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The guy who left Verlander off his MVP ballot admits he ignored the voting standards

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Remember that time you went to work and your boss was all like “you can’t do such and such because it’s expressly against company rules and actually undermines the policies we’ve established” and then you said “screw that, I’ma do what I’ma do” and then nothing happened to you.  Jim Ingrahm of the News-Herald never had a day like that:

I was one of the 28 voters for the American League Most Valuable Player Award … I was the only voter who didn’t include Verlander anywhere on his 10-player ballot. This was my reasoning: The short version is I don’t believe pitchers should be eligible for the MVP Award.  My not voting for Verlander had nothing to do with evaluating what Verlander accomplished this season … I can’t think of any other sport in which a player who didn’t play in 79 percent of his team’s games could be voted the Most Valuable Player in his league.

Except, the very ballot that Mr. Ingrahm fills out says this right on the face of it:

“Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.”

Note: the rules don’t say that you have to vote for pitchers and many don’t. But pitchers are eligible. Ingrahm says nuts to that.

If Ingrahm doesn’t think that Justin Verlander’s contributions were actually as valuable as ten other players, great, he should leave him off.  But to expressly refuse to even evaluate or consider the possibility and to leave him off his ballot because of that violates the guidelines that the very organization which sanctions the award has established.

That usually gets you in trouble.  I’m guessing it won’t here. It should.

UPDATE:  Was just asked by someone why this matters. The idea: lots of voters probably leave pitchers off their ballots for the same reason. They just don’t admit it. Indeed, no one is required to say why they voted how they voted, so who cares if Ingrahm just gave voice to what happens all the time anyway? My answer: it’s a question of legitimacy.

There are all kinds of rules that get violated by all kinds of people every day. People applying their own standards, be it at work, out in the world, wherever. It’s just part of the deal.   We endure it because, really, we can’t do much about it. The guy isn’t going to hire the woman because he’s sexist? Well, unless he’s an idiot, he’s never going to admit it or otherwise tip his hand, and thus stopping such practices is difficult.

But when someone so clearly and openly flaunts a rule, don’t we have to do something about it? I mean, people are given almost total latitude in some walks of life and we understandably let it pass.  When they push things even further and then expressly admit they’re doing so, don’t we, at some point, have to do something? Otherwise we basically admit that the rules are a total fiction and then what’s the point? This guy is basically taunting the very organization that gives him his vote. He’s telling the BBWAA “your standards are quaint, but I have my own.”

Put differently, he used his vote as a political statement. Not as baseball analysis. They have a BBWAA meeting each year at the Winter Meetings. He should make his political statements there. If he wants pitchers off the ballot, make a motion to that effect and see what his colleagues decide.  Don’t screw around with your protest votes in so openly a manner. To do so undercuts the legitimacy of the organization which you serve.

Report: The Nationals are still in on Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning on September 5, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.

In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.

The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: