Nationals' Gonzalez finishes third in NL Cy Young vote

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Brian McNally

Mets knuckleballer Dickey wins easily

The Nationals finally had their streak of major award winners broken Wednesday evening when left-hander Gio Gonzalez placed third in the National League Cy Young Award voting.

Instead, the honor went to New York Mets veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who earned 209 points and 27 of the 32 first-place votes. Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw placed second with 96 points and two first-place votes. Gonzalez was third with 93 points and one first-place vote.

Still, Gonzalez, 27, turned out to be a fine return for the four minor league prospects who were traded to the Oakland A's last December. He finished 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA in 1991Ú3 innings. Gonzalez struck out 9.35 batters per nine innings in 32 starts.

Washington already had seen outfielder Bryce Harper earn NL rookie of the year honors on Monday and Davey Johnson claim NL manager of the year on Tuesday. Adam LaRoche won a Gold Glove for his work at first base earlier in the month, and LaRoche, shortstop Ian Desmond and pitcher Stephen Strasburg all won Silver Sluggers, which are awarded to the best offensive player at each position in the two leagues.

Dickey was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA for the Mets at age 37. He led the NL with 230 strikeouts in 2332Ú3 innings. Kershaw was 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA and had 229 strikeouts in 2272Ú3 innings for the Dodgers. The award is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"I hope Gio wins the Cy Young," Nats manager Davey Johnson said the day before the Cy Young was presented on MLB Network. "Individual awards don't mean a whole lot to me. But you like to see players get recognized when they do something good. And guys really didn't overachieve. They played up to their potential. And there is still a higher ceiling there for a lot of the players."

Gonzalez was acquired from the Oakland A's for left-hander Tom Milone, catcher Derek Norris and right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole. Those first two players spent most of the season in Oakland and provided a combined 3.2 wins above replacement, according to the statistical website FanGraphs.com. Gonzalez was worth 5.4 wins above replacement.

Peacock, 24, had a 6.01 ERA at Triple-A Sacramento, and Cole, 20, started the year struggling at Single-A Stockton (7.82 ERA) before returning to low-A Burlington for his final 19 starts, where he posted a 2.07 ERA.

In the American League, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander David Price won by the second-closest margin in award history -- four points. He finished with 14 of 28 first-place votes, and Detroit ace Justin Verlander had 13 first-place votes.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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