Clayton Kershaw gets Spahn award

Updated: October 20, 2011, 7:02 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

In the first of what could be several postseason accolades, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is expected to be named this year's National League winner of the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the top hitter in the league as selected through voting by fans and a select panel of Hall of Famers including Aaron.

Multiple sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Kemp will receive the award and that the announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Also, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was named this year's winner of the Warren Spahn Award on Thursday as the game's best left-hander. The award, which is presented annually by the Bricktown Rotary Club of Oklahoma City and the Jim Thorpe Association, is based on a pitcher's wins, strikeouts and ERA, with Kershaw having led the NL or tied for the lead in all three categories.

Kemp is among the leading candidates for the NL Most Valuable Player award. Kershaw is a leading candidate, possibly even the favorite, for the NL Cy Young Award. The recipients of those awards, both of which are selected through voting by select members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, will be announced in November.

The Aaron award is in its 13th year of existence and never has been won by a Dodgers player. It was created in 1999 to mark the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time career home runs record in 1974, a record that stood until it was broken again by Barry Bonds in 2007.

The Spahn award is named for the Hall of Fame pitcher who still holds the record for career wins by a lefty with 363. He also won a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star as a member of the U.S. Army during World War II.

"It's a genuine honor to have my name mentioned alongside one of the greatest lefties in the history of the game,'' Kershaw said in a release issued on behalf of the award organizers. "Mr. Spahn accomplished so much both in baseball and in his life off the field. I am truly humbled by this award.''

Kershaw, 23, who will receive the award at an event in Oklahoma City in January, set a career high for victories this season by going 21-5 and also established new career bests in ERA (2.28), strikeouts (248) and innings pitched (233 1/3). By tying Arizona's Ian Kennedy for most wins and leading the NL in ERA and strikeouts, he won the pitching version of the Triple Crown, and he became the Dodgers' first 20-game winner in more than two decades.

Kershaw also was named to the NL All-Star team for the first time.

Watson GM rumors

Although Dodgers assistant general manager DeJon Watson's name continues to surface in media reports as a possible candidate for the vacant GM job in Baltimore, a source close to the Dodgers said Thursday that so far, the Orioles haven't requested permission to interview Watson, who oversees the Dodgers' minor league system.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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