On Tuesday November 23rd, two days before thanksgiving, the American League MVP (Most Valuable Player) was announced to the public. And the winner, Josh Hamilton, has a lot to be thankful for.
As a Yankee fan you can say all you want about me being a homer, but I believe I have a legit case in this argument. New York Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano was in the lineup day in and day out. He only missed two games this year, both due to manager Joe Girardi giving him a breather. In spring training before the start of the 2010 campaign, Girardi rewarded the second sacker by moving up to the number five spot in the lineup. And Cano defiantly proved his skipper right. Cano hit more than 20 homers, 100 RBI, and a .320 average, earning his first silver slugger and gold glove award-and making his case that he, not Dustin Pedroia or Chase Utley, is the best second basemen in the sport.
I think the biggest reason why Robinson Cano deserves the most valuable player is because what everyone else did around him, esspecially in front of him. You will see that Cano didn’t have a lot to work with once he came up. You look at the leadoff hitter, Derek Jeter. Jeter had a nightmare of a season batting a career low .270, Jeter also made the most outs in the game. Next, you look at the number three spot in Mark Teixeira. Big Tex struggled mightily until late May, and he floundered in September and into October with a number of injuries. Next you look at Alex Rodriguez. A-rod, like Jeter, had a nightmare of a season missing significant time in the middle of the year-I'll elaborate on that in a bit. Rodriguez also struggled to get on base batting .270, a career low just like his partner on the left side of the diamond.
In the middle of the season, mostly August, Alex Rodriguez missed three weeks due to injury. And when that injury occurred Girardi immediately moved Cano to the cleanup spot. Girardi could have very easily moved Mark Teixeira to the fourth spot and had moved center fielder Curtis Granderson to the two spot, and had right fielder Nick Swisher bat third-thus leaving Cano in the five spot. But he didn’t, because Joe Girardi knows Robinson's value. When Cano was filling in for Rodriguez he mashed the ball to all fields, even better then he was before. He hit clutch hit after clutch hit. And he continued to shine defensively earning his first of many gold gloves.
Yes Texas Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton had great numbers. He won the batting title, and hit more then 30 homers and hit an even 100 RBI, but this isn’t the most outstanding award. It’s the most VALUBLE player award. Hamilton only played two games in the month of September. He missed the most important month of the year. Also, according to the Elias Sports Bureau there has not been an MVP award handed out to a player that has played less then 10 games in the month of September. That’s significant because baseball is full of traditionalists. Plus Hamilton had great hitters, who had great seasons hitting in front and behind him. That includes infielders Elvis Andrews and Michael Young, outfielder Nelson Cruz, and Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero.
Not to mention, Robinson Cano didn’t come up in second, he finished third and he didn’t even receive one first place vote! The runner up for the award was Detroit Tiger’s first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Yes Cabrera had a great season with the bat, but he is a sub-par defensive first baseman. Also, the Tigers came nowhere near the playoffs. Thus Miguel Cabrera’s value isn’t that great at all. Thats the same with fourth place finisher Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Yes Bautista clubbed more than 50 homeruns and played a very good right field, but his team finished fourth in the AL East. When you talk about MVP, in my opinion one of the most important categories is how your team did record wise, because essentially that shows how much value you have to your team.
For example, if you take Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista off their respective clubs those teams would still be way short of the postseason. If you were to take Hamilton off the Rangers and Robinson Cano off the Yankees, the Texas Rangers may have a shot at making the postseason. Texas plays in a weaker division. The Yankees, on the other hand, played in the brutal AL East. Tampa Bay, Boston, Toronto, who can hit really well as a club are pretty good teams. Even the Baltimore Orioles, who got hot once former Yankee manager Buck Showalter ran the show, can give the Yankees fits. Texas has to face the pathetic Seattle Mariners who have zero pitching after Felix Hernandez, and zero hitting after Ichiro. They also face the Oakland A’s who can’t hit their way out of a paper bag. And the Angels who have a weak starting rotation, and once Kendry Morales went down so did the rest of their lineup.
I personally believe that Robinson Cano, not Derek Jeter, not Alex Rodriguez, or Mark Teixeira, or pitchers CC Sabathia or Mariano Rivera, but Cano is the face of the New York Yankees. This guy has come a long way. He batted .270 in 2008. He also got benched for not playing at 100% effort. He even struggled in the 2009 postseason. But he has earned every award he has received. And he would have defiantly earned the MVP. It’s a shame that the so called "experts" whiffed on such an honorable award.