The “Justin Verlander should be given MVP consideration” train has been gaining steam this past week. Buster Oleny is shoveling the most coal, but I suppose he’ll be joined by others soon.
I don’t deny that he should be given consideration. The rules of the MVP award are clear in stating that pitchers should be considered. Says so right on the ballot the writers fill out. And, of course, pitchers have been the MVP before even if there have been some times when they’ve been screwed out of the MVP award, though, as any fan of Pedro Martinez could tell you.
So no, I don’t think one should leave a pitcher off the MVP ballot. But as the Verlander talk heats up, it’s worth noting that his manager does. Here’s Jim Leyland on a WXYT radio yesterday:
“I have a different viewpoint than that. I think there should be a Most Valuable Pitcher and Most Valuable Player. I don’t think a pitcher should be the Most Valuable Player. I’m not looking for arguments or controversy I just think when a guy goes out there 158 times or 155 times and has a big year, an MVP type year I don’t think the guy that goes out there 35 times should be named over that guy.
Interesting. I don’t agree with him, but interesting.
And for what it’s worth, consideration is one thing and giving a guy the award is something else entirely. I would consider Verlander. But though I have yet to sit down and really think about it yet this year I think Jose Bautista has to be the guy to win it because (a) I don’t believe that the quality of one’s teammates should have any bearing on whether they win an individual award; and (b) Jose Bautista has simply been a better, more productive baseball player than Verlander has been this year.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.