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Mariano Rivera is not worthy of the Cy Young

Sep 3, 2009, 9:50 AM EDT

John Harper disagrees:

The man they call Mo is deserving, to be sure. And even though a hot September from starters such as Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez or Josh Beckett could make any of them the front-runner for the award, none is having the kind of lights-out season that would all but eliminate talk of a reliever winning.

Look, I love me some Mariano Rivera. He is, bar none, my favorite Yankee of the Torre-Girardi era. But 60 or so innings of 1.78 ERA pitching is simply nowhere near as impressive nor valuable as 200+ innings of 2.32 ERA, and that’s before you even get into peripherals. That latter number is from Zack Grienke who, if he played for anyone other than the Royals, would be cruising to 20+ wins right now and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The Cy Young award is an individual award, and as things currently stand, the only reason to not give it to Zack Greinke is if you look past what he has done as an individual and give him demerits for the performance of his teammates.

Mariano Rivera is the best at what he does, and one day he will find himself in Cooperstown because of it.  But what he does is not as important as what a starter does, and that’s the case no matter how much we glorify Mariano Rivera specifically, or the role of the closer in general.

  1. Greenie - Sep 7, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    Dave- I’m confused by your logic. How many complete games has Mariano pitched? And are you saying that he should get the Cy Young based on his effectiveness from previous years or this year? I thought that the 2009 award was for play in 2009.

  2. HOTROD - Sep 8, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    Dude, go suck a hard one, u idiot POS………
    WTF R U ANYWAY ???

  3. Chris - Sep 9, 2009 at 8:31 AM

    Honestly, what do you know? Mariano Rivera is having one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career. He is, bar none, the most dominant pitcher in baseball, starter or reliever. Sure, Zach Grienke deserves some recognition, but his stats don’t match up. His body of work is no where close to Rivera’s. I would make an argument for CC Sabathia more than I could for Grienke. But saying Rivera doesn’t deserve it, makes you look like a complete idiot and very uncreditable. Get your facts and your act together before you decide to voice your pathetic opinions.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Sep 9, 2009 at 8:36 AM

    Chris — “body of work” has nothing to do with a single-season award. All that matters is what happened in 2009, and in 2009, Rivera has not been the best pitcher in the American League, no matter how big a fan you are of his. By the time the season is over, he will have pitched between 25 and 30% of the number of innings that the best starters will have pitched, and he is not 3-4 times better than the starters on an inning-per-inning basis.
    He’s almost certainly the best relief pitcher in baseball, both this season and in history. But that doesn’t entitle him to a Cy Young.
    As for my facts: please tell me which ones I don’t have straight. And in support of your own arguments, please offer some, as opposed to what seem to be mere fanboy opinions.

  5. XTrust_No1X - Sep 11, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    CC Sabathia is the 2009 AL CYoung winner LOCK!
    Derek Jeter is the 2009 AL MVP LOCK!
    And the New York Yankees will win their 27th World Series Championship in 2009. LOCK!!!
    Mayor Michael Blommberg is already getting the ticker tape cut, and he’s having Keys to New York City made to be handed out after the parade down the Canyon of Heroes to City Hall! LOCK!!!
    All this happening in New York, and where are the Mutts? They’re already setting up their Tee-off times for this fall! LOCK!!! Hahaha

  6. graham - Sep 15, 2009 at 3:02 PM

    why are there still cy young awards?starting pitchers rarely pitch complete games(six innings and they are gone).closers rarely pitch more than one inning,and are rewarded with saves when the save is not deserved.whwn was the last time a starter pitched into extra innings?the award is named for Cy Young.pitchers today are not in the same league as Young,Mathewson,Babe Ruth,Spahn,Koufax,Gibson,Marichal,Drysdale,Feller,and others.today’s relievers don’t belong with the likes of Elroy Face,or Hoyt Wilhelm.it’s very simple-just compare the innings pitched,and the amount of pitches throw.”joba rules”?baseball has been using “joba rules”for the past 25-30 years,there just wasn’t a word for them.re:Jeter- great player,credit to the game but is not in the class of Luis Aparicio,Ernie Banks or Ozzie Smith.

  7. Me - Sep 19, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    I think that Greinke and King Felix have done enough this year that it is unlikely that a closer will win the award (and rightfully so). As the numbers stand today, Greinke should win the award without much of a fight. He was been consistantly dominant and has the best ratios. While he might have more starts against a team like Cleveland, he has zero starts against the lowly Royals (for obvious reasons). Meanwhile Sabathia and Beckett (the likely wins leaders in the AL) both have starts against the Royals and got to avoid facing their own teams lineup. As for Mo, he is the best Closer of all time, and should be recognized for that (as he already is).
    PS: This is coming from a Yankee fan.

  8. Toz - Sep 22, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Ummm…Brad Lidge saved 48 straight games last year. How do we feel about that now?
    Mo is great…you, not so much.

  9. Javelin - Sep 28, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    No, a good closer is NOT as valuable as a good starter.
    If starters were ineffective, there would be no closing opportunities. (An exaggeration, for sure, but you get the point).
    Y’know the old football saying, “A defensive back is a wide receiver that can’t catch”? Well, a closer is a starting pitcher with bad stamina.

  10. DinkyDow - Sep 30, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    Mo has been the most valuable Yankee for 13 years. The problem is that sports writers are to stupid to realize that. It’s the same anti Yankee crap they have for Jeter. “He’s overrated.” If sports writers actually knew anything about sports, they would have given Mo a Cy Young years ago. They should take all voting, Hall of Fame, Cy Young, MVP away from writers and give it to the players who actually know about the sport they play.

  11. DinkyDow - Sep 30, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    Graham – “Jeter- great player,credit to the game but is not in the class of Luis Aparicio,Ernie Banks or Ozzie Smith.”
    I’ve watched Luis Aparicio,Ernie Banks and Ozzie Smith. Jeter is better than all but Ernie. If you don’t realize that, watch soap operas because you don’t know anything about baseball.

  12. Steve - Oct 3, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    That’s a 2.08 ERA with one start to go for Greinke now. And with a good outing today, look at his his start before (W 7 IP 1 ER) against a team that had to win (Twins). He might be the one guy to keep the Twins from the playoffs.

  13. UB - Oct 4, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    Cy Young award= Starting Pitcher.Cy won, what 500+ games.He wasn’t the best pitcher of all time, just played in the earlier years and was good then.The best pitcher of all time was maybe Bob Gibson.Tom Seaver.Nolan Ryan.? It’s hard for the babied athletes of today to pitch 6 innings, but it’s for the starters. To give the Cy Young to a guy with one pitch and gets a lot of strikes called that are balls,is wrong. If this guy pitched more then to 1 or 2 batters in years gone buy he’d be gone by now and nobody would be talking about him. Come in for 1 inning or less,you have got to be kidding when you say he’s the greatest.Still love Ball, but the Athletes make so much and so much of the game is gone. Speed seems to be making a come back, that’s good. the outfielders rarely have an arm that is worth talking about.Where are the Valentines, the Walkers,Lynns,Barfields and so on. Pitchers of years ago were so much better then these guys today and their arms could throw 160+ balls and complete games.The steroids have taken such a toll on today’s players that when you stop using them, you not only lose your power, size and strength, you lose your hair(lots of shaved lids today) and you get hurt a lot.

  14. BahstonSuxEternal - Nov 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    One pitches and comes through in the biggest pressure situations, the other is a middle reliever.
    NO contest, fool.

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