Not much interesting to say about last night’s game. M’s lose, Washburn struggles, McLaren says dumb things in post-game interview. Pretty standard day all around.
So, let’s talk non-Mariner things for a second. Everyone always has an opinion on the postseason awards with new names just filling the template for people to rehash the same arguments every year. I’ve long since gotten bored with those arguments and don’t particularly care what the BBWAA as a whole thinks about too many things, so I don’t get wrapped up in those discussions any more. I find it hard to get too riled up about whatever mediocre player Jayson Stark decides to push as his MVP candidate of the year.
But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on who should win the awards, so, without further ado, here are my totally theoretical ballots, going three deep for each award.
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki, Jorge Posada
A-Rod ended this race a few weeks ago, and no one else should get a first place vote. Honestly, a vote for anyone else this year is just a sign of personal bias. A couple of up the middle players who both provide significant offensive value round out the top three.
NL MVP: David Wright, Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez
Wright makes it a clean sweep for New York third baseman in a year with a lot of solid candidates but no obvious answer. You could make a compelling case for Pujols or Ramirez (though his defense is attrocious), and the difference between the guy who finishes 1st and 10th on the ballot isn’t even that large. It’s a balanced field, but Wright gets the edge by a couple of hairs.
AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett
Johan’s still the best pitcher alive, while Sabathia has quietly put together a tremendous season as well. Beckett may get the actual award thanks to his win totals, but he’s thrown 20 less innings than Johan and 40 less innings than Sabathia – that’s too large a quantity to overcome when he hasn’t been demonstrably better on a per inning basis.
NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, John Smoltz
The gap here is a lot smaller than you may think as either Peavy or Webb is a deserving choice. But am I the only one who wonders why John Smoltz’s season has gone totally under the radar? The guy is 40 years old and hasn’t declined at all – he’s literally just as good now as he was in his prime. Amazing.
AL Rookie of the Year: Dustin Pedroia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima
Clearly, Boston’s reliance on three rookies to play major roles was evidence that the Red Sox don’t understand the value of major league experience. Those nerds and their calculators – when will they ever learn.
NL Rookie of the Year: Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Hunter Pence
Braun is putting the wraps on one of the great rookie seasons of all time. Just a monster of a debut. Tulowitzki’s glove has proven to be more than good enough for shortstop and his bat provides solid value at an up the middle position. That he got nearly 200 more plate appearances than Pence pushed him to the number two spot on the list.
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Torre, Mike Scioscia, Terry Francona
You can talk about payroll all you want, but Joe Torre’s team is going to play October baseball after having to give 23 starts to Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, Chase Wright, Jeff Karstens, and Darrell Rasner. That’s basically a rotation spot that they handed to Double-A pitchers due to the ridiculous amounts of injuries they faced, and they’re still going to win the wild card. Joe Torre doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how well he’s handled NY.
NL Manager of the Year: Manny Acta, Willie Randolph, Bob Melvin
The Nationals were supposed to be terrible. Instead, Acta has managed to take a team that epitomizes replacement level and turn them into a respectable club, winning games with minor league free agents and Triple-A veterans. Acta’s not perfect (see the Nook Logan fetish), but if I could choose anyone to manage a franchise next year, he’d probably be my pick.