Heavy-duty hardware being handed out
MLB awards season is upon us, and it will surely bring with it plenty of debate
And the winners are ... going to be announced in bunches now.
With the most coveted award in all of baseball -- the World Series trophy -- safely in the hands of the Boston Red Sox, the hardware really will begin to make the rounds, handed out to the best of the game's best in the coming days and weeks.
Awards season is here, having begun with golden rewards already for some and continuing with silver flowing next week. The following week, the most prized individual awards -- Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year for each league -- will be doled out.
The winners? It could be Miguel Cabrera with a second consecutive American League MVP Award, which would be the first back-to-back honors in the AL since Frank Thomas in 1993-94. But we'll definitely have another debate for a second straight year about whether it should be Mike Trout -- and a third candidate is right there with them in Chris Davis.
We also could see some hardware shipped to the Steel City for the first time in a long time, and we'll definitely hear plenty of debate as each major award ticks away.
Once again, MLB Network will be the place to watch the envelopes opened and the winners announced for all of it. Those famous four awards voted upon by the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be announced first with a finalists show Tuesday, and then the awards themselves will be distributed Nov. 11-14 in daily announcement shows on MLB Network.
And that's only part of the award-winning coverage to come in the next two weeks, with voting for MLB.com's GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Awards under way with results to be announced at the Winter Meetings.
With the envelopes waiting to be opened, here's a peek at the upcoming awards season:
The first set of honors with the World Series over will be the MLB Players Choice Awards on Monday (8 p.m. ET, MLB Network), which includes a menu of honors, as voted by the players themselves. Last year, the players went with Cabrera as their AL Outstanding Player, but picked the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen as the National League Outstanding Player instead of MVP Buster Posey of the Giants, and the Reds' Todd Frazier over the Nats' Bryce Harper as NL Outstanding Rookie. A total of 10 awards, as voted on by the players in September, will be distributed -- including Comeback Player honors that should draw plenty of interest with the Yankees' Mariano Rivera in the mix for his work in his final season.
To set up the big honors the following week, the BBWAA Awards Finalists Announcement on Tuesday (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network) will reveal the final five MVP candidates for each league and three candidates in the other awards for each league -- let the debates begin.
The Silver Slugger Awards will go out to the best offensive players at each position on Wednesday (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network), the annual hitting complement to the defensive Gold Glove Awards handed out -- and obviously not dropped -- earlier this week. At least this is one that both Cabrera and Trout can win, as they did last year.
Come Monday, Nov. 11, the biggest individual prizes will start to go out with the BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network), and this is the one award where there are no repeat winners. Los Angeles' Yasiel Puig and Miami's Jose Fernandez are expected to lead the field in the NL, while a couple of Rays -- pitcher Chris Archer and outfielder Wil Myers -- likely will be strong contenders in the AL, along with Detroit (nee Boston) infielder Jose Iglesias.
On Tuesday, Nov. 12, it will be the BBWAA Managers of the Year (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network) on center stage, and this could be the first opportunity for an award for the resurgent Pirates, led by skipper Clint Hurdle into the postseason for the first time since 1992. The last BBWAA award claimed in Pittsburgh was the 2004 Rookie of the Year honor bestowed upon Jason Bay. Boston's John Farrell is a favorite in the AL -- remember, votes were tallied before the Red Sox began their 11-win journey to the World Series title. Cleveland's Terry Francona will get some notice as well, to be sure.
The BBWAA Cy Young Awards will follow on Wednesday, Nov. 13 (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network), with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in good position to claim his second NL honor in three years and Max Scherzer a favorite in the AL -- with the debate on the value of his 21 victories sure to enter the equation. The Tigers' Anibal Sanchez, the AL's ERA leader, and others such as Texas' Yu Darvish figure to be in the mix as well.
The BBWAA awards will be capped off with the Most Valuable Player Awards announcement on Thursday, Nov. 14 (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network). Once again, the Cabrera-Trout debate will rage before, during and after the AL award is presented -- but don't forget the Orioles' Davis and his MLB-leading 53 homers and 138 RBIs. In the NL, the conversation will be about the Pirates' McCutchen and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina helping lead their teams into the playoffs, and how the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt, the NL's Hank Aaron Award winner, certainly did everything he could to do the same, his team falling short.
With Carlos Beltran winning the Roberto Clemente Award for his community works, Cabrera and Goldschmidt taking home Hank Aaron Awards and all those Gold Gloves handed out -- three each to Kansas City and Baltimore -- already there has been a pretty good haul of hardware.
And it won't end with the BBWAA awards. MLB.com's GIBBY Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla. With categories from MLB MVP to Breakout players and "Must C" plays, the GIBBYs will touch 'em all when it comes to rewarding the best of the 2013 season, based on voting from fans, media and club personnel.
One big trophy says it all about which team was best this year, and the Red Sox will get to parade that pretty sculpture around town all winter long.
But there are a lot of other trophies on the shelf, waiting to be picked up in the next couple of weeks, too, so there's plenty more to celebrate about the 2013 season.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.