The Braves are re-evaluating their place in the NL East, while the Cardinals are focused on winning it all.

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 17th, 2014
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(Reuters) – Rookie skipper Matt Williams was named National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday after leading the Washington Nationals to the best record in the league. Williams, a former major league third baseman, piloted the Nationals to a 96-66 record that gave them the NL East title by a commanding 17 games — the widest margin in the majors. The Washington manager received 18 first-place votes, with runner-up Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates garnering eight in the voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. …

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 17th, 2014
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It’s November, which means optimism is running wild around Major League Baseball. Yes, that even includes the New York Mets camp. Despite six straight losing seasons, there’s a real feeling within the organization that they’ve finally turned the corner after winning 79 games and tying for second place in the NL East in 2014. A feeling manager Terry Collins is so confident about, he’s already planning on playing games beyond the first weekend in October next season. From the New York Daily News:   “We should be playing in October,” the manager said this week, not referring to the four regular-season October games the Mets have in 2015. “Our young guys are starting to grow, with the addition of some offense, and … we’re not done. I don’t think (GM) Sandy (Alderson) by any means (is done)… we’re going to make some more moves before spring training starts,” Collins said. “I think 2015 is going to be a good year for us.” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson pulled off the first stunning move of the offseason, signing Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal on Nov. 10. Committing that money to a 35-year-old outfielder – and giving up a draft pick for a qualifying free agent – was a clear indication Alderson and company feel they’re just a few pieces away from contending in the short term. Where they look next for offensive help will be interesting to see. They’re rumored to be seeking a trade for a proven shortstop, with names like Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez being connected. New York already has a pair of offensive cornerstones locked in at the corners with All-Star David Wright at third and Lucas Duda emerging at first base. Of course, it’s New York’s strong core of young pitching that really has people excited. Jacob deGrom moved to the head of that class by earning NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2014. Zack Wheeler, 24, is another young arm who performed well in his first full season, posting a 3.54 ERA. They also fully expect to get a healthy Matt Harvey back following Tommy John surgery in October 2013. That trio, along with veterans Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee, makes for a respectable rotation. You read Collins’ comments and your instinct might be to shrug them off. However, New York may be positioned as well as anyone to take the next step toward 85-90 wins. They aren’t there quite yet. Not with the Washington Nationals holding firm atop the division, the Atlanta Braves still hanging around, and the Miami Marlins improving. But another big move, or two, may be all that’s needed. Indeed, optimism abounds. And that’s why we so enjoy the game of baseball.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 16th, 2014
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Post info: By NationsNational on November 16th, 2014
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With Giancarlo Stanton set to ink a record-breaking 13-year, $325 million contract extension with the Miami Marlins, it’s only logical to wonder two things. 1. Can Stanton ultimately live up to the deal? 2. Who’s in line for baseball’s next mega, perhaps even recording-breaking, contract? The first question will take many years to answer. Stanton also has an opportunity to opt-out following the 2019 season if he feels his value has increased, or just as likely if he doesn’t like the direction of the franchise. Until then, we’re really just talking about a six-year deal, but the record money attached is eye-opening. The second question might take awhile to sort out as well, though with Stanton now crossing the $300 million mark, agents everywhere are no doubt taking notes as they wildly punch numbers into their calculators. Looking around the baseball landscape though, you’ll find that many of the players in or around Stanton’s age and skill level are already locked in to long term deals at an amount notably less than Stanton’s guaranteed total. In January, National League Cy Young and MVP Clayton Kershaw got paid, inking a monster seven-year, $215 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers . That’s a lot of money, obviously. In fact, he became baseball’s first player to earn $30 million annually, but it didn’t exceed $300 million mark like many were expecting.  The other MVP, Mike Trout, signed a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels in March . A relative bargain given his advanced skills, though still nearly equal to Stanton’s $25 million annual salary. At 24, the good news for Trout is that he’ll likely cash in again when he’s 30, and perhaps by then we’ll be talking $400 million.  It won’t be them, and it won’t be someone from this year’s free-agent class. Though filled with big names, this class doesn’t compare to 2013′s and it certainly doesn’t boast a $300 million player. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan has right-hander Max Scherzer rated No. 1 in his Ultimate Free-Agent Tracker . At age 30, Scherzer is seeking a $200 million deal that in its own right may be difficult to find.  That leaves us looking toward the future to seek out our next potential record-breaker. The list of realistic options is a short one, but some interesting names do appear. Especially out east. Here’s a quick look at some of the possibilities. * * *

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 15th, 2014
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Buck Showalter was awarded his third American League Manager of the Year award, and Matt Williams was named the best skipper in the National League, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday. Showalter guided the Baltimore Orioles to 96 wins and an AL East title this past season. Showalter also won the award with the New York Yankees in 1994 and a decade later with the Texas Rangers. The awards were voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 15th, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Utility player Kevin Frandsen and the Washington Nationals have agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration with a deal that raises his base salary by $100,000.

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 14th, 2014
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Nate Grimm discusses the hardware winners, Victor Martinez’ payday and some potential big contracts for outfielders in Friday’s Daily Dose.

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 14th, 2014
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* Showalter has now won award in 1994, 2004 and 2014 * Williams is fourth rookie manager to win the award (Adds quotes, byline, recasts) By Larry Fine Nov 11 (Reuters) – The neighboring teams were not able to book a Beltway World Series, but their skippers swept the Manager of the Year awards as Matt Williams of the Nationals and Buck Showalter of the Orioles won the honors on Tuesday. …

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 13th, 2014
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By Larry Fine (Reuters) – The neighboring teams were not able to book a Beltway World Series, but their skippers swept the Manager of the Year awards as Matt Williams of the Nationals and Buck Showalter of the Orioles won the honors on Tuesday. Showalter, who steered Baltimore to their first division title in 17 years, won the American League award for a third time, joining Hall of Famer Tony La Russa as the only managers to claim the honor with three different teams. …

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Post info: By NationsNational on November 13th, 2014
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