Friday, September 15, 2006

Let Jeter have it.

Anyone know the last time an MVP played for a World Champ? 1988 – Kirk Gibson. Blame it all you want on the extra tier of playoffs. But maybe the baseball gods are finding away to dish out some karma. That is a lot of postseasons. The extra tier probably has something to do with it, but also teams with the MVPs are often (by the now widely accepted definition/application) mediocore teams with player that "carries the team on his back" to the playoffs. Problem is, once the playoffs arrive, neutralize the MVP and you are left with a mediocore team. Deep teams with strong pitching win in the post season. Take the 2004 Sox - Ortiz did not really arrive as an MVP type until the postseason. Manny, who led the league in HR and OPS was a distant 3rd.

For so many of the last 25 years, I think us Boston fans have focused way too much on personal achievements. So while Clemens and Pedro were winning Cy Youngs, Mo was winning his MVP and we were bellyaching that Pedro was robbed in 1999, Boggs, Lansford and Nomar were winning batting titles, it made us feel better about not winning the ultimate prize. In essence, the individual accomplishments were nothing more than consolation prizes.

So if it takes Jeter winning the MVP to assure a joyless winter in the Bronx, then by all means cast your vote for the Yankee Captain.


  1. I'd be nice to HAVE a vote. No way the Yanks clinch while playing us...that would be a bitter end to this season. And it is so preventable.

  2. speaking of bitter....

  3. One more thing on awards, as I thought about it more, I thought that we would see more teams with Cy winners winning WS (since pitching wins), but that wasn't really the case. In the same period, 3 teams with Cy winners won the WS (2001 D-backs, 95 Braves and the same 88 Dodgers).


  4. I would guess that's because 1 pitcher can't really win the whole thing for you...

    Pedro couldn't do it by himself, although he immensely helped the Sox during his tenure...But the Sox got tremendous pitching from everyone when it counted...

    I don't think that there is a clear cut winner...If I were a Yankees fan, I might think that Giambi carried the team for a while. And certainly Wang has been huge!!!

    Jeter is very good. But, has he carried the Yankees? If the Yankees hadn't had Melky Cabrera, they would have had huge problems.

    I would say that Jermaine Dye deserves it just as much as Jeter or Papi.

    The question is...Was/is Jeter the most important player on the Yankees this year? I think that can be debated. Picking up Abreu really gave that team a huge lift, too...

    Is Papi the most important player on the Sox? Without a doubt. However, the Sox suck otherwise...

    So, who deserves it? Who cares? Jeter will probably get the gold glove for SS when it is CLEAR that Alex Gonzalez is the best fielding SS in a very long time...These awards are designed to keep baseball in the public eye year round...nothing else...

    And, if arguments are to be ended...then draw up specific milestones that players must reach to acquire the title of MVP, or gold glove, Cy Young, etc...

  5. I agree 100% about Yankee fans thinking Giambi is their MVP, but (as I’ve posted before), they can’t argue for him because their argument last year against Ortiz was that a DH can’t win the thing. Plus voters can’t pick Giambi with his .250 AVG. But he has delivered the big hits for them.

    The problem with Jeter as most valuable player, is he really that “valuable?” I think the Yankees would have won the East with Miguel Cairo playing SS every day. Seriously. That’s why I have to disagree with you when you say the Yankees would have been in trouble without Cabrera. They really could have plugged in anyone and they would have been fine. He has a (below average for a corner OF) .760 OPS and that is after a monster August – he was .730 in the first half. And even without Abreu they would have been running away with the division, so he is more of a postseason addition.

    Up until a week ago, the Yanks had been “only” 22-15 since they got Abreu. And I say “only” because remember they won 5 straight against the Sox. Without that they were 17-15. Now they have won 6 straight against TB and BAL. So they appear to be very streaky.

    It’s fun to argue Most Valuable and its stuff like this that make baseball so much more interesting to follow than any other game.

  6. Yeah, I wrote that last comment a little quickly...X, you and I are agreeing. I don't think that Jeter carried the Yankees. My point is that, at points, one Yankee or another has stepped up and carried them for a while.

    I agree that they win the East with someone else playing short...But the Sox do not have the record they have without Papi...that is for sure.

    One could argue that Damon put up better than Jeter numbers when he was here, and certainly his numbers from the leadoff spot sparked the entire team. His defense (not his arm) was great. But he was never a legitimate candidate for MVP.

  7. Exactly. We are kind of seeing it right now in reverse. Now that Manny is out, they pitch around Ortiz. 4 walks last night. He’s having his least productive month with the Sox ever, as I’m sure when he is not walking he is swinging at borderline pitches.

    I think there is some lifetime achievement factor going into all this Jeter for MVP stuff.

    And to follow up on one other point, agree 100% that one pitcher can’t carry a team, but it can certainly go a long way. Cy results to World Champs

    2005 – Buerhle 5th Garland 6th
    2004 – Schilling 2nd Pedro 4th
    2003 – Dontrelle was ROY
    2002 – Washburn 4th
    2001 – Unit won, Schilling 2nd
    2000 – Pettite 4th, Clemens 6th
    1999 – Rivera 2nd, Cone 6th

    So definitely a Cy presence in champions – at least someone who was in the discussions in most cases. Compare to MVP.

    2005 – Konerko 6th
    2004 – Manny and Ortiz 3 and 4
    2003 – Juan Pierre 10th
    2002 – Garrett Anderson 4th
    2001 – Luis Gonzalez - - 3rd
    2000 – Jeter 10th
    1999 – Jeter 6th

    The differences might seem subtle, but starting pitchers bear a disproportionate amount of influence on the outcome of the game. And none of these champs had a higher finisher in MVP than Cy Young. And I suspect that the trend would go back further – I just stopped after 99.

  8. In 03 Beckett was the stud in the WS...Yes, Willis was ROY, but Beckett killed in the post-season.

    Definitely need two quality pitchers. You can even look at the entire Yankee staff during their run. Great pitching. Every game was a challenge to other teams.

    Slugging your way to a championship is very difficult...In fact, if we look back over the past winners, when was the last time a team really beat up on someone without great pitching to win it all?

  9. Agree you need more than one pitcher, but it is kind of a misconception that the Yankees had great pitching during their run - they were a really balanced attack and had some strong bullpens. but with the exception of their dominant team in 98, each team really only had two strong ptichers.

    Pettite and Cone in 96.
    Cone was their only real ++ starter in 99.
    Really only Clemens in 2000 (that team only won 87 games in the regular season).

    Hell even in 98, Pettite was average and Irabu started 30 games for them. It doesn't hurt when 6 of your 9 starters have an OPS+ of 123 or higher.

    they only led the league once in ERA in that stretch (granted they were 2nd another year).

  10. Jared Weaver - no hitter thru 4.