MVPs announced: Braun or Posey? Cabrera or Trout?

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MVPs announced: Braun or Posey? Cabrera or Trout?

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera has a Most Valuable Player award to go with his Triple Crown. And Buster Posey has an MVP prize to put alongside his second World Series ring.The pair of batting champions won baseball's top individual honors Thursday by large margins.Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, won the AL MVP by receiving 22 of 28 first-place votes and 362 points from a panel of Baseball Writers' Association of America.The Detroit third baseman easily beat Los Angeles Angels rookie center fielder Mike Trout, who had six firsts and 281 points.Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs to become the first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera also led the league with a .606 slugging percentage for the AL champion Tigers.Some of the more sabermetric-focused fans supported Trout, who hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs, and he led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals and topped all players in WAR -- Wins Above Replacement. Trout won AL Rookie of the Year earlier in the week."I was a little concerned. I thought the new thing about computer stuff, I thought Trout's going to win because they put his numbers over me," Cabrera said. "I was like relax. ... if he wins, it's going to be fair because he had a great season."His victory is a win for the traditional statistics."At the end of the game, it's going to be the same baseball played back in the day," Cabrera said.Posey, at a charity event at his mother's school in Leesburg, Va., followed the AL debate and Googled to find out the winner."I think it intrigued everybody," he said. "As a fan of the game, it was a fun race to watch."With three fewer hits or two less homers, Cabrera would have fallen short of the Triple Crown. The last four Triple Crown winners have been voted MVP, including Mickey Mantle in 1956 and Frank Robinson in 1966."I think winning the Triple Crown had a lot to do with me winning this honor," he said.Cabrera became the second straight Detroit player voted MVP, following pitcher Justin Verlander in 2011, and was the first Venezuelan to earn the honor. Countryman Pablo Sandoval took home World Series MVP honors last month.Before the season, Cabrera switched from first base to third to make way for Prince Fielder, who signed with Detroit as a free agent."I focused too much in spring training about defense, defense, defense," Cabrera said. "I forgot a little bit about hitting, about getting in the cage like I normally do."In spring training, Posey's focus was just to get back on the field. His 2011 season was cut short by a collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins on May 25 that resulted in a fractured bone in Posey's lower left leg and three torn ankle ligaments.Posey not only returned, he became the first catcher in 70 years to win the NL batting title and helped San Francisco win its second World Series championship in three seasons."I definitely have a deeper appreciation for being able to play baseball," he said. "I've seen that it can be taken away quick."The first catcher in four decades to win the NL award, Posey got 27 of 32 firsts and 422 points to outdistance 2011 winner Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who was second with 285 points.Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen (245) was third, followed by St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina (241).Posey, a boyish-looking 25, was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year as the Giants won their first World Series since 1954. This year he set career highs with a .336 average, 24 homers and 103 RBIs as San Francisco won again.Posey took the NL batting title after teammate Melky Cabrera requested a rules change that disqualified him. Cabrera, who hit .346, missed the final 45 games of the regular-season while serving a suspension for a positive testosterone test and would have won the batting crown if the rule hadn't been changed.Ernie Lombardi had been the previous catcher to capture the NL batting championship, in 1942."I think anybody that has caught before understands the grind of catching, not only the physical, the nicks, the wear and tear of squatting for nine innings night in, day out, but just the mental grind of working a pitching staff," Posey said. "It's demanding."NOTES:In his first season with the Angels, Albert Pujols didn't finish among the top 10 for the first time in his career. While with St. Louis, he won three times, was second four times and also finished third, fourth, fifth and ninth. ... Catchers have won the NL MVP just eight times, with Posey joining Gabby Hartnett (1935), Lombardi (1938), Roy Campanella (1951, 1953, 1955) and Johnny Bench (1970, 1972). Posey became the first Giants player to win since Barry Bonds was voted his record seventh MVP award in 2004. ... Cabrera earned a 500,000 bonus, Adrian Beltre 150,000 for finishing third in the AL and Josh Hamilton 50,000 for fifth place. Braun gets a 75,000 bonus, and McCutchen and Molina 50,000 each. The Yankees' Derek Jeter finished seventh in the AL, one place below the level where his 2014 player option would have increased by 2 million to 10 million.

Frustrated Smith confident 49ers will turn it around -- with or without him

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Frustrated Smith confident 49ers will turn it around -- with or without him

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have made one big-money, first-day splash in free agency under embattled general manager Trent Baalke.

That came in March of 2015, when the team signed wide receiver Torrey Smith to a five-year, $40 million contract.

The 49ers brought Smith to the organization because of his character and production as a much-needed deep threat in the passing game. Smith has lived up to his promise off the field. This week he was named the 49ers’ nominee for the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

But the 49ers have gone 6-22 during that time. In the 27 games in which he has appeared, Smith has 53 receptions for 930 and seven touchdowns. He spoke on the 49ers Insider Podcast about the frustration and disappointment he has experienced since coming to the organization.

“There are times when I’ve handled it well and there are times I’ve been horrible,” Smith said. “As bad as things may have been, I just got to look at the light on the other side of the tunnel. I’m trying to be more positive. I was just talking to my wife about it. I feel like it’s a professional test for me.

“That’s why they signed me to come here. And I haven’t been doing that, for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s myself. Sometimes it’s opportunity. And sometimes we flat-out miss. The combination of those drives you crazy, but there’s only one thing I can control, and I haven’t been doing a good job of controlling that.”

Smith and safety Antoine Bethea are the only players on the 49ers who have won championships. Smith, whose Super Bowl win came as a member of the Baltimore Ravens against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, said he trusts that coach Chip Kelly has the team heading in the right direction – despite the 1-11 record and the franchise-worst 11-game losing streak entering Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

“We played at a very high level for three of my four years there (with the Ravens), and you know what it looks like when it’s right,” Smith said. “It’s a feel you get. It’s the way things are operating. It’s the way leadership is. I can’t really describe it, but you know what it looks like. It’s like a well-oiled machine.

“I feel like we have that, but we’re just not performing. There are mistakes involved in that. There’s a youth issue, as well. We’re not getting it done. But I think in terms of the way you’re taught, the way you prepare – which is how you can judge a coach – I don’t feel like we ever go into anything where we weren’t prepared.”

With Baalke’s future with the organization in a tenuous position, the 49ers will have a lot of offseason decisions. One is whether to bring back Smith at his $8 million annual price tag. Smith said he realizes his future is uncertain, but he said he believes the 49ers will eventually turn things around.

“People think Jed (York) and these guys just don’t care or whatever, like they’re trying to tank or blow this thing up,” Smith said. “That’s not the case. Guys are trying to prepare from the top to the bottom to win. Everyone here is working their tails off. We’re just aren’t performing well. When that happens, there’s a lot of criticism that comes from a lot of different directions – as it should. Everyone gets paid to do a job.

“But I feel like when we get it right -- and I can say we, and I’m not even guaranteed to be here next year. You know how the business works. Anything can happen. But I feel like it’s going to be right. I don’t know how long that’s going to take. But it’s not that far away. I’m just going keep saying that. It’s just a few pieces there that we got to get together and be more consistent.”

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

The Warriors left Utah with a 106-99 victory over the Jazz.

With 9.3 seconds remaining and the Warriors up by eight points, Kevin Durant was hit with a technical foul.

Draymond Green walked over to Durant and started laughing. Why?

"We were laughing at Quinn Snyder who kept calling timeouts," Draymond told reporters after the game. "Like bro, you're down 10 with six seconds left, it's kinda over my man."

[POOLE: Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah]

After Zaza Pachulia missed two free throws with the Warriors ahead by 11 and 1:05 remaining, the Jazz got the rebound and immediately called timeout.

After Draymond made one of two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to make it 104-94, Utah called another timeout.

After Steph Curry made a free throw to give the Warriors an eight-point lead with 9.3 seconds left, Quin Snyder used his final timeout.

Warriors play-by-play broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald said: "Utah is gonna use another time out. Quin Snyder is just practicing game-ending situations."

Analyst Jim Barnett responded with: "Absolutely, that's what he's doing."

"Just let us go to the restaurant and have a good dinner; just chill," Draymond added. "That's what we were laughing at. Nothing about the tech ... that was funny. But that's all it was."