Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs wants you to vote on it. His candidates: Barry Zito, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, or the write-in candidate of your choice. I think I’ll write in FOX’s broadcast contract with Major League Baseball, though in that case neither of the parties to the deal are its biggest victims.
If we limit it to ballplayers I don’t think I can top Matthew’s triumvirate. Soriano’s is probably the worst. Yeah, Zito’s is bad, but he’s at least he’ll take the ball every fifth day and give you average production. Wells may be just as bad as Soriano’s I suppose, but at least he’s a couple of years younger. I dunno, they’re all dogs.
Most of all, I’m having a hard time getting my head around the fact that teams used to give out contracts like that to players no one ever believed to be the best at their position at any given time.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.