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Jon Morosi: finding new ways to support Miguel Cabrera for MVP depending on the circumstances

Sep 16, 2013, 2:07 PM EST

You don’t have to have some set of hard and fast rules about how you feel about awards if you don’t want to. Feel free to go with your gut each year. Feel free to just vote for your favorite player all you want. Or not. I don’t care. And if you think Miguel Cabrera is the MVP this year I won’t quibble at all. Wonderful choice and I won’t squawk a bit if he wins the award.

But if you claim to have rules for such things, don’t change them every couple of years and claim you’re consistent.

Here’s Jon Paul Morosi a few minutes ago:

Jon Paul Morosi in 2010:

In 2010, of course, the Tigers finished 81-81 and were out of the playoff picture while Hamilton’s Rangers won the AL West with a huge assist from Josh Hamilton. I guess that whole thing about “helping their teams win division titles and make the playoffs” criteria for the MVP award only matters when it helps Miguel Cabrera and doesn’t matter when it hurts him.

For what it’s worth, here was Morosi’s full rationale for Cabrera over Hamilton in 2010. It can be boiled down to “the Tigers would be AWFUL if it wasn’t for their one awesome player. The Rangers, on the other hand, have lots of awesome players, so Hamilton is not necessarily as important.”

In other words: the exact opposite of what his argument for Cabrera would be this year, should he go with Cabrera. Which, given his “playoffs are essential” criteria seems about right.

  1. Kevin Gillman - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    I know this, and many of you can disagree with this, but this season’s MVP should not center around Mike Trout. He’s having a great season, and I truly believe he will win it someday, but not this season. The two favorites right now are either Miggy or Chris Davis. But we still have 2 weeks to go.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Trout won’t win this year because a significant number of the voters do feel the team accomplishment of making the playoffs is important in deciding an individual honor like the MVP award.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        But the “V” in MVP means Valuable, is it not? Then again, maybe it’s my own bias since I have seen Cabrera play many times against my Indians, but Cabrera still is the best hitter in all of baseball. Again, Trout will get this award soon enough, then again, the Angels need to learn how to build a TEAM around him, and not just spend the most money.

      • alang3131982 - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        Well, trout has had similar production and is paid a significant amount less than Cabrera. So does that make him more valuable?

        What does someone’s team have to do with someone’s value. if you switched Trout and Cabrera, the Tigers would be good and the Angels not so good, does that mean Trout is the MVP in this bizarro scenario? If so, your notion of value is just arbitrary.

      • b453841l - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        @KG: If 2013 Morosi is correct, the “V” stands for “Victories.”

      • raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        Pulled this off the BBWAA website, it’s the instructions the voters get:
        “Dear Voter:

        There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.

        The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:

        1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.

        2. Number of games played.

        3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.

        4. Former winners are eligible.

        5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.

        You are also urged to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10. A 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. You must fill in all 10 places on your ballot. Only regular-season performances are to be taken into consideration.

        – See more at: http://bbwaa.com/voting-faq/#sthash.4nfGVhPq.dpuf

        As you can see, it does not give a good definition of value but does specify the winner need not be on a playoff team. Thus, we can debate forever about what value is. I will remain steadfast that team accomplishments should not be part of an individual award for a player.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      apologies if this posts twice, stupid wordpress

      He’s having a great season, and I truly believe he will win it someday, but not this season.

      And this was the same excuse used last year. How many more great seasons does he have to have before we realize, holy shit this guy is the best player in the AL and should be voted as such?

      • tc4306 - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        “How many more great seasons does he have to have before we realize, holy shit this guy is the best player in the AL and should be voted as such?”

        And therein lies the rub. The MVP, as in hockey, (I’m not sure about football or basketball) is not an award for the “best player.” It is an award for the player JUDGED to be most valuable to his TEAM in the current year.

        The very word “judged” is enough to drive the stat heads to drink, but so be it.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        tc just said it best right below here, the “V” in MVP means VALUABLE. Where would the Angels be without Trout? Probably 5th place, okay actually 4th. I think Astros would be in 5th place regardless. But do you think Baltimore would be contending for a playoff birth without Davis? Probably not, but what about Tigers? Would they be in 1st place without Miggy for a signifigant amount of time? Probably not, and I say that with the utmost respect for the Tigers, but let’s put it this way, the Indians went 4-15 against the Tigers this season. You reverse some of those games, without Miggy, the Indians would be in 1st place. Miggy has had many hits against them. Those numbers ALONE warrants his MVP award.

        Maybe if they have an universal rule for MVP, they would change things, but it is what it is.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        You reverse some of those games, without Miggy, the Indians would be in 1st place. Miggy has had many hits against them. Those numbers ALONE warrants his MVP award.

        Tigers hitters by wRC+

        Cabrera – 195
        Peralta – 125
        Fielder – 126
        Jackson – 113
        Martinez – 108
        Hunter – 112
        Tuiasosopo – 133 (half the games)

        Looks like a pretty great lineup to me. What about pitching?

        FIP (AL rank)
        Sanchez – 2.47 (1st)
        Scherzer – 2.68 (3rd)
        Fister – 3.29 (8th)
        Verlander – 3.41 (10th)
        Porcello – 3.72 (18th)

        The reigning CY is 10th in FIP, in the entire league, and is FOURTH on his team! How can you honestly use the “if he weren’t in the lineup” excuse when he’s on a great hitting team with phenomenal pitching?

  2. raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    I’m amazed you’d recall a three-year-old tweet to be able to call him on the inconsistency in reasoning for his Cabrera support.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      I remembered him supporting Cabrera over Hamilton in 2010, searched the HBT archive and found that I wrote about that then. Happened to see the tweet linked there.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Okay. That makes more sense to me now.

    • Eric Chase. - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      I get that JPM may just be exercising homer-ism, but three years is a long time to gather, digest and accept new information. More than enough to alter an opinion or tenet.

      • Mark - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Your comment would make sense if Morosi was learning to go from say, using BA to OPS. That’s a legitimate change in understanding in how the game works, and it wouldn’t be an issue if one year he used BA and 3 years later said “I know I used to argue this, but I found out OPS is a better stat to evaluate hitting”. Hell, he could say “I like player X over player Y because of OPS” and that would still be fine, because he’s showing he can recognize changes in how we evaluate hitting.

        It’s another thing entirely to say “Pick the guy on the last place team because he’s awesome and don’t penalize everybody around him” to “pick the guy on the first place team because he led them to a division title”. The OPS example shows a change in understanding how baseball is played, whereas the argument Morosi used was just proof that he’ll make up whatever argument he wants regardless of what he’s said in the past to support the player he wants to win.

  3. paperlions - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I have two stacks of money. In one there is a 50 and 5 ones. In the other, there are 4 tens and 2 twenties. Which bill is the most valuable?

    The best player is always the most valuable player….because value is actually why people say he was the best. Favoring a player because his team mates are better is warping the definition of value to one end, and disingenuous at best.

    Trout has again been the best player and easily the most valuable, who the award is given to is rather irrelevant at this point.

    • Alex K - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      I’m glad I read all the comments before I wrote one, because I was going to try and make this point in a much worse way.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      I’ve really stopped caring about what Jon Morosi and his ilk think. And it’s a shame, because I’d love to argue for months on end about who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame or who the most valuable player in the American League is. But the people who are actually voting on these things are so bad at it, I’ve stopped caring what their verdict is.

  4. frank35sox - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    The fact that the Angels are terrible will have no bearing on Trout’s chances of winning the MVP. The fact is, Cabrera has an OPS that is 200 points higher and most voters weigh offensive statistics more heavily than defensive ones.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      Or baserunning.

      I mean, the year that Morneau won the MVP instead of Jeter or Mauer. Crazy.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        Hell, even Johan. Morneau won the award when he was only the third-most valuable player on his own team.

  5. moogro - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Feet meet fire. Love it.

  6. 1ambetterthanyou - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    You people need to get off the computer at least once a day and come to the realization no one really cares about the MVP. Seriously…..how much time do you spend debating this crap every year?

    • raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      Glass houses, dude. While looking down your nose at those of us who enjoy debating on this blog, you make yourself look foolish by reading and commenting yourself. If it is such a waste, the stop wasting your own time commenting here. I promise we won’t hold your absence against you.

  7. downhillrider - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    a bunch of made up stats to try and deny a guy who will fall just a few homers short of back to back triple crown. ya, that triple crown, and ya his team is in first.

    Not a Tiger fan.

    • matthiasstephan - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Are you kidding? With the way Davis is hitting, it is far more likely that he passes Cabrera in RBI (only 2 behind) than Cabrera catches him in HR (7 less).

      Of course, using WAR Trout is head and shoulders above the rest.

      Either measure you use, WAR or traditional stats, Cabrera shouldn’t be the MVP. Trout or Davis.

      Besides, Cabrera is falling off towards the end of the season, exactly the charge against Trout last year.

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