Playoff Contention Means MVP Contention
One of the unfortunate things about baseball awards is that qualifications for being nominated don’t always make sense. This is the case when it comes to the MVP award. The award is always given to the most valuable player on a playoff team which isn’t always necessarily the most valuable player in the league. Major League Baseball doesn’t say that but they don’t have to. You only have to watch baseball for a few years to figure that out. That makes players on teams that don’t make the playoffs unofficially disqualified but they will get some votes to make it seem like they had a chance. Whether you agree with this or not that’s just how it is.
No player on the Toronto Blue Jays has had a legit chance of being awarded MVP since 1993 because that’s how long there playoff drought has been. Now that the Blue Jays could make the playoffs in 2013 the MVP candidates on the team could also win the MVP award.
Jose Bautista, who is still the leader of the Blue Jays because there isn’t a big enough trade or free agent signing in the world to change that, is an obvious MVP candidate. He was the Major League home run leader 2 years in a row and hit 27 home runs last season despite missing the last 2 and a half months of the season. All his offensive numbers in the last 3 years are among the top players in Major League Baseball. Even if he regressed a little he would be a worthy candidate for 2013 AL MVP.
This offseason the AL MVP candidates were Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton. The Los Angeles Angels didn’t make the playoffs so Trout never had a chance but since the Angels are a big market team and Trout had a historic season he got some recognition. Cano and Beltre weren’t as good as Cabrera, and Josh Hamilton didn’t hit well in the 2nd half of the season. You know who you could argue was as good if not better than these candidates? Edwin Encarnacion. Playoff team or not Edwin should have at least gotten some votes. If the Blue Jays make the playoffs in 2013 and Edwin’s 2012 season wasn’t just a fluke and a reflection of what he’ll perform like in his prime you can definitely assume he’ll be a MVP candidate.
Speaking of being able to repeat 2012 performances, if the Blue Jays new left fielder Melky Cabrera’s 2012 season was a case of a young player being a late bloomer as he enters his prime (kind of like Bautista and Edwin) as opposed to PED’s making him a better hitter, Melky could also be a MVP candidate for the Blue Jays.
Jose Reyes is another of the new Blue Jays who could qualify as a MVP candidate. He’s a very good hitter but the MVP doesn’t usually go to someone who doesn’t hit home runs. At Rogers Centre the triples Reyes is famous for hitting could turn into enough home runs to qualify for MVP, assuming all the other parts of his game are where they were in previous years.
You can be sure when all the Blue Jays moves were being made this offseason none of these guys thought to themselves now I have a chance to be AL MVP. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is winning and making the playoffs. It doesn’t hurt that if the Blue Jays make the playoffs these players can get some real recognition for their season.