Sep
10

Two curious choices for MVP

By

If baseball writers interpret Most Valuable Player as best player, Joe Mauer will be the clear-cut choice for AL MVP. He’s so far ahead of the pack, in fact, that, to quote Dave Cameron, his season might “go down as the best season any catcher has ever had in the history of the game.” That might sound like hyperbole, but in Mauer’s case it’s not. He won’t have the counting stats of Mike Piazza’s 1997 season, because Mauer missed the first month of the season, but his rate stats are as good as any catcher ever. Since catcher is obviously the most demanding position, and since so few catchers can actually hit, it’s tough to argue against Mauer as the AL’s best player in 2009.

The middle word in the acronym is what gives everyone trouble. Humans have tried to define value since we created the term, but to this day it remains ambiguous. Does “most valuable” mean best? If not, what does it mean? Baseball writers try to define it for themselves, and then vote on the MVP award accordingly. They are issued a set of criteria on which to base their selections, and even though said criteria makes no mention of a player’s place on a playoff team, many writers will vote only for players in a pennant chase. How can a player be most valuable to his team, the reasoning goes, if his team didn’t do anything?

Because of MVP’s ambiguous definition, there’s actually a conversation about who should take home this year’s hardware. So far as the Yankees are concerned, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira have entered the picture, though, again, neither is having as good a season as Mauer. They’re both not only on a playoff team, but the clear-cut best team in baseball. Other outsiders include Kevin Youkiis, Miguel Cabrera, and Kendry Morales. But once the ballots are filled out, it’s likely to be Mauer, Jeter, or Teixeira.

Ben, Mike, and I do not have votes. Even if the powers that be at the BBWAA decided one morning to go out and get full frontal lobotomies, they probably still wouldn’t let bloggers sniff a postseason award vote. But that won’t stop us from trying. Hell, I’m not even going to make my own argument. I’m going to cite two arguments from other writers, neither really associated with the Yankees, who have interesting takes on the term “value,” and in each case find a Yankee worthy of the MVP crown.

First up is Tommy Rancel, normally of DRays Bay, but here writing for Beyond the Boxscore. His pick for MVP is so out of the box that he doesn’t even play every day.

In 2007 the Boston Red Sox won the AL East, the AL pennant and the World Series. Who was on that team? Eric Hinske. Foolishly after 2007, the Sox let Hinske go to rival Tampa Bay. What happened in 2008? They lost to the Rays in the ALCS, and a team that had never won anything ended up AL East Champions, won the AL pennant and only lost the World Series thanks to B.J. Upton (when in doubt always blame B.J. Upton). Not learning from Theo Esptein’s mistake, Andrew Friedman let Hinske walk after the season.

Hinske then went to the Pirates, where he kinda sucked, posting just a .741 OPS with, get this, one homer. Rancel explains the change between the Pirates and the Yanks: “He needs a challenge. He is not an old starting pitcher who can’t handle the AL East. Hinske NEEDS the AL East. Since joining the Yankees his OPS is .949 with seven home runs in 65 at-bats. If you give him 600 at-bats he would hit 65 home runs at this current pace; baller.”

For those not following the argument, Rancel even includes a nifty graph which explains everything in straight forward terms.

QED, as my math buddies would say.

On a more serious, though still pretty ridiculous, note, Nick Kapur of Ump Bump takes a look at the WPA leader boards and finds another Yankee sitting atop, at least for position players: Johnny Damon. His 4.27 WPA sits behind Zack Greinke, 4.81, and Justin Verlander, 4.31, but is out ahead of the next highest position player, Jason Bay at 4.04, by a decent margin. Since WPA tracks the ebbs and flows of a game, trying to place a greater value on high-pressure situations, it could be argued that Johnny Damon is the position player most valuable to his team.

This presumes that we can evaluate a player in terms of WPA by adding up his figures from each game, coming up with a nice, neat number. This, I fear, is not the case. WPA is a nice narrative tool. It can show who made the biggest impact in any given game, and even then it has its shortcomings. For instance, it will oftentimes award a reliever, who pitches one inning late in the game, more points than a starter who went seven strong, but allowed a couple of runs and got no offense.

Yes, Johnny Damon has had some stupendously clutch hits this season. He’s been a rock in the No. 2 spot, providing timely hits and bombs over the short porch in right. That’s helped boost his WPA for sure, but it does not make him the MVP. Not of the AL, not even of the Yankees. It’s not a knock on Damon, really, but rather a testament to the seasons of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira.

Let me ‘splain. … No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Joe Mauer is the AL MVP. We can have fun talking about how it could be Mark Teixeira or Derek Jeter, and when the votes are counted it could very well be one of those two. But if the writers were more concerned with awarding the MVP to the league’s most outstanding player and not trying to come up with definitions of the term value, it would be Mauer. And it wouldn’t be particularly close.

Categories : Whimsy
  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I have no faith in the BBWAA to get either the AL MVP or AL CY right this season.

    /broken record

    • jsbrendog

      I have no faith in the BBWAA to get either the AL MVP or AL CY right this season ever

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Touche.

        • Bo

          You mean the same guys who vote non rookies for rookie of the yr? those guys??

  • Matt

    Shouldn’t a team be demonstrably better when the ‘MVP’ plays vs when they do not? The Twins were a .500 team without Mauer and they are a .500 now. Doesn’t look like the actual impact to the team shows him as most valuable.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      The team’s record is irrelevant. Joe Mauer’s numbers have done nothing but help his team win; it’s not his fault that the Twins don’t have a single starter with 20+ starts who has an ERA under 4. If we’re going by your qualification there, wouldn’t Alex Rodriguez be the MVP? I know he’s ripped the cover off of the ball and had a fantastic year, but there’s no way A-Rod’s the MVP this season.

      • Kiersten

        Still think A-Rod’s the MVP of the Yankees.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          I don’t.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Let me re-phrase. Normally, yes, he is their MVP in just about any other year. This year, though, with the year Jeter’s having at the plate and in the field, it’s Jeter all the way.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The reason the Twins were a .500 ballclub without Mauer is the same reason they’re a .500 ballclub with Mauer: Their pitching sucks.

      In fact, this revelation should illustrate all the more how silly it is to say that MVPs should only come from winning teams, because Mauer has been playing out of his skull, every day, for four months, and he still can’t make a dent in the team’s fortunes.

      Teams win because they have numerous excellent players. Not just one. No one player can singlehandedly make a team win.

      • Ed

        Mauer has been playing out of his skull, every day, for four months, and he still can’t make a dent in the team’s fortunes.

        I was 110% for Mauer as MVP until I read that sentence, but now you’re making me think about it. That’s probably the best argument you can make against giving Mauer the MVP.

        With A-Rod out, the Yankees were a mediocre team. Since his return, they’ve been the best team in baseball and no other team has been close to their level. Yet almost all of us here would say Jeter and Tex were more valuable than A-Rod, and you’d probably get a good amount of support for Damon was as well.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Because Rodriguez’s return was only part of what turned the Yankees around. Was it a big part? Yeah, definitely. But, the pitching also stated to get its shit right and that helped them a lot, as well.

        • whozat

          I was 110% for Mauer as MVP until I read that sentence, but now you’re making me think about it. That’s probably the best argument you can make against giving Mauer the MVP.
          With A-Rod out, the Yankees were a mediocre team. Since his return, they’ve been the best team in baseball and no other team has been close to their level. Yet almost all of us here would say Jeter and Tex were more valuable than A-Rod, and you’d probably get a good amount of support for Damon was as well.

          Wait…so do you think ARod should be in the discussion too?

          Correlation != causation. The pitching started to get a lot better after ARod got back, Hughes solidified the back end of the bullpen, DRob started contributing…lots of things that were good happened. For the Twins, their pitching has been consistently mediocre all year. What the hell do you want Mauer to do about that? Does their mediocrity lessen his contributions?

          • Ed

            Wait…so do you think ARod should be in the discussion too?

            I just said he’s the 3rd or 4th most valuable player on his team, so no.

            Correlation != causation.

            You really want to say there’s no causation in the team improving when you replace Cody Ransom (-0.6 WAR) and Angel Berroa (-0.8 WAR) with Alex Rodriguez (3.9 WAR) ?

            For the Twins, their pitching has been consistently mediocre all year. What the hell do you want Mauer to do about that? Does their mediocrity lessen his contributions?

            I don’t expect Mauer to do anything about it. I’m just pointing out that it’s hard to say that someone is the most valuable player in the league if his team isn’t noticeably worse when you take him out of the lineup.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              You don’t think the Twins lineup would get noticeably worse without Joe Mauer in the lineup? I think that “criteria” is also pretty shoddy, considering that applies to just about any good player on any team in baseball.

              • Ed

                This whole thing started with others discussing the Twins being a .500 with or without Mauer. That’s what prompted my commentary.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Ed – TSJC and others just explained this very well, but just think about this one little point about your confusion over this ‘the Twins were .500 without and with Mauer this year:’

                  How many games the Twins won in one small sample without Mauer and then in one larger sample with Mauer is completely irrelevant. The better question is how the Twins offense would have done in that larger sample without Mauer, and the answer to that questions is ‘much much much (times infinity) worse than they did with him in the lineup.’

                  Comparing win% from two different samples tells you nothing about Mauer’s effectiveness. There are entirely too many variables involved. You are assuming a completely identical performance by the rest of his team, not to mention their opponents, over the course of those two samples. You realize that, right? Joe Mauer couldn’t have done anything more this year to help his team win, it’s pretty much impossible for him to have had a better season.

                  If you owned a team, and you had a player at every position who was completely league average in every way, who would you pick to put on your team if you could only choose one: 2009 Joe Mauer, 2009 A-Rod, 2009 Tex or 2009 Jeter? You would obviously pick Joe Mauer, because he clearly had the best season of any of those guys (and anyone in the AL, for that matter). This is why he is, without a doubt, the 2009 MVP.

                • Ed

                  I think we’ve totally diverged here.

                  The Twins are .500 with or without Mauer is not my claim. Others made it, this discussion is based off that assumption, and I haven’t argued anything for or against that assumption. I’m simply continuing the discussion based on that assumption. If you’d like me to join you in finding things wrong with that assumption, I’ll gladly do that.

                  I’m not assuming anything about the rest of the team. I’m not in any way disputing that Joe Mauer’s 2009 season was the best performance of any player in the league.

                  My claim is simply that if you are going to claim that the Twins are a .500 team with or without Mauer, Mauer cannot be the most valuable player in the league because his performance, no matter how awesome it was, because it added negligible value to the team as a whole.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  The Twins also lost Kevin Slowey for the season, who was their de facto No. 1 starter. That’s a huge reason they haven’t been better w/ Mauer in the lineup.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  My claim is simply that if you are going to claim that the Twins are a .500 team with or without Mauer, Mauer cannot be the most valuable player in the league because his performance, no matter how awesome it was, because it added negligible value to the team as a whole.

                  And that claim is wrong.

                  See below.

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-575191

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “The Twins are .500 with or without Mauer is not my claim. Others made it, this discussion is based off that assumption, and I haven’t argued anything for or against that assumption. I’m simply continuing the discussion based on that assumption. If you’d like me to join you in finding things wrong with that assumption, I’ll gladly do that.”

                  But that’s not an assumption, that’s an assertion of fact. The only assumption being made here is the assumption that the fact that the Twins’ win% is the same with or without Mauer somehow reflects badly upon Mauer’s value to the Twins.

                  “I’m not assuming anything about the rest of the team.”

                  If you think the Twins’ win% with and without Mauer is relevant in the least, then you ARE assuming something about the rest of the team. Assuming the other players performed exactly the same in both samples is a necessary prerequisite to thinking the Twins’ win% with and without Mauer is relevant and reflects his value to his team. The only way the Twins’ win% with and without Mauer is relevant is if you eliminate all other relevant variables, of which the performance of the rest of his team is the most obvious.

                  “I’m not in any way disputing that Joe Mauer’s 2009 season was the best performance of any player in the league.”

                  But you are disputing whether Mauer is the MVP of the 2009 season. In your own words: “I’m just pointing out that it’s hard to say that someone is the most valuable player in the league if his team isn’t noticeably worse when you take him out of the lineup.” The player with the best performance should win the MVP award. So, yeah, you’re disputing whether Mauer performed best and should be the MVP.

                  “My claim is simply that if you are going to claim that the Twins are a .500 team with or without Mauer, Mauer cannot be the most valuable player in the league because his performance, no matter how awesome it was, because it added negligible value to the team as a whole.”

                  And there are numerous comments posted here in response to your claim that conclusively prove that the Twins win% with and without Joe Mauer in the lineup in 2009 is completely irrelevant to a discussion of whether or not Joe Mauer is the 2009 AL MVP.

                  You are not addressing the arguments posted that try to explain this to you, you just keep repeating this line that the Twins win% with and without Mauer means Mauer isn’t the MVP, so this conversation should probably just end. It’s more a broken record than a conversation at this point.

                • Ed

                  The player with the best performance should win the MVP award.

                  That’s you’re claim. That’s not the official criteria of the award and clearly is not how the award is given out. This post and all the discussion under it wouldn’t exist if it was that simple.

                  You are not addressing the arguments posted that try to explain this to you

                  Because the arguments against my posts have nothing to do with what I’m saying. I agree with all those points. But they shouldn’t have been made to me, they should’ve been made earlier in the discussion.

                  You’re still 100% missing my point yet dead set to prove me wrong.

                  I disagreed with the conclusion derived from a specific chain of discussion. We both that the conclusion is right. I pointed out that the conclusion doesn’t make sense based on how it was reached. You’re rightfully pointing out that the initial arguments weren’t very good, but for some reason you’re picking that fight with me.

                  so this conversation should probably just end. It’s more a broken record than a conversation at this point.

                  Agreed. I’m done now.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi a/k/a The Kurgan

                  “‘The player with the best performance should win the MVP award.’

                  That’s you’re claim. That’s not the official criteria of the award and clearly is not how the award is given out. This post and all the discussion under it wouldn’t exist if it was that simple.”

                  The player with the best performance is the most valuable player. That is the beginning and end of this discussion.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              You really want to say there’s no causation in the team improving when you replace Cody Ransom (-0.6 WAR) and Angel Berroa (-0.8 WAR) with Alex Rodriguez (3.9 WAR) ?

              Of course there’s correlation, and of course ARod’s valuable contributions are part of our success.

              The question is, are they the proximate cause? That’s much harder to judge. In addition to ARod replacing his replacement level replacements, we also got improved pitching from CC and AJ as they got comfortable with NYC, improved hitting from Tex as he got comfortable with NYC, a much improved bullpen with Hughes, Aceves, and DRob stepping forward, a Jeterian renaissance, etc.

              Can you assign all that to ARod’s return? Not so sure.

              • whozat

                this.

                Ed, you’re right that in the case of ARod there is certainly a causal relationship between the Yanks scoring more runs and his return from the DL. What I was trying to say is what TSJC said, better than I could.

                However, I betcha that the Twins are producing more runs with Mauer out there most days than with whoever their catchers were before that.

                • Ed

                  Ok, I see where we’re at now. You read too much into my initial A-Rod comments. Tommie is 100% right. My point with A-Rod was just that the team has performed significantly better with him than it did without him, yet there are at least 2 or 3 players more valuable to the team this year. I didn’t think there was a need to try to quantify his value further, but I guess I was wrong.

        • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

          I just love how you’re conveniently forgetting that the Yankees’ pitching staff was dreadful, and Mark Teixeira got off to a horrid start as ARod was on the disabled list.

          • Ed

            I’m not conveniently forgetting any of that – I’m usually the one pointing all that out when someone says “Look at how the team is with Hughes in the bullpen vs without.” It should go without saying that A-Rod isn’t the entire difference between a .500 team and a .750 team. He is one of the largest individual contributions to that difference though.

            Anyway, you’re focusing on the wrong part of my post. My point was pointing out that the Twins are a .500 with Mauer and were a .500 team without Mauer right before arguing that Mauer is the most valuable player in the league really hurts your argument.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              My point was pointing out that the Twins are a .500 with Mauer and were a .500 team without Mauer right before arguing that Mauer is the most valuable player in the league really hurts your argument.

              And again, no it doesn’t.

              Because just like ARod’s absence and subsequent return isn’t the only reason why the Yankees were average and then started winning, Mauer’s absence and subsequent return are not the only reasons the Twins were mediocre at first and remained mediocre.

              It’s still way more complex than that. There were other contributing factors that made ARod’s positive contribution show up as a more intense correlation in the W/L standings, and there were other countermanding factors that acted AGAINST Mauer’s positive contribution and made it show up as a net negligible effect in the W/L standings.

              Just like you can’t use the Yankees improvement in the standings as proof positive that ARod is the most valuable player, you similarly can’t use the Twins lack of improvement in the standings as proof positive that Mauer is NOT the most valuable player.

              There’s not a straight line between individual contributions and team wins and losses. There’s just not.

      • Tom in GA

        The argument requiring the MVP to come from a winning team is too silly. It’s an individual award, not a team award. Love Jeter and Teixera, but Mauer is the man this year, if the BBWA has its collective head screwed on straight. That may be asking too much, though.

      • Matt

        Ok so…since everyone always makes the argument that Mauer should get the award because he is a catcher, what is the team’s ERA since he returned vs league avg and the Twins when he was on the DL? Did the team improve there?

    • Mike HC

      Without Mauer, they may have/probably would have tanked after that .500 start, rather than maintaining .500 ball.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    That graph is hilarious.

    • Makavelli

      Hahaha yeah I laughed at work…

      Reminds me of the maddox.xmission.com article from a few years ago where he rants about people trying to act like Dave Chappelle…he had a graph with mathematical statistics saying “Percentage of those who are Dave Chappelle” and “Percentage of those who are not Dave Chappelle”

      It was pretty hilarious to say the least.

  • Kiersten

    That Hinske article was sarcasm, no?

    • jsbrendog

      yeshe started it with and ended with

      • jsbrendog

        haha oops he started it with < sarcasm and ended it with <
        / sarcasm

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Which was completely unnecessary.

          I hate it when people have to dumb things down for those who just won’t get it.

          • jsbrendog

            yup, but the problem is there really are people that dumb out there. coughcoughbbwaacoughcough

            • Tom in GA

              The evidence is clear. The pie chart is irrefutable. Hinske wins MVP.

          • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

            Yeah, but you being a blog author, I’m sure you’ve personally experienced that when you make a clever, sarcastic remark or post, some asshole totally misses it and just ruins everything.

          • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            That was a shot at Kiersten.

  • A.D.

    They should just change the award to: “Player of the Year” or “Most Outstanding Player” award and then the BBWA would easily vote for Mauer.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      You’d like to think that, but then I remind you that they put Jim Rice in the Hall of Fame, and you realize “Nope, these idiots will screw that up too.”

      • A.D.

        touche

    • Thomas A. Anderson

      Oh you mean this?: http://www.evergreenparkdiamon.....nAward.jpg

      For the love of peanuts and cracker jack, just make that the official Offensive Player of the Year Award and be done with this nonsensical debate. We’ll all be happier for it, I swear!

      • JGS

        I think the existence of the Aaron award goes a long way in muddying the waters for the writers–if the Aaron award goes to the best hitter, clearly the MVP must be different right?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I think how widely and universally ignored the Aaron award is makes any distinction between it irrelevant.

          Quick, without looking it up, name me 10 of the last 20 Aaron Award winners. I’ll wait.

          • jsbrendog

            name me one of the last 5 in each league…ca the majority of people even do that?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              (grabs Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez darts and throws them at the board)

              One’s too easy.

              • JGS

                hmm…the Aaron award is voted on by fans and members of the media? that’s just as silly as the All-star game vote

                yeesh, Aramis Ramirez won it last year over Pujols

                ok, fine. that award is worthless

              • jsbrendog

                exactly, you can only because you guess pujols, arod, bonds. but i doubt anyone really knows with any certainty

  • Pete C.

    Mauer’s the guy, he means more to Minny all by himself than Texierra and Jeter do to the Yanks. I didn’t think Mornaeau deserved his MVP while Jeter had the season he had a few years ago,but that’s the way it goes, it’s not like Jeter gets no recognition. And if you want to read some hysterically funny articles about last years MVP go to “bring glory back to Oakland”, Fletches’ hatred of Boston knows no equal.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    RAB site issue: Someone should tell Mike Bloomberg’s ad agency that his fancy Flash animated ad of “Jorge and Laura Posada endorsed me!” that it’s not click-through. I was trying to earn you guys some sweet ad-bucks by ogling some hot Laura Posada press conference cleavage, but I can’t click on the link; it goes nowhere for me.

    Anyone else having the same issue?

    • jsbrendog

      now that I want to try it and click it it won’t come up. so it goes.

      • jsbrendog

        it works for me, brings me here:
        http://www.mikebloomberg.com/i.....5QodIgm3Gg

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Maybe it’s me, then.

          Oh, and that dress? A-W-E-S-O-M-E. You continue to amaze, Laura.

  • whozat

    My predictive algorithm looks like this:

    0) Give it to Albert Pujols. If Albert Pujols does not yet play baseball, or has died, then…
    1) is there a gritty white middle-infielder on a playoff team onto whom a “sparkplug” narrative is easy to project? If so, start doing so in June and give him the award. If not…
    2) default to the RBI-man on a contender for whom the greatest number of dramatic, clutch hits can be remembered.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Pujols has jumped out to a full 1 WAR lead over Utley and Han-Ram in the last 2-3 days. Wow.

      • whozat

        Didn’t he have five homers this week? And a couple doubles?

        That guy is ridiculous.

        • whozat

          Seriously, if I were an MLB pitcher and I managed to strike him out, I’d almost ask for the ball. If I managed to make him take an 0-fer off me that day, I’d walk around for the next two days listening to nothing but “We are the champions” on my ipod.

          • jsbrendog

            in 606 plate appearances he has

            ::drumroll::

            56 (FIFTY SIX!!!!!) strikeouts…..

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              He’s like Joe Dimaggio, only with more power and less wife-beating.

              • jsbrendog
                • FL Yank

                  That was epic. Exactly what I needed before heading off to work.

  • Makavelli

    Does “most valuable” mean best? If not, what does it mean? Baseball writers try to define it for themselves, and then vote on the MVP award accordingly.

    All the awards don’t live up to their names. The Hall of Fame not only allows mediocre ball players into it…but it the title “Hall of Fame” actually suggests it could be something else. Anybody “famous” from the sport regardless of production perhaps. Or it could mean “fame” due to their production and accolades. If you just take “Hall of Fame” literally for a definition…Jose Canseco should surely be in it. But it’s not taken literally.

    The “Most Valuable Player” name isn’t taken literally either. They tally up the most RBI’s, Home Runs, Batting Average, among other things and they vote from there. Justin Morneau wasn’t even the MVP of his own team in 2006 and Dustin Pedroia wasn’t even the MVP of his own team last year in 2008. It’s a popularity contest plus production topped off with only a sprinkle of morality. The Twins had the best closer in baseball, the Cy Young Winner, AND the batting champion in 2006…and somehow Justin Morneau was the MVP? It’s because it’s the Twins and they never win anything. It’s all stereotypes and perception. You dismiss the fact that everybody on the team contributed and won something…because they’re the Twins…but you’ll due exactly what you should of done with the Twins with the Yankees…because everybody on that team is good and their the Yankees…

    Yeah, I know Arod won it twice with the Yankees but his numbers were ridiculous. Derek Jeter type numbers won’t win an MVP ever on the Yankees. It’s just how it’s perceived.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I disagree with your last point. Being on the Yankees is only helping Jeter’s MVP cause this season. If the SS for any team that wasn’t a front running team was putting up Jeter’s numbers, he wouldn’t even be in the discussion for MVP.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        If the SS for any team that wasn’t a front running team was putting up Jeter’s numbers, he wouldn’t even be in the discussion for MVP.

        To wit:

        Player A: 632 PA, .330/.397/.470/.867/128+, .385 wOBA, 97 R, 62 RBI, 17 HR, 25 SB, 6.2 WAR

        Player B: 484 PA, .331/.396/.517/.913/135+, .400 wOBA, 75 R, 61 RBI, 14 HR, 24 SB, 4.6 WAR

        Player A is Derek Jeter. Player B is Jason Bartlett. Jeter’s got the edge by playing in 17 more games (and playing better defense), but Bartlett’s been every bit the offensive force from shortstop that Jeter has.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          close HTML tag fail…

          • Tom Zig

            Shame on you.

        • Chris

          Derek Jeter’s defense >>>>> Bartlett’s defense

          (Who ever thought that would be true?)

      • Makavelli

        It works for the hype of acknowledgement perhaps…but it does the opposite once everybody sits down to vote for him I think.

        And Jason Bartlett is having a mighty fine season but his team isn’t really doing anything. He’s basically Derek Jeter, on another team that’s not in the playoff hunt. So if there are any grumblings about Mauer maybe not getting it for having disgusting numbers on a non-playoff team…Derek Jeter type numbers on a non-playoff team certainly won’t raise any eyebrows either.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          And our frustration with that is that a player’s value is high or low regardless of what the rest of the team does. The player’s team’s standing should have nothing to do with his winning of an award. No one would even be thinking of voting for Jeter or Tex if the Yankees weren’t steamrolling right now.

          • Makavelli

            Agreed. Personally, I think Mariano Rivera is (at least) the team MVP of the past so-many years…and I think we’ll notice it big time once he’s gone.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Disagreed.

              • jsbrendog

                seconded.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Thirded.

                  I love Mo, but… no. He’s not the Yankees MVP of the Torre-Girardi Era, he’s just not.

                • Makavelli

                  Who is? Eric Hinske?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  1) Jeter
                  2) Williams
                  3) Posada
                  4) Pettitte
                  5) O’Neill

                  …off the top of my head. I could go on. Cone, Clemens, Wells, El Duque, Moose, Tino, Giambi, ARod, all those guys could very well be more valuable than Mo as well.

                • jsbrendog

                  duh the graph said so

                • Makavelli

                  Well the beautiful thing about America is that I am able to have my own opinion. As you are able to have yours.

  • Marc

    The fact that there are people here making a case against Mauer is the most asinine thing I’ve ever read on this board.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Oh, come on now, don’t sell us short, this board gets way dumber than that.

      Wouldn’t you agree that the pitcher who goes 15-0 with a 5.00 ERA is better than the pitcher who goes 5-10 with a 1.00 ERA? Wouldn’t ya?

      /alexgonzalez’d

      • jsbrendog

        we’re all hoping that joba chamberlain becomes exactly what we want him to be. a lights out set up man. for comcast.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          (golf clap)

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Be fair, though… It’s only a couple of people. The overwhelming majority are being not-moronic about this.

  • FL Yank

    I would not be surprised at all if Jeter’s breaking of Gehrig’s record nets him the votes needed to yoink the MVP from Mauer’s grasp. Now granted it’s a horrible reason to vote for Jeter, seeing as how he didn’t get 2,100+ hits all in one season, but unfortunately that’s how dense some of these BBWAA voters are.

    • Makavelli

      I don’t think that will have any effect on the way they vote.

      Consistency doesn’t win many awards unfortunately. But he’s a Hall of Famer regardless and he loves to play the game. I’m pretty sure he’s content with his career thus far.

      • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “I don’t think that will have any effect on the way they vote.”

        I obviously don’t think the Yankees hit record is applicable in any way to a discussion of who should be the MVP, but you can’t say voters won’t be affected by it at all. Whenever this topic comes up in the MSM there’s already whispers that Jeter could get some votes as a sort of “lifetime achievement” award, a way to honor a great player who is having a great season and who has had a great career but who has never won the MVP award. You can’t say a voter who thinks that way wouldn’t consider an historical moment like Jeter passing Gehrig’s Yankees hits record, that’s precisely the type of person who would be affected by something like that.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Never underestimate the power of dumbness.

          Also, never trust a big butt and a smile.

          • Rick in Boston

            Despite hitting .262/.324/.422 (OPS+ of 91), Ripken got enough votes in ’95 to be in the Top 20 of MVP voting. That’s the year he passed Gehrig – those are lifetime achievement votes, something that BBWAA use all the time.

            • Makavelli

              Who was he up against?

          • Makavelli

            Or the power of taking everything literally…

            It’s quite powerful.

            • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              What do you mean? Did I somehow misinterpret your comment?

        • Makavelli

          You’re taking things way too literally again. Sure it might factor in a little bit but overall I don’t think it will matter or be that much of a difference.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Makavelli says:
            September 10th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

            Sure it might factor in a little bit but overall I don’t think it will matter or be that much of a difference.

            But, emphasis mine…

            Makavelli says:
            September 10th, 2009 at 11:31 am

            I don’t think that will have any effect on the way they vote.

            Bro, I love ya, but if you want people to stop taking what you say so literally, quit saying things in a literal and absolute manner. We have no choice but to respond to what you say, not what how you intend us to interpret the metastatement of what you’re saying.

            • Makavelli

              This is a message board isn’t it? I didn’t know I was writing my thesis paper.

              Like I’ve said before…I’m at work and I write things quickly because I’m doing a million things at once. I can’t always sit down and think things through exactly how I mean them I guess.

              I can’t blame you for thinking the way you do I guess but try and understand that I’m doing a bunch of stuff at once and I’m just kind of typing and hitting the button.

              • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Dude, that’s fine, but if that’s the case just explain so instead of getting annoyed with other people for fairly interpreting the words you post on the page. Say “yeah I wrote that quickly, my bad, that’s not what I meant” instead of “you’re taking the words I posted on the page too literally” as if someone is misrepresenting what you wrote.

                • Makavelli

                  Fair enough.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Exactly.

                  If we misinterpreted what you were getting at because you’re typing quickly and your ideas are rushed, don’t get mad at us for responding to what you wrote. Instead, apologize for not being clear and say what you meant.

                  It’s not our fault. We’re not meanies for taking your words at face value.

                • Makavelli

                  I understand. I just basically based it on my perspective of if I saw something like that…I wouldn’t necessarily assume that he meant “there is absolutely no way that this certain thing that happened has no bearing on their decision.” But when I reread it with a different point of view…where I don’t know anything about the person and assume nothing…it looks to be used literally. And for that I apologize.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Thanks.

            • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Thank you.

              Mak… If you feel like people don’t understand your true opinions, you need to make those opinions clear in your comments. We can only respond to the specific words you put on the page. You said “I don’t think that will have any effect on the way they vote.” How should I, or anyone else here, have interpreted that statement? Why would I think it means anything other than the plain meaning of those words?

              I really don’t understand your criticism of me, or other commenters here, for replying to the words you post in your comments. We can’t read your mind, you have to use your words more carefully and try to use words that represent your thoughts.

              • Makavelli

                I know and I’m not saying you can read my mind and in my last post I explained how I understand what you’re all saying. I tried to explain it in a previous post before saying how I just type things quickly. But whatever.

                I understand…I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  I saw your response above, thanks.

                  Even if you have explained it before and are explaining it now, you need to realize that in the future people will respond to the words you post on the page, whether they accurately represent the thoughts inside your head or not. We have nothing else to respond to, this is the medium through which we have our conversations here. So, when it happens, don’t say “well I told you last week, I type fast and sometimes what I type isn’t an accurate representation of my actual opinion, so stop reacting to those words like they are.” That’s totally unfair to the person who is giving a fair response to the words you posted on the page. Just say “what I wrote isn’t what I meant,” or “I misspoke.” No reasonable person could be mad at you for making a mistake and then just owning up to it, it’s really not a big deal.

                • Makavelli

                  I wasn’t exactly “mad” about it to be honest. I just responded with the thought that “why would anybody take that literally?” type of a thing…just assuming that nothing, especially decisions in baseball on mvp voting, are absolute or whatever. But you have no idea who I am so you could very well think that I actually believed that I really meant that it would have absolutely no bearing what-so-ever on their decision. It looked like it…I understand your response.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “I just responded with the thought that ‘why would anybody take that literally?’ type of a thing…just assuming that nothing, especially decisions in baseball on mvp voting, are absolute or whatever.”

                  Why would anyone take the words you post on the page literally? Mak… I really don’t mean to belabor this point… But why would anyone think you mean anything other than what you write on the page? This is the most important point here. If you misspeak, that’s fine and nobody will have any problem with it if you just explain so… But why would I have responded to the words you put on the page in any different way? I take your words literally because there’s no other way to take them. When you say “I like the color blue,” am I supposed to think “well that means he really doesn’t like the color blue?” No. When you say something, I (and everyone else) think you mean what you said. That’s just kinda how communication works.

                  Ok… Sorry, I’m dropping it. I appreciate you taking the time to actually address this.

                • Makavelli

                  While you and everybody else might be constant bloggers (I don’t know, I’m guessing)…I’m quite new at it. The way I always saw it…was like a “message board” style chat room. Where slang, misnomers, etc. were allowed just like speaking with your friends out at a party.

                  My point is, I’m not yet quite used to the whole blogging world thing…and I always assumed it was just a “small-talk” style friendly board. Now that I know it isn’t…I’m sure I’ll be able to make some adjustments…just bear with me.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  But you didn’t use slang or misnomers or anything of the sort. You used very clear language. It is small talk and friendly, nobody’s disputing that. All I’m saying is that if you say something it will be taken at face-value unless the context or tone of your comment shows clear sarcasm or that it’s clearly a joke. Your comment above, that spawned this entire conversation, did neither. You wrote words on the page, words with a very clear meaning, and then got mad at me for responding to the plain meaning of those words. I didn’t miss the meaning of slang or sarcasm. I want to drop this but you have to stop acting like I somehow missed your point and that was somehow my fault. You wrote a very clear statement with a very clear meaning, and I responded to it. If you didn’t mean what you wrote, that’s fine, but that has nothing to do with my interpretation of what you wrote.

                • Makavelli

                  If I was standing around my friends and said “I don’t think that it will have any effect on the vote.” My friends probably would have known what I meant. That’s basically it. They would know that I didn’t think there was absolutely no way possible that it would have any effect at all…while still knowing strongly that I don’t believe it’s at all likely. But whatever. At this point nothing is getting accomplished here. I tried to explain myself and you’re viewing as me refusing to admit I’m wrong basically…I admitted I was wrong…but I’m explaining myself that’s all. Either way…lets end this please.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “If I was standing around my friends and said ‘I don’t think that it will have any effect on the vote.’ My friends probably would have known what I meant. That’s basically it. They would know that I didn’t think there was absolutely no way possible that it would have any effect at all…while still knowing strongly that I don’t believe it’s at all likely.”

                  That’s… bizarre. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just say what you actually mean, or how your friends know you mean one thing when you say another thing altogether.

                  But yeah, consider it ended.

  • Bo

    MVP isn’t about being the top of some stat thing. It’s pretty clear. It’s common sense. And theres no way that anyone from a team thats under 500 should sniff the award. Winning matters. How valued are you if your team cant even finish 500?

    And you will all throw out “Mauer doesn’t pitch”. But hes the catcher. if he was so valuable he’d have that staff pitching better.

    • Marc

      And you will all throw out “Mauer doesn’t pitch”. But hes the catcher. if he was so valuable he’d have that staff pitching better.

      Now that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on this board.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        It’s up there.

        If only Mauer were Tek. Then he’d be MVP!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          You can’t make lemonade with lemons.

  • David

    As many others have pointed out, there are still 3 weeks of baseball to be played. So far, Mauer has been stinking at exactly the wrong time for his team.

  • ken

    i seriously doubt mauer’s #s would look like they do if he played in the AL east. the majority of his games are against .500 teams or worse.

    most valuable player and best player are not the same. mvp is a team award and jeter and tex are two pieces of a whole that, without them, would make the yankees much worse and make the division race an actual race.

    mauer is a great player, no doubt, but what kind of difference does he make to his team? i think bringing tex to 1st base and slotting him 3rd in the lineup has MADE this yankee team a juggernaut. you can’t say that about mauer because the twins with or without him are roughly the same in a mediocre division.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      i seriously doubt mauer’s #s would look like they do if he played in the AL east. the majority of his games are against .500 teams or worse.

      Twins games against teams above .500: 66
      Twins games against teams below .500: 73

      Yankees games against teams above .500: 74
      Yankees games against teams below .500: 67

      You’re talking about a 10 game swing, tops. The Twins schedule is 10 games easier than the Yankees schedule.

      They’re not going to make Mauer look pedestrian. He’d still smash the crap out of the ball in the AL East.

  • mryankee

    I think Mauer is probably the best all around player in baseball not named Pujols. Take into account his age his improvement and the position he plays. Dont forget that he essentially is the face of his organization and the city he plays. There is really only two great players on his team(morneau-Nathan)so he has much more responsibility on his team. What success they have had this year is mostly due to Mauer. As much as I love DJ you have to give the award to Mauer. Derek Jeter is agreat player playing alongside great players but Mauer is a great player on a very middling team. It took an extraordinary season for derek not to win MVP and Mauer produced that

  • Kered Retej

    Off topic: Love the Princess Bride shout-out.

    Slightly closer to topic: The meaning of “valuable” – “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    On Topic: “How can a player be most valuable to his team, the reasoning goes, if his team didn’t do anything?”

    I understand this is the rationale put forth, but I read the above quote from the post several times and it still makes no sense to me. I can get behind the idea that there may be qualities associated with being valuable that don’t show up in the statistics, but I can’t see why you penalize someone just because the other 24 guys on his team suck.

    • mryankee

      I think if the award is Most Valuable player then I would think Mauer is more important to his team-organization thhan DJ. I say that because the guy is having a one of a kind season for a team that is not that great-every night pitchers try to pitch around him and he still produces. I also think because of his being a catsher and a gold glove caliber cather at that-I am not saying DJ is not worthy because he is and in any other season he should get the award. I just think it would be hard to complain if Mauer got the MVP

    • jsbrendog

      see? derek jeter is such a good guy he comes on RAB all incognito spelling his name backwards like and argues for giving (however indirectly) mauer the mvp

      • Kered Retej

        That’s because I’m all about the wins. We gotta play them one day at a time. I’m just happy to be here, hope I can help the ballclub. I just wanna give it my best shot and, good Lord willing, things’ll work out.

        Also, I’m sleeping with Minka. MVP that, Mauer.

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    …ok, so i’m with most of you, but just let me throw this out there:

    so this guy wins a gold glove and a triple crown, and he can be any position player you want.

    yet he plays for today’s pirates, who just successfully guaranteed their 17th straight losing season–many of which were not all that close.

    just how valuable is that guy?

    now pretend his clone makes 10x as much as he does…does the higher paid one bring even less value to his team? value, to me anyway, is a measure of results per dollar.

    if somebody hits with the exact same line as Arod, but only gets paid $400k, wouldn’t his contributions have even more impact on a team?

    (i guess i need to point out that means i’m assuming the other 19.6M gets spent somewhere–or even exists, or maybe it doesnt need to exist, and the fact that it doesnt makes his contributions even more valuable)

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi a/k/a The Kurgan

      “yet he plays for today’s pirates, who just successfully guaranteed their 17th straight losing season–many of which were not all that close.
      just how valuable is that guy?”

      Just as valuable as he would be on any other team. You can’t penalize him for the performance of his teammates. One player’s performance has the same value on team A as it has on team B, no matter how many games either team wins.

      “now pretend his clone makes 10x as much as he does…does the higher paid one bring even less value to his team? value, to me anyway, is a measure of results per dollar.”

      Short answer: Money matters when you’re talking about value… If you’re a GM. As far as the players on the field are concerned, the word “value,” as in Most Valuable Player, means the player who performs the best. Money is irrelevant in that analysis.

      • Makavelli

        Value matters when you’re talking about money. Money doesn’t necessarily matter when you’re talking about value.

        Volunteer’s can be evaluated…and if certain volunteer’s aren’t helping out at all and just milking it to throw it on their resume or work off some community service…it could hurt them.

        Besides, the MVP award for the people who don’t make a lot nearly as much money is basically the Rookie of the Year award.

        Point is, sure money CAN be evaluated…but that’s the point of this part of the thread “Because of MVP’s ambiguous definition, there’s actually a conversation about who should take home this year’s hardware.” There is no clear cut definition…because if there was…a vote, perhaps, wouldn’t be necessary.

        • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “Point is, sure money CAN be evaluated…but that’s the point of this part of the thread “

          Right… And in my opinion, money is irrelevant.

          • Makavelli

            Yeah, I hit the reply to the wrong person. It wasn’t supposed to be towards your post but I saw the Short answer: Money matters when you’re talking about value part and got trigger happy.

            My mistake.

            • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              No worries.

  • Tank Foster

    Count me in with the people who think it should go to the best player, period. Considering other factors, such as whether the candidate’s team had a winning season or won the pennant, open the doors to a roomful of what is at best iffy subjective arguments and at worst a steaming heap of BS. This is one area where the stats can answer the question pretty definitively, or at the least get it narrowed down to 2 or 3 players. You’re talking about the entire season, and you can look at how much the player increased the team’s chances of winning…

    The big question here though is whether you factor in Mauer’s missed month or not. Maybe he still comes out ahead of Teixeira in terms of total contribution, but if he didn’t, and I had a vote, I’d vote for Tex. “Rate” stats, as Joe calls them, count, but not as much as totals. At least for the MVP.

  • Tank Foster

    Having said all that, I wouldn’t be surprised that if the Yankees won the AL or the WS, the writers give the award to Jeter…assuming he finishes out the season at current ‘rates.’

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I believe they vote before the postseason.

      • Tank Foster

        I thought maybe that was the case…But is it before the entire postseason, or just the WS?

        • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I’m pretty sure it’s before the entire postseason, but I’m sure you could find out via google.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          It’s before the PS starts. They just don’t announce it til after the WS.

  • Lawrence A. Herman

    Hey, Randy Johnson not only did the three-postseasons-with-3-different-teams-in-three-years in 1997-1999, but if he somehow gets healthy and returns to the Giants, and they make the postseason, he will have made the ostseason with his 5th different team. I don’t know if that’s a record, but it’s impressive.

  • DBG

    Has anyone given any love for Kendry Morales? Where would the Angels be this year without this guy? He is basically doing what Tex is doing for about 180M less, I would say that is a good investment, along with carrying his team when Vlad, Hunter and the rest of them were hurt, he kept that team afloat. Unless he falls apart in September, HE is the most deserving…