I’m happy to welcome Steve B. to the Tigerblog staff. Steve’s first piece takes a look at the controversy surrounding A-Rod winning the MVP.
The Most Valuable Player Awards seem to stimulate a lot of debate each year and this year is no exception.
The American League MVP voting was very close with Alex Rodriguez receiving 6 first place votes and both Carlos Delgado (2nd overall) and Jorge Posada (3rd overall) each receiving 5 votes. Shannon Stewart received 3 first place votes and finished 4th overall and David Ortiz received 4 first place votes finishing 5th overall.
Not one person can call into question Alex Rodriguez’s statistical output or integrity as a baseball player. Yet, many people will debate his receiving the award because of Texas’ last place finish. If you see Jayson Stark’s most recent article and Rob Neyer’s rebuttle, it will give you the parameters of that debate. The irony of Rodriguez receiving the award during a time when there are many trade rumors surrounding him is not lost on me. If he were truly the Most Valuable Player, would the Rangers be trying to liquidate his contract? In his time with the Rangers, they have had to continually cut payroll and have attempted to build a respectable team after a series of poor moves and an overall lack of pitching talent. Rodriguez himself has been linked to the Rangers overpaying for Chan Ho Park as a free agent (Park and Rodriguez have the same agent). One has to feel sorry for A-Rod (excluding his bank account, of course) because he has quickly established a Hall of Fame caliber career, but among baseball fans seems to be losing respect for his accomplishments, even though they are still as eye-poppingly gaudy as they are.
Personally, if I had been able to vote I would have been split between Shannon Stewart and David Ortiz, ultimately voting for Ortiz. Ortiz was a valuable clubhouse presence on a playoff roster who was discarded in the off-season by the Twins and was able to resurrect his career in his new environs. His stats were comparable down the stretch to A-rod’s (again see Jayson Stark’s ESPN.com article) and his salary will not be the one that limits the Red Sox ability to make off-season acquisitions. Ortiz is a good baseball story and hopefully he will be able to replicate this year’s performance so that he will be considered for the award in future years. Stewart appeared to be the catalyst for the Twins successful run down the stretch, but that could be equally attributable to the fact that the AL Central is the worst division in baseball and the Twins finally emerged from their early season coma.
Ultimately, the bearing this has for Tiger fans is somewhat limited, I would like to picture what Dmitri Young’s stats would have been like had other members even had a pulse performance wise this season. The fact that only 6 players even had an OBP above .300 (none above .332) makes Young’s performance that much more remarkable.