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Mike Trout, Braves trio among 2019 Silver Slugger award winners

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Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has received his seventh Silver Slugger Award after batting .291 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs this season.

The Atlanta BravesRonald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are among the first-time winners on the National League side, along with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger. First-timers for the American League are Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu, Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman and Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver.

The selections, honoring the best offensive players at each position in each league, were voted on by major league coaches and managers.

World Series champion and Washington Nationals slugger Anthony Rendon, Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich and former Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke, who was dealt by the D-backs to the Astros at the trade deadline, completed the National League list.

Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, Astros outfielder George Springer and Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts rounded out the American League winners.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to the managers’ and coaches’ views of a player’s overall offensive value.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The case for the Red Sox trading Mookie Betts — Examining Boston’s two paths forward

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This year’s tepid MLB stove season is dominated by talk of whether contending teams in Boston and Cleveland, both of which won their divisions in 2018 but missed the playoffs in 2019, might trade their best players — Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor, respectively — now, before they reach free agency (next November for Betts and the following offseason for Lindor). Cleveland’s financial picture is its own set of problems, but Boston should have no issue whatsoever paying Betts — who seems to want to go to free agency — $30-plus million a year to spend the rest of his prime years with the Red Sox. There is, however, an argument for trading Betts now to address the organizational deficiency in starting pitching, even though it would mean trading their best and perhaps most popular player.

The Red Sox are not in a great competitive position right now; their rotation for 2020 depends on two veterans, Chris Sale and David Price, whose health and durability are both gigantic questions. Neither threw 150 innings last season; both had the worst ERAs of their careers and both ended the year on the injured list. Their healthy returning starters are Eduardo Rodriguez and … Nathan Eovaldi, if you are an optimist. The Red Sox had a 4.70 ERA last year, putting them at the league median, and would project to worse than that in 2020 unless they bring in a lot of outside help.

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Reliever Chris Martin back with Braves on 2-year, $14 million deal

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ATLANTA — Pitcher Chris Martin and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a $14 million, two-year contract, a deal that brings the right-hander back after he closed 2019 with the club.

Martin, 33, was acquired by Atlanta from the Texas Rangers for left-hander Kolby Allard at the July 31 trade deadline.

Martin was 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 20 games with the Braves. He had 22 strikeouts and one walk in 17⅔ innings.

Martin will earn $7 million in each year of the deal and agreed to a provision to donate $70,000 annually to charity. His signing comes on the same day the Braves introduced left-hander Will Smith, who agreed to a $40 million, three-year contract.

The 6-foot-8 Martin has a 4.51 ERA in his big league career in 144 games, all in relief, with Colorado, the New York Yankees, Texas and Atlanta.

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MLB teams can trust these free agents over 30

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Looking at this year’s list of free agents, there are plenty of drool-worthy options at the top of the rankings. Gerrit Cole is one of the most valuable pitchers to become available in free agency. Anthony Rendon was a serious MVP candidate in 2019 and Stephen Strasburg isn’t that far behind Cole. Zack Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu would fit near the top of most major league rotations.

However, not everyone is getting a star. Some teams are running up against salary issues — many of those limits being self-imposed, of course — and even if the willingness is there, there are a lot more teams than there are available stars. So there is going to be a lot of shopping at the bargain end of free agency. These players won’t carry a team to the postseason single-handedly, but they will likely contribute at a reasonable salary.

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