First off, let me say congratulations to the Most Valuable Player in the American League for 2008, Mr. Dustin Pedroia. I won't even hold it against Mr. Pedroia that he plays for the Red Sox. Promise.
You know, I really have absolutely no clue what I'm going to write about this morning. All of the postseason awards have now been awarded, so not a whole lot to talk about there. Not much movement on the free agent market, and, honestly, there probably won't be any until after the arbitration deadline has come and passed. Hell, we can't realistically expect much more to get done until the winter meetings start up. Add to that the fact that I'm suffering from a wicked case of writer's block this morning, and you have the makings of a nasty, nasty chore.
I just went and put on an Ennio Morricone record on the stereo. (Morricone is the guy who composed all the music for the spaghetti westerns, the Sergio Leone stuff.) I've decided to treat this entry as one would a showdown. I shall face down the doldrums of baseball news in the dusty square of VEB Town. I doubt that I shall come out the winner, but at least I will go down shooting.
First off, let's take a look at Pedroia. Jon Lester is probably the crown jewel of the Red Sox' player development wing on the pitching side (with an honourable mention to Papelbon), and I would have to think Pedroia might be that guy on the positional player side. Youkilis is great and all, but Pedroia's got positional scarcity on his side, big time.
Pedroia was taken in the second round of the 2004 draft, #65 overall. Should I bring up the fact that the Cardinals passed on taking him, not once, but twice? Should I also include the fact that with said picks the Cards took Chris Lambert and Mike Ferris? Nah, you're right. Probably best not to bring that up.
I have to say, it was a tough year to be trying to pick the MVP in the AL. There wasn't a single performance that was just so outlandishly good (such as the one put up by our own Senor Albert), it was impossible to ignore. That being said, I am a bit shocked that Grady Sizemore didn't get more support. Awful team or not, batting average of .267 or not, 30/30 seasons don't just come along every day. Of course, public enemy #1 in New York, Alex Rodriguez (also known as Captain Choke), had a pretty decent season as well, with a .965 OPS, exactly 100 points higher than that posted by Pedroia. Or what about Joe Mauer? Mauer seems to be the forgotten man around baseball, finishing behind his own teammate Justin Morneau despite having an OPS only nine points lower (.863 vs .872), while playing a position as far away from Morneau's as you can possibly get on the defensive spectrum.
Still, I find it tough to argue against the Pedroia selection. By most metrics that I've seen (and I am nothing if not suspicious of defensive metrics), he plays somewhere between solid and plus defense at a premium position. His .865 OPS this season was 172 points higher than that of our own Adam Kennedy, and only 50 points less than that of Chase Utley. In short, Pedroia was an extremely valuable player this year for the Boston club. Was he the Most Valuable Player? Tough to say, but I certainly don't see it as any sort of travesty.
In slightly more Cardinal-related news, Jeremy Affeldt is officially off the market, as I'm sure most of you have heard already. I suppose it isn't a huge tragedy, missing out on a guy like Affeldt, whose career numbers are, shall we say, somewhat less than spectacular. Even so, I'm more than a little bit disappointed to see Affeldt somewhere else. I thought he would have been a perfect fit for the Cardinals, both as a reliever from the left side and also as a possible candidate to fill that Brad Thompson sort of swing man role. You can easily fill out a bullpen without having a bunch of sinister arms; the Angels managed to have one of the best bullpens in all of baseball despite the lack of a single lefty for a couple of years. Still, Affeldt I thought offered a great opportunity for the Cardinals. Great stuff, still young, all the peripherals pointing the right way. Oh well. I suppose that Mo and Co. were looking elsewhere. I just hope that Ohman or whoever they've decided to fixate on ultimately ends up being worth it.
Affeldt is the very first free agent of the year to sign, which strikes me as a bit odd. Not because of who the player himself is, mind you, but because of the team he signed with. I'm more than a little bit puzzled by the Giant's motivation here. I understand that lefty reliever may have been a weak spot for the Giants last season (I honestly have no idea if that's true or not), but when you're in the position that San Francisco is in, don't you think you might want to start your massive rebuild somewhere other than left handed relief pitching? Please tell me I'm just missing something here, because I'm just kind of at a loss.
Well, awards season is officially over, and I can't really argue with virtually any of them. (Well, except the Gold Gloves, but let's face it; those are a joke anyway.) How about you guys? Any one single award you felt was just a complete sham this year? For reference sake, here's the list of the major awards:
- NL MVP- Albert Pujols
- AL MVP- Dustin Pedroia
- NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum
- AL Cy Young- Cliff Lee
- NL ROY- Geovany Soto
- AL ROY- Evan Longoria
- NL Manager of the Year- Lou Pinella
- AL Manager of the Year- Joe Maddon
Really, the only one of those I really disagree with is Pinella, but that could be just because of my irrational hatred for all things Cub.
So, last chance everybody. You got a beef with an award? Put 'em all right here, because we'll be into the Hot Stove talk thick of things before you know it, and these awards will be largely ignored until time comes to hear about them throughout 2009.