Tuesday morning MVP chatter

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With the trade deadline gone, the amateurs signed (or not) and the sense that we still have a week or two before we can truly, truly get into the pennant races, what better time to start having MVP arguments?

First up, the NL, where Jonah Keri makes the shocking, yet surprisingly compelling claim that Albert Pujols is not necessarily the no-brainer choice we all think he is.

Then comes the AL, where the Mauer-Teixeira battle lines are being drawn.  Surprisingly, a pro-Mauer voice comes from the YES Network (I’m sure the author has been killed by the Yankee secret police right now, but it’s still worth reading).

I tend to view MVP arguments like I view political or religious discussions: there’s no way to convince anyone of anything they don’t already believe, so what’s the friggin’ point. Still, it’s only August, and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet, so argue away.

My insta-take: Pujols will win it because since the mid-90s or so, the writers have, for some reason, decided to disregard the voting rules by not taking pitchers’ MVP cases seriously. If Pedro didn’t win in 2000, there’s no way that Lincecum wins it in 2009 or any other pitcher wins it any time soon.

AL: I’m a Mauer guy, but with the Twins fading — and with the writers having an almost pathological aversion to giving Mauer his due — Teixeira or someone else is more likely.

Cubs sign sinkerballer Steve Cishek

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have signed reliever Steve Cishek. No details about the deal are known yet. For what it’s worth, most relievers are signing two-year deals so far this winter and Cishek’s last deal was a two-year pact.

Cishek, 31-year-old sidearmer who throws a surprisingly fast sinkerball, posted a 2.01 ERA and a 41/14 K/BB ratio and allowed just 26 hits in 44.2 innings between the Mariners and Rays last season. He saved 25 games for the M’s in 2016. Last year he missed the first month and a half of the season following hip surgery, but seemed pretty healthy later in the year.

A nice pickup for Chicago.