PLAYERS CHOICE

MLB players honor Jose Altuve with Most Outstanding Award

Jose Altuve was honored by the MLB players. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Jose Altuve of the Astros might be named MVP later this month. But he picked up some other hardware on Thursday.

Altuve was named the MLB Players Choice Awards Player of the Year and the American League's Outstanding Player.

Altuve had a monster season for the Astros, winning the batting title with a .346 average, 24 HRs, 81 RBIs and 32 SBs. He hit .310 in the playoffs and led the Astros to their first-ever World Series title.

The second baseman is a seven-time All-Star and the 27-year-old has 1,250 career hits.

Altuve won his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger Award on Thursday, and will catch Craig Biggio if he can do it one more time.

Aaron Judge of the Yankees, considered Altuve’s main competition for MVP, was named AL Rookie of the Year by the players. Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, the team the Astros beat to win their title, won the NL Rookie Award.

Corey Kluber of the Indians won the AL Outstanding Pitcher Award; Max Sherzer of the Nationals won the same award in the NL. Giancarlo Stanton won the NL Most Outstanding Award.

The AL MVP Award will be announced on Nov. 15. Altuve and Judge are considered the front-runners.

George Springer won his first career Silver Slugger Award on Thursday, after finishing the season with a .283 average, 34 HRs, 85 RBIs, and 112 runs. Springer's 5 home runs also tied the all-time single World Series record.

One other Astro is up for an award: manager A.J. Hinch (to be announced Nov. 14).

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The Marlins are showing interest in Yuli Gurriel. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

As the reporting date for pitchers and catchers draws near, there are still some decisions hanging over the Astros. One of them is whether or not to bring back Yuli Gurriel. “La Piña,” as he's affectionately called, is 38 years old. He turns 39 in June. His leadership and instincts cannot be matched. The man has seen a ton of baseball and comes from a family of baseballers. So, what's the holdup?

Enter the Miami Marlins. The ownership group, led by Bruce Sherman, is undoubtedly trying to capitalize on the heavy Cuban population in the Miami area. Bringing in the Cuban Babe Ruth is a great way to attempt to get more fan engagement. The franchise has only been to the playoffs three times. First two times (1997 and 2003), they won it all. In 2020, they were swept in the NLDS. They're most likely offering him a ridiculous amount of money to come to a team with a losing history. Knowing the Marlins are willing to hand out stupid money, would you blame La Piña for taking one last ridiculous payday?

Think about it. He's got two rings and made a ton of money. He can safely retire very comfortably. The lure to come back for another year or two would definitely be about money. The Marlins aren't a real threat in the next couple of seasons to do anything, but are willing to pay me like I'm still a star? Plus, I'm closer to my home country with all my family and friends? Sign me up!

This is where the Astros have to make a decision. Bring Yuli back for another year or move on. If he follows through with his last four years, this should be a bounce back year. Since 2016, his first year in Houston and MLB, he's hit .262, .299, .291, .298, .232 (pandemic shortened season), .319, and .242 last season. The man is a professional hitter. He knows how to work an at-bat and can drive pitchers nuts. His defense isn't bad either. He's a more than capable first baseman.

This won't win me any favor, but I think it's time to move on. Yuli will always have a place in my heart because he was a major factor in the Astros' two World Series wins. Last season's title run was even more satisfying since it helped silence the haters. That was the mouthwash that got rid of the stench of the sign stealing scandal. Piña was there through it all.

Now, it's time to start transitioning towards the future. Piña, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr were the only holdovers from the 2017 team. Verlander was one of the guys the Mets backed the Brinks truck up for this offseason. Altuve (32), Bregman (28), and McCullers (29) should be all that's left of that group. While it would've been great to have Verlander (39) back, the emergence of the youth movement in the pitching staff made his loss somewhat expendable. At some point, the nostalgia wears off. Father Time and Mother Nature are both undefeated. If they were to bring Piña back, he should be a part timer transitioning into a hitting coach. Careers come to an end. It's time to start looking at his exit.

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