November 13, 2002
Depends on your definition of "valuable"

So A-Rod got shafted again by the MVP voters, who went with A's shortstop Miguel Tejada instead. Tejada isn't a goofy choice, unlike Ichiro last year, but in both cases the voters overlooked the fact that Rodriguez had the best season and went with a player on a winning team.

It's all a function of what you believe Most Valuable means. Most years it seems that the majority of MVP voters subscribe to the theory that a player is only truly valuable if he's on a winning team, to wit:

''The person who helps you win the most games should be the MVP,'' said Ken Macha, promoted from Oakland's bench coach to manager. ''The idea is to win games, not just put numbers up.

Another way of putting it is "we could have finished in last place without you".

I believe that the MVP should go to the player who had the best season. It's not A-Rod's fault that his teammates aren't as good as Tejada's were this year or Ichiro's were last year. By any generally used statistical measure, A-Rod helped his team win quite a few games, more than Tejada did. The difference, and this is why people subscribe to the first theory, is that the games Tejada helped the A's win meant something. Had they gotten the contribution of a lesser player, they might not have won enough of those games to make the playoffs.

You can certainly make a case that Tejada had the best season, or that he was close enough to A-Rod that the meaningfulness of his contributions pushes him over the top. I don't agree, but arguing about that sort of thing is what helps us get through the off-season. All I'm saying is that it would be interesting to see how the MVP vote would go in any year if everyone agreed on what the criteria were.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 13, 2002 to Baseball | TrackBack