Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The MVP is a joke

I'm not referring to Justin Morneau or Ryan Howard. I honestly couldn't care less. Maybe that's the point...I just don't care. The MVP has turned into nothing more than a debate over what the criteria should be...this guy doesn't deserve it because his team didn't contend, this guy isn't that valuable because he has too much of a supporting cast, pitchers have their own award, etc.

Speaking of pitchers, I'll give you an award that has meaning...the Cy Young. It goes to the best pitcher in his respective league. Sure, you could debate whether or not Brandon Webb was that guy, and maybe the team he's on enters into the argument a little. Webb won 16 games for a sub-.500 team while Chris Carpenter, for example, won 15 games for....well, never mind. That's another tangent all to itself. My point is that 50% of the time the winner is absolutely cut and dried (Santana - 2006, Carpenter -2005, Santana - 2004).

Alright, I'll admit that maybe that's because great pitchers tend to really stand out above the competition, but if we were discussing who was the best offensive player in each league this year, I would come down to these guys...Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols in the NL, David Ortiz in the AL. Travis Hafner would have given Ortiz a run for his money if he hadn't got hurt, and Lance Berkman and Jermaine Dye both deserve honorable mention, but those three guys were clearly the best offensive players in baseball this year.

What am I suggesting? Nothing really. Alternatives would be to redefine the MVP as the top offensive performer, do away with the award completely and replace it with something comparable to the Cy Young (I prefer the Babe Ruth award), or to add the "Babe Ruth Award" to the current system. MLB currently is toying with the fan-voted Hank Aaron award. Personally, I think it should be named after an iconic player from earlier in the game's history, but regardless, this seems the most likely possibility.

Anyway...I'm going to get down off my high horse and give out Charles Simone's first annual Babe Ruth Awards:

NL - Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
AL - David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

"It all adds up to a funky situation."
-W. Drayton

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I just don't get it...

$51 million just for the rights to negotiate with a player who probably won't be willing to sign for more than three years because he'll want to hit the free agent market while he's still young? I just can't seem to figure out how this could be a good deal.

I understand the value of keeping him away from the Yankees (and don't confuse my confusion with sour grapes), but let's do the math. If the Red Sox sign Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese phenom, to a three-year deal, they'll already be paying $17 million per year to his former team. He gets none of this, so even if they pay him "only" $8 million per year, that's a total of $25 million.

Johan Santana, inarguably the best pitcher in baseball, makes $10 million per year. How can this guy be worth 2 1/2 times what Santana is worth? I realize Santana signed his extension two years ago, after his first Cy Young (he wins his second tomorrow), and, of course, the market has changed since then, but I still don't understand this move. If they can get him to sign for four years, then maybe they can offer him as much as $10 million per, but if the guy truly is worth this much then this reinforces the fact that he won't sign for more than three years.

Of course, the Red Sox don't have to pay the money if they don't sign him, but I've read that they have to negotiate in good faith or else they'll do major damage to MLB's relationship with the Japanese leagues. My theory is that they're going to offer him more money per year the longer the contract he signs...something like $6 million per for three years, $10 million for four, $12 million for five. In each of these scenarios they're still paying him in the $22-$23 million per year range.

Or, maybe they're counting on the fact that Scott Boras is such a difficult agent to deal with, and they plan on playing hardball and hoping that whatever their final offer is, it doesn't get accepted. Then, they don't have to be on the hook for an "out of this world" salary, and they can rest easy knowing that the Yankees didn't get him either.