It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on....okay you get it. In today's hot stove wrap up, we've got a win for traditionalists in the MVP race, a new pitching coach for the Marlins who walks into his first day on the job Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson-less, Buster Posey win most eligible MVP candidate and the redemption road begins for Melky Cabrera. Give your co-workers a big high five if you're the first person out of the office today!
- It was all about Miguel Cabrera last night as the Detroit slugger won his first AL MVP. In a vote that wasn't as close as expected, Cabrera beat out Angel's rookie phenom Mike Trout with 362 points and 22 of the 28 first-place votes. Cabrera was the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and if history was any indication, the previous three Triple Crown winners (Yastryzemski, Frank Robinson in 1966, and Mickey Mantle in 1956) have all won MVP as well.
- Predictably, the Trout fans and sabermetric junkies were up in arms in the news columns and Twitter crying "foul." But while the sabermetricians like to point at Trouts 10.7 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Miggy had the highest OPS (On Base Plus Slugging) - a pretty key stat in the sabermetric camp. It's likely a debate that will never have a clear answer and things like this seem to happen every year. Anyone remember Justin Verlander last year?
- Personally, while I think sabermetrics provide a refreshing and vital perspective to the game, not everything can be summarized in numbers and digits. For example: Who was the player pitchers hated to face the most in the AL? While it's hard to quantify, Miguel Cabrera is that player. I'm perfectly fine with this selection and hope that supporters of both players can recognize both Trout and Cabrera on excellent seasons while still continuing to have respectful debate. I think both know this is not the last time either will be finalists for baseball's most coveted and controversial individual award.
- In a less publicized but just as important MVP race on the National League side, Giant's catcher Buster Posey is running out of trophy space in his home fast after capturing his first MVP to add to his World Series title this season. Posey claimed 27 of 32 first place votes to finish easily ahead of Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen. Fellow catcher Yadier Molina finshed 4th with two first-place votes. Posey won the NL batting title and finished with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs in one of the greatest years for a catcher ever.
- Posey, who was the first catcher to win a batting title in the NL since Ernie Lombardi (who the hell is this guy?) could have put together the best "Comeback Player of the Year" campaign ever after missing most of 2011 with a freakishly ugly leg/ankle injury after a collision at home plate. Do they give that one out in baseball? I honestly have no idea, but if they do my vote's going to Posey. Catchers do all the dirty work and constantly get dinged up all year. Catchers freakin' rock and Posey rocked the hardest this year (but don't tell Cardinals fans Buster Posey is the best. I found that one out the hard way. See how much crap from them for officially declaring here that I think Yadier Molina is overrated. Oops.)
- The NL MVP race may have been overshadowed a bit by the Trout-Cabrera debate, but it reminds me a lot of 2008 when Dustin Pedroia won the MVP race by basically being the most eligible. Don't get me wrong at all, I love Posey and he very well may be the most deserving player but it's hard to imagine him leapfrogging a Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout if any or all played in the same league. Like 2008, there was no one that really stood out with a monster season and I just got a feeling that most of the writers and bloggers had settled on Posey just on being "most eligible." Not to take away from what Buster did this year. Congrats on a great season and a great recovery.
- Former Devil Rays and Tiger's pitching coach Chuck Hernandez has been hired by new Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond as their new pitching coach. Hernandez helped the pitching staff of the Rays in 2004-05 and the Tiger's from 2006-08. I think this is a good hire as I followed Hernandez's work in Detroit and he did assist a staff that made it to the World Series in 2006. Can we get a hidden camera to YouTube to watch his reaction when he finds out Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle (and maybe Ricky Nolasco) are all gone?
- The Blue Jays raise the ante pre-flop by signing Melky Cabrera. You probably know the story by now about Cabrera's suspension for testing positive for PEDs, but this is a great low-risk, high-reward signing by the Blue Jays who seem intent on competing in the AL East. Toronto is a perfect, low-market city to keep media distractions and the like away from Melky and like Jason Giambi, Andy Pettite and others have proved, the best way to overcome steroid controversy is just be as sorry as possible. We baseball fans are pretty forgiving people...right Roger Clemens?
- What's interesting is that Buster Posey would not have even won the batting title if Melky Cabrera had not formally withdrawn his name from contention. What I don't understand is how someone who's suspended for PEDs is still somehow even eligible for awards? \What if a chemically-juiced third baseman for the Yankees hits 99 bombs and fails a test in August? Of course the previous scenario is completely hypothetical and any resemblance to real third basemen for the New York Yankees is completely coincidental. Anyways, that's a problem that MLB needs to get fixed asap. But hats off to Melky for doing the right thing. Let's all hope his path to redemption is clear and bright.
- In addition to Miguel Cabrera winning AL MVP, the Detroit Tigers also had Verlander (8th) and Prince Fielder (9th) in the top ten MVP voting. Not bad, eh? Sorry I just had to throw that in there. How the hell did we not win the World Series again?
- The San Diego Padres have acquired RHP Tyson Ross and IF A.J. Kirby-Jones from the Oakland A's for IF Andy Parrino and LHP Andrew Werner. Ross was a decent spot starter and reliever last season while the other guys are fringe major-leaguers who all have made several big league appearances last season. I don't think this trade merits me taking the time to look up all their stats from last year so....yeah that happened.
- And lastly the Mets have signed utility player Brian Bixler from Houston. I live in Houston and don't know much about Bixler but he's the kind of guy who's most important asset is his versatility. Which is another way of saying, "he totally sucks at hitting but he can play everywhere." Go get em' in New York Brian.
For your daily hot stove wrap up, I'm going to head home and cuddle with my life-sized Miguel Cabrera stuffed body pillow and take a nice nap. You should consider doing the same with your favorite player body pillow. Get them for $1,000 at some sketchy Chinese website that has a domain that no longer exists. Have a great weekend baseball fans, I'm out.