Nov 15, 2012, 7:04 PM EST
In handing Miguel Cabrera the American League MVP award, the voters weren’t making a statement that Cabrera’s four additional points of batting average, his 14 homers or even his 56 RBI made him a better player than Mike Trout last season.
Because this isn’t really about who was the better player.
Sportswriters decided long ago that the Most Valuable Player isn’t necessarily the best player. Because the best player is often quite obvious. One doesn’t need any inside knowledge to deduce the best player. In fact, it’s very much in the best interests of the BBWAA to keep the MVP criteria ambiguous and controversial. It’s the debate that keeps the machine going.
Mike Trout was pretty obviously a better overall player than Miguel Cabrera this year. He hit .326/.399/.564 to Cabrera’s .330/.393/.606, while playing in the tougher environment for hitters. He also grounded into 21 fewer double plays. Cabrera was still probably a bit more valuable offensively, but Trout more than made up for that with his defense and baserunning.
So what trumps that…
Cabrera won the Triple Crown.
But he wouldn’t have been any more or less valuable had Jose Bautista remained healthy and hit 50 homers. It’s a really cool feat, but the title adds nothing to his value.
Cabrera’s team made the postseason.
But the Angels had a better record while playing in a better division. Also, for what little it’s worth, the Angels were 81-58 when Trout played and 8-15 when he didn’t.
Cabrera moved to third base for the good of the team.
He never wanted to move off third base in the first place. Trout opened the season in the minors “for the good of the team” and never uttered a peep, even though that decision could have cost him millions in future earnings, the Rookie of the Year award and, as it turns out, the MVP award.
Cabrera certainly did have better stats than Trout over the final five weeks. But here’s another truth: Cabrera’s RBIs were the difference in one Tigers victory down the stretch (3 RBI in a 6-4 win over the Twins on Sept. 29). Trout’s RBIs were equal to or greater than the Angels’ margin of victory on Sept. 30 against Texas (solo homer in a 5-4 win), Sept. 9 against Detroit (solo homer in a 3-2 win), Aug. 28 against Boston (two RBI in a 6-5 win) and also in that Aug. 23 game that no one wants to count (two RBI in a 14-13 win).
In my opinion, the best argument for Cabrera as the AL MVP is that he was the league’s second best player and he played in 22 more games than the best player, which has a whole lot of value. It’s hardly his fault, but the fact is that Trout contributed nothing for three weeks in April. Cabrera already had six homers and 16 RBI by the time Trout was called up.
And I’m OK with Cabrera getting the MVP. He’s been one of the game’s best players for a long time, and he hadn’t won one before. He’s not Juan Gonzalez; he’s a legitimately superb hitter and a sure-fire Hall of Famer unless he suddenly falls off a cliff. He wasn’t quite as good as Trout in 2012, but then, Trout’s 2012 campaign trumps that of most MVPs most years.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
Based on what we know at the moment, the Cubs’ offer is the richest one out there.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:15 PM EST
Swarzak was due for a raise to around $1.5 million via arbitration.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:03 PM EST
Technology itself hasn’t changed how reporters do their jobs. Rather reader demand, newly obvious by technology, has done so.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:47 PM EST
Matsuzaka spent the past two seasons with the Mets.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:20 PM EST
Martinez served as Joe Maddon’s right-hand man since 2008.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
They’ve been linked to Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. But another power bat is a possibility.
Nov 25, 2014, 12:46 PM EST
Lavarnway was once a top-100 prospect.
Nov 25, 2014, 12:15 PM EST
Breslow spent the past three seasons with the Red Sox.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:31 AM EST
Included: Fred and Jeff.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:03 AM EST
At least to the extent you still have them. Because it ain’t happening.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:30 AM EST
The first rule of Hall of Fame Ballot Club: Use all ten slots on your ballot. The second rule of Hall of Fame Ballot Club: USE ALL TEN SLOTS ON YOUR BALLOT.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EST
Nelson was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:55 AM EST
The Padres are sniffing around too.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EST
2015 is a big, big year for Yoenis Cespedes. And two other teams’ 2015 seasons will ride, directly or indirectly, on his value.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:02 AM EST
The press conference will come later today.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:15 AM EST
DiMaggio was great. But, according to baseball historian John Thorn, explaining the love for DiMaggio requires “analysis from Dr. Freud rather than Branch Rickey.”
Nov 24, 2014, 11:30 PM EST
Charlie Manuel most recently had the opportunity to become the Orioles’ new hitting coach but decided against it.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:25 PM EST
39-year-old catcher Jose Molina could be officially released on Wednesday.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:20 PM EST
The Phillies have another potential suitor for Cole Hamels, as the Dodgers have joined the Red Sox in the mix.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:15 PM EST
If the season started tomorrow, Xander Bogaerts would start at shortstop for the Red Sox. But there’s still a lot of off-season left.
- The Cubs have offered Jon Lester “north of $135 million” 0
- UPDATE: The Pablo Sandoval-Red Sox deal is done, pending a physical 133
- Kyle Seager, Mariners close to $100 million extension 25
- The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez are new on the ballot 285
- So what would the Red Sox look like with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval? 49
- UPDATE: Red Sox finalizing a 4-year, $88 million deal with Hanley Ramirez, with a vesting option 35
- MLB players react to Odell Beckham, Jr. catch on Sunday Night Football 27
- Report: Red Sox make $95 million offer to Pablo Sandoval 77
- The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez are new on the ballot (285)
- Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is backloaded. REALLY backloaded. (148)
- UPDATE: The Pablo Sandoval-Red Sox deal is done, pending a physical (133)
- Report: “There is a 90 percent chance that Pablo Sandoval will sign with the Red Sox” (130)
- Sexual assualt charges reinstated against Tigers pitcher Evan Reed (129)