I had a go at this concept last year. The concept that, when it comes to postseason awards, it’s somehow a legitimate argument to say “so and so should be considered” when the person advocating such a position doesn’t actually think they should win it. That he should be “in the conversation.”
Person 1: I think Joe Shlabotnik should be given consideration for the MVP.
Person 2: OK, do you think Shlabotnik deserves to win? Is he going to be given your first place vote?
Person 1: No, but he should get consideration! He should be in the conversation.
Smack my head.
If I think Fetzelrod is the MVP, why should I “consider” Shlabotnik? In reaching my decision isn’t it understood that I’ve considered and rejected Shlabotnik? I’m a Fetzelrod man! Don’t waste my time with this Shlabotnik tomfoolery!
There can’t be a conversation about the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award without including Derek Jeter, and doesn’t that make this whole season even better?
Starting off well! Then, after going through the stronger cases for Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Josh Hamilton he adds:
Regardless of how it plays out, it’s fun just having him in the discussion.
This after he says Jeter’s MVP credentials are “doing his job at the top of the lineup,” “playing nice defense,” “winning” and “leadership.” Of course Trout has done a better job at the top of the lineup, plays better defense and plays for a team with only two fewer wins than Jeter’s (and more since Trout came up from the minors). Leadership: OK, such as it can be known, we’ll give it to Jeter.
But the point here isn’t that I think Jeter isn’t as good as Trout. Opinions vary. The point here is that Justice makes no effort to argue it himself, which suggests that, had he an MVP vote, he would not have Jeter above Trout. Rendering the whole “Jeter should be in the conversation” conversation pointless.
Guess what: Jeter has had a kickass season, especially for a player his age. This is late career stuff we usually only see from inner-circle Hall of Famers. It is notable and worthy of great kudos and praise. But there is nothing which says that praise may only be given to a guy in the context of a “who should win the MVP” article. Just write the “hey, Jeter is great” article. You can actually do that. There is nothing to stop you!
But by not doing it, you muddy the MVP waters and either actively our passively encourage sloppy reasoning when it comes to the MVP. “In the conversation?” Bah. Either a guy is or is not your MVP choice.