It is the nature of things anymore to regard tomorrow above today, and so within a few minutes of his winning the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, Justin Verlander(notes) was asked to assess his qualifications as AL MVP, the result of which will be announced Monday.
Unanimously voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the best pitcher in the league, Verlander took on the request without hesitation, but framed it less around himself than as an argument for a starting pitcher's value and how it can rival that of an everyday player's.
You've heard these arguments before. The heavy influence on that day's game. The impact on the bullpen, Verlander estimated, over three days.
"We are players," he insisted.
While that may be true, what caught my ear was something he said about the awards themselves. Granted, he said, the Cy Young is for pitchers, and the MVP historically has been for position players. Pitchers have their award. But that award is statistics based. It has zero to do with team success, not even wins.
So, Verlander asked – and I don't necessarily agree, but it was an interesting point – shouldn't pitchers be measured along with every-day players on the basis of value and (here's the tricky part) on the basis of how valuable they are compared to other pitchers? You know, whatever "value" means today.
Verlander will get MVP votes. He might even win in a vote that could be scattered.
Asked for a top-end MVP ballot, Verlander said he hoped old friend Curtis Granderson(notes) would win it, if Verlander didn't. He also mentioned Jacoby Ellsbury(notes). He did not cite Miguel Cabrera(notes), a teammate who won the batting title and carried a huge part of that offense. But there were a lot of questions flying and you can't expect a guy to remember everybody.
Anyway, Verlander sort of ran out of challengers after two.
"Everybody else involved has some flaws there," he concluded. "Maybe I can sneak in the back door. Who knows?"
"We wouldn't be having this conversation if not for him," he said. "We definitely wouldn't be having the MVP conversation."
The Miami Marlins aren't messing around. Their standing offer to Albert Pujols(notes) is believed to be for nine years. With a competitive average annual value (say $25 million), that's $225 million, minimum, and that's more than what the St. Louis Cardinals are believed to have offered in the spring. Is it possible that two weeks into November Pujols could already have what will be his best offer?
It's probably time to let go of whatever happened with the Ryan Madson(notes) negotiations in Philadelphia. That said, one source said the Phillies never got to four years. Another said they definitely went to four, but got caught up on the vesting option. …
Verlander is the ninth unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young and the first since Johan Santana(notes) in 2006. Verlander was Rookie of the Year in '06, when Santana made five starts against the Tigers and won three.
Verlander recalled thinking, "Oh my gosh, that's a big league pitcher. That's a stud."
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