Baseball awards are a funny thing. Everybody seems to have a different definition of what each award means. Should the rookie of the year award go to a pitcher or a position player, and how do you compare the two? Should wins or WHIP or ERA or even more advanced stats be used to determine the Cy Young winner? Just what does the valuable in MVP mean?
To me, the easiest way to avoid the main problems associated with the MVP award would be to change the name to the MOP (most outstanding player).
Joe Mauer won the MVP this year and he did it almost unanimously. But if he hadn’t led the Twins to their improbable playoff berth, would he have won the award? We’ll never know, but when it looked like the Twins would finish out of the playoffs, there sure was a lot of noise about how “a player can’t win the MVP if his team didn’t make the playoffs!” If the award were the MOP, that wouldn’t have been a concern.
No matter though. The Twins made it and Mauer won the award.
But still, what does valuable mean? If you look at Mauer’s stats in terms of the money he earned, he did not represent the best value to an American League team in terms of dollars spent. (If you accept Joe Posnanki’s intriguing argument that Mauer’s actually worth $30 million per year, then maybe you can make a case.)
No, based on numbers calculated by Canadian Business, in terms of dollars spent per performance, Toronto’s Adam Lind led the Major Leagues in dollars spent per RBI and per total base. He also led the American League in terms of dollars spent per run created, per home run and per hit.
Admittedly, Lind’s value is so high because he’s not yet arbitration eligible, but that’s not the point. The point is that valuable is a very subjective term. There’s no point in getting your knickers in a knot because some Seattle-based writer voted for Miguel Cabrera. No, I don’t understand why he did it, either. But who knows how that guy defines valuable?