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Price: Felix is the Cy Young winner, but Sabathia should be the AL MVP

Sep 28, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

That’s an argument you don’t hear very often, but Ed Price of FanHouse made it today.  After noting that people like me are probably going a bit too nuts in our Felix Hernandez campaigns — Price thinks Hernandez should and will win the award easily — he throws this out there: CC Sabathia is his MVP choice:

Can we really say that someone who isn’t the best pitcher in the league is the MVP? Yes. Looking at the Yankees rotation over the past two months, it’s pretty clear how much it has
meant to that team to have Sabathia pitch every fifth day — giving them
a much better chance to win and eating up innings so the bullpen was
fresh for the other 80 percent of the games.

I’m always open to novel arguments, but I still think this leans way too heavily on the “where would the team be without him” argument that I criticized Jon Paul Morosi for last week.  As Morosi himself noted, the two key measures of value as supplied in the actual MVP voting rules of the BBWAA are (1) games played; and (2) “actual value of the player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.”

I’m not sure why those who take a shine to the “where would the team be without him” measure read the “strength of offense and defense” clause out of it so completely. Value is being defined for you right there. Sure, there are many ways to measure offensive and defensive contributions — and viva la difference when it comes to that — but I don’t see how trying to guess how screwed a team would be without a guy measures “strength of offense and defense.”

When you consider a pitcher for the MVP — which you should, and which the BBWAA rules say you must — you have to value defense by run prevention, don’t you? I mean, that’s the pitcher’s job. And if you concede that Felix Hernandez is a better at that than Sabathia, I don’t see how you can then logically vote for Sabathia for the MVP without ignoring the rules of the BBWAA.

Not that I think either Hernandez or Sabathia have an MVP argument this year, but still.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    . Sabbathia should be the Cy Young winner, but Felix should be MVP because his .500 record was indispensable to the Mariners’ last place finish.

  2. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Sabathia isn’t even the most valuable player on his team. Mariano Rivera anyone?

  3. birdmancometh - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Please tell me you are kidding. I’m not always good at reading sarcasm on the internet, but i’m hoping that was a joke.

  4. DiamondDuq - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Am I missing something or is Craig the equivalent of Felix Hernandez’s Rachel Uchitel? Can you slurp someone any more without starting a sex scandal? Where’s TMZ?

  5. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    TMZ is probably busy reporting on traditional baseball writers and less-informed fans’ disturbing affection for pitcher wins as a measure for determining the Cy Young. Oh, wait — that’s still too common for it to be a news story.

  6. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    No, it’s not. If you replace Sabathia with a .500 pitcher, you’re effectively losing 7 more games (21-7 versus 14-14). You take Rivera and replace him with a medicore reliever or realistically Joba Chamberlain, and you’re costing yourself a LOT more than 7 games.

  7. John_Michael - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    I’m confused. I thought the BWAA used their votes to do something controversial in order to create a buzz which sells news papers and generates page views, or, at the least, to toss a vote to the home town guy which he trades on for greater clubhouse access and hometown reader goodwill.
    The whole ‘valuable’ part in MVP is not in regards to the player(s), but rather how much copy a BWAA member can produce with their vote. To believe otherwise is the same as still thinking the players play for the love of the game.

  8. Jonny5 - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Felix = cy young, Cabrera, injury and all = MVP, that’s my take. Don’t get me wrong, I do love me some CC though.
    How can a guy who pitches every 5th day be an MVP of anything? In that case I change my vote to Hamilton, but i can’t because he’s missed 30 games, which is much less than CC has skipped because he’s a pitcher. There are guys on the Yankees who caused them to win more than CC has.

  9. John_Michael - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    How many wins does Mariano have?

  10. kevinapps - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Rivera is 32/37 in saves.
    You think that a replacement would be worse than 25/37?? I highly doubt it.

  11. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    How many saves does he have? And if I recall, he pitches more than every five days and almost always in very close games. And up until about a week ago – when the games really mattered as far as making the playoffs – he hadn’t given up a run since like May.

  12. John_Michael - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    I disagree with you regarding Mo and CC. The wins thing, though, was wildly sarcastic.
    Why do starters get more money in free agency than closers? Because they’re more valuable, that’s why.

  13. DiamondDuq - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    That’s all well and good but if a point is valid then it doesn’t need to be beaten to death. Seriously, how many days in a row does someone need to have a blog post dedicated to “This is what I think, I’m right and if you disagree then you’re simply an idiot” before their once valid message becomes white noise no better than uninformed pundits shouting random thoughts? I don’t specifically know that answer but the whole Felix Hernandez thing has crossed that line, especially on this blog! I’d be inclined not to vote for him simply to spite all this amateurish bantering.

  14. Mr. Heyward - Sep 28, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Craig replies on this blog to other writers who have already broached the topic. There is a group that clearly favors CC over Felix for reasons that Craig aptly describes as, for lack of a better term, idiotic. As more arguments are presented for CC, Craig rebuts them from his perspective (being a legal dude and all). I’m sure we, the readers of HBT, can generally agree that Felix wins over CC, but I also like to hear why others don’t think so, and that is what Craig provides. So why whine about it? If you don’t want to read the post then make ample use of your scroll wheel and move, as Jay-Z says, “on to the next one.”

  15. David - Sep 28, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    What “value” has Felix pitching added to the Mariners this year? Kinda like Gator said.
    1 win to the Yankees is an enormously valuable thing right now, so every WAR Sabathia produces could be the difference between home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS or hitting the road for both.
    Felix has been worth a half-win more thus far (according to baseball reference WAR figures), but what are those wins worth to that team?
    I don’t know if I buy the argument entirely, but it certainly is a reasonable argument to make.

  16. Drbondz - Sep 28, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Give it all to Sabathia. Accomplishing what he has while 8 months pregnant (see photo) is amazing.

  17. Kiwicricket - Sep 28, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Whats wrong with Lester?

  18. sportsdrenched - Sep 28, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    Why do starters get more money in free agency than closers? Because they’re more valuable, that’s why.
    Wrong, It’s because good ones are harder to find, and a team requires more of them.
    While monetary value to an organization, and contribution value to an organization are linked, they’re not always the same thing.
    Just ask ManRam….and Jose Bautista

  19. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    A closer isn’t hard to find. An incrediblly elite closer that remains elite for the better part of 15 years is nearly un-findable. A 0.86 WHIP at age 40. Yikes. And that is AFTER this rough patch. Double yikes.

  20. JasonC23 - Sep 28, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    That’s exactly what happened to the Twins when they lost Nathan before the season. Look how much they’ve suffered with second-rate closers!!
    Oh, wait…

  21. Judy - Sep 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Halladay is easily the MVP on the Phillies this year.

  22. Proudly Canadian - Sep 28, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Nothing is wrong with Lester. He is the second best pitcher on his team. The best pitcher on the Red Sox is 17 & 7 and has a 2.33 ERA compared to the 2.31 ERA of Hernandez. Buchholz has a chance to finish the season at 18 & & and just might end up with a better ERA than Hernandez.

  23. howitzer819 - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Without Felix Hernandez, the Mariners would be a last place team that was a sexy pick to win the AL West prior to the season… With Felix Hernandez, the Mariners ARE a last place team that was a sexy pick to win the AL West… Sabathia won 21 games on a team that those 21 games mattered to… As far as David Price goes, if you win 19 games and none of your home “fans” are there to see it, did it really happen?

  24. BigdogpoppaD - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Dude, where have you been, UNDER A ROCK? 3 Blown Saves in September when it matters. 2 pitches, fastball cutter and barely over 90 mph. And did you see the Red Sox swipe 4 bases in ONE INNING. You must be kidding me. He gets a save by getting 3 outs! That is 1/9th of a game in case you are having trouble with the math Einstein!

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