Geovany Soto's ascension to National League Rookie of the Year on Monday was virtually uncontested, with the Cubs catcher garnering all but one of the 32 possible first-place votes. (The Reds' Joey Votto got the other one.) Not since Albert Pujols collected all 32 first-place votes in winning the '01 ROY award had a National League player come so close to running the table. Ironically, Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, coronated Monday as A.L. Rookie of the Year, was also a unanimous first-place pick.
Soto's HR and RBI numbers—23 and 86, respectively—were the highest for a Cubs rookie since Billy Williams had 25 HR and 86 RBI in 1961, when Williams became the first Cub to win rookie honors. (The award didn't exist until 1947.)
As he has often done this season, Soto credited teammate Henry Blanco for aiding his maturation as a catcher and a big leaguer, saying that Blanco was...
"in my corner, like a big brother. I owe him a lot of my success. It was huge having him on my side."The Cubs bought out Blanco's option for $300,000 at the end of October, though the team is expected to re-sign him. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times has even alluded to the possibility that the Cubs and Blanco might already have had a "handshake agreement" in place regarding a new deal.
Speaking of new deals, former Cub Scott Eyre signed a one-year, $2MM contract extension with the World Series champion Phillies on Monday.
After being waived by the Cubs and hooking up with the Phils on August 7th, the 36-year-old Eyre pitched in 19 games, going 3-0, 1.88. He appeared in five post-season games for the Phillies this year, allowing one run and three hits in three innings.