12 years ago Jason Giambi beat out Frank Thomas for the AL MVP Award. People get pretty upset about that around here. For one, the home town guy is supposed to win, of course! Also, once the word got out about Giambi’s steroid use, it seemed to many that Thomas got cheated out of the award. That depends on your philosophy. And it’s philosophies that created the outcome of the 2012 MVP Award. The Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera MVP debate got started before the season even ended and it was tricky, depending on your point of view. Some voters were looking heavily at the Triple Crown stats of Batting Average, Homeruns, and Runs Batted In, which Cabrera clearly had the edge being the winner of the Triple Crown and such. Others liked to point to other elements of the game like baserunning, fielding, and runs scored. I spent much of the day rolling my eyes (virtually, through the internets!) at MVP arguments, particularly those that pointed to the fact that one player’s team went to the playoffs when the other did not, despite the fact that an alignment glitch allowed the team with the worse record to make the playoff. But that’s neither here nor there. It’s not why we’re here. We’re here to say, “hooray for Alex Rios!”
Alex Rios, who everybody suspected didn’t really care about baseball and wasn’t particularly interested in ever performing well again, had the type of year that garners MVP votes. Rios received a 4th place vote, a 10th place vote, and five 9th place votes. That’s good for 15th overall. That puts him ahead of the likes of Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer, and likely annoyed whoever the clown was that threw Raul Ibanez a vote. Alex Rios, guys. He’s a good baseball player and he has applied himself. We now just have to hope that he’s got two more years of that in him.
Take a look at these two lines from 2012:
The first belonged to a 31 year-old outfielder that is on the tail end of a contract bringing him $12.5M in each of the next two seasons. The other was produced by a 36 year-old outfielder that just signed a 2-year deal worth $13M a year. The 36 year old does not appear on the MVP voting list.
That Alex Rios contract doesn’t look quite so terrible anymore, does it?