement was announced Wednesday, with infielder Nick Punto leaving the Dodgers for a $3 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics.