With the signing of Prince Fielder, is Detroit the new favorite in the AL?
By Cam Cain 1-27-12
In an offseason of surprises like Albert Pujols joining the Angels, this is up there as one of those shockers. The nine year deal is reportedly worth 214 million dollars. Only a few thought Fielder was heading anywhere other than Arlington, Miami, or the capitol. Then, Texas signed Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Now all was left was the built-to-win-today Marlins and the built-to-win-in-two-or-three-years Nats. But he chose to head to the Motor City, already the heavy favorites in the Central. I was confused for a while about this one. Then, it hit me. Fielder’s dad, Cecil, played at the old Tiger Stadium for 6 1/2 years, the best of his career, making three allstar teams and hitting 51 home runs in 1990. It was there that young Prince learned the game, hitting monster shots over the fence as a teenager. And the fans sure remember him. The Prince was merely heading home, albeit to a different castle.
So, who does this affect?
This loss, as inevitable as it was, is a tough one to swallow. Especially if Ryan Braun’s appeal of his 50 game suspension for allegedly taking performance enhancing drugs is denied. This is a huge step back for Milwaukee who has not made any big signings or trades so far.
The Cardinals benefit from this deal. This could possibly put this young team into the playoffs with a wild card spot. Besides, they won the World Series despite Adam Wainwright not pitching a single inning due to injury.
Despite peaking in July and struggling towards the end of the year and finishing below .500, don’t count out the Pirates as a dark horse candidate.
This puts the Reds over the top. They have so much young talent including power hitting right fielder Jay Bruce, and speedy center fielder Drew Stubbs. They signed closer Ryan Madson, who saved 32 games for Philadelphia. They also made a statement by trading away Edinson Volquez and first base prospect Yonder Alonso for pitcher Mat Latos of the Padres. This told the fans that they are willing to keep superstar Joey Votto and this is exactly what they needed. Their only worry in the division is St. Louis. The Reds hope they pull a long term Indianapolis Colts, struggling after losing the face of their franchise. Either way, the Reds are the favorites in the Central, if not the NL.
This team is strong from top to bottom. Despite losing Victor Martinez for probably the season, they will likely move Miguel Cabrera to DH. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Doug Fister are at the top of the rotation and all have had success. Also, Alex Avila is a rising star behind the plate and had 85 RBIs last season at age 24. They are my early pick for the World Series.
Verlander, Braun win MVP
By Cam Cain 11-22-11
With 13 out of the 28 first place votes, the Tigers ace has become the first MVP in franchise history since closer Willie Hernandez in 1984. He is the first pitcher to win MVP since 1992 when A’s closer Dennis Eckersley won with 51 saves. There has long been a debate as to whether pitchers should win the Cy Young Award. Both sides have decent points. I am split on this decision.
Yes. Pitchers should win the MVP:
Pitchers should definitely be able to win the MVP if they are deserving. It is most valuable player, not just most valuable hitter. Since 1991, 6 pitchers have led their respective leagues in WAR. Verlander is the only MVP of the bunch. If they are the best player in the league, why not give the award to them?
No. Pitchers should not win the MVP:
I am not denying that pitchers should be eligible for MVP. I just wouldn’t vote for one if I had the choice. The thing is, pitchers aren’t everyday players like your first baseman. It rarely happens nowadays that your pitcher is on the field for 250 of your innings. I could see picking a pitcher if it was back in the ’20s when pitchers threw 350+ innings a season and complete games on 2 days rest regularly. This was before there was a real bullpen. But this is not how it works anymore.
As a side note, Ryan Braun won the MVP of the National League. Braun’s vote was boosted largely by playing for a first place team. Many people expected Matt Kemp, who led the majors in WAR and runs batted in, to win the MVP. Kemp also led the NL in home runs. I do think that the writers made the right decision in picking Braun. Braun led the NL in OPS, a simple measure of being effective at getting on base and hitting for power. He was also very valuable to the success of his team.
In other news…
Free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore will remain in Cleveland. “We look forward to Grady getting back on the field and having a healthy and productive 2012 season,” says Indians GM Chris Antonetti. When Sizemore declined his option earlier this offseason, it officially made him a free agent. Sizemore signed a 1 year deal with the club.
The Twins signed catcher Ryan Doumit and the Royals resigned pitcher Bruce Chen. Texas has signed closer Joe Nathan. Nathan had been a star with Minnesota since 2004, making 4 all-star games and saving at least 40 games 3 times with 47 saves in 2009. Nathan did not pitch in ’10 due to injury.