Mike Trout

Mike Trout is no MVP, Alfonso Soriano is — baseball columnists

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I know these are just two opinions from a couple of random dudes, but wowzers.

First, Gary Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, who has a slide show — annoying, by the way — with his thoughts on MVP candidates. His comment on Mike Trout:

The Angels are charging, but Trout is showing signs of fatigue. He was hitting .275 with an .855 OPS since Aug. 1. Good numbers for a rookie, but not the stuff of an MVP.

Thing is, the MVP is not an award based on August 1 numbers only. It’s for the whole year, and for the whole year Trout still leads the league in hitting, is second in OPS, plays stellar defense at a key position and leads the league in stolen bases. If you’re into WAR, he is lapping the field. Not that you need to be into WAR to appreciate how much better Trout has been than anyone this season.  If you’re into that whole “carry your team on your back” thing, look at where the Angels were when they called him up and look at them now.

Heck, even if you want to take Fraley’s bait and look at how the guy has done lately, just look at just the second half of the season. There are hardly any players hitting better than Trout since the break, including Adrian Beltre, who Fraley talks up big. Trout has the same number of homers, a better average, a better OBP and only a slightly lower slugging percentage. Miguel Cabrera has hit better since then, sure, but c’mon, Trout’s season is one of the best all-around years we’ve seen in a long time, and not just for a rookie.

Then we get this from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, commenting on Alfonso Soriano:

The only guy in Monday night’s lineup over the age of 30 has undergone such a complete baseball rebirth at the age of 36, he might have been in the National League MVP conversation if the Cubs had played even as well this year as, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates, or maybe if he’d accepted that trade to the San Francisco Giants.

Soriano is 28th in the NL in OPS. He’s 54th in OBP. He’s 20th in slugging. He’s 7th in homers.  Please, pray tell, what the basis is for an Alfonso Soriano MVP case.

I know MVP voting is a democracy and you can choose whoever you want, but you either believe that Trout is no MVP candidate or Soriano is, or you don’t.  If you think those things, your baseball analysis is severely wanting. If you don’t, and you’re just throwing that stuff out there because you have a column to write, than you’re being dishonest with your readers. Either way: bad times.

Reds’ manager Bryan Price extended through 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 28: Manager Bryan Price #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 28, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.

This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.

Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.

From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.

I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.

Dusty Baker calls the Nationals “a baby making team.” Whatever that means.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 31: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Washington Nationals looks on before the start of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 31, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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When the Nationals fired Matt Williams a year ago, it might’ve been a safe assumption that they were going to go with that new breed of young, handsome recently-retired player-turned-manager who, despite a lack of experience, allegedly knows how to deal with modern players better and knows how to handle a clubhouse. Those assumptions have proved largely off with these guys — Williams was a disaster, Matheny wins despite himself and Ausmus looks like he’s perpetually on the verge of a breakdown — but that’s the all the rage these days anyway.

Instead, the Nats hired Dusty Baker. Though Baker had tremendous success as a manager everywhere he went, he was maligned by some for some pitcher handling stuff in Chicago (which said pitchers have long denied was an issue, but let’s let that lie). He was also, more generally, thought of as a “retread.” Which is what people who prefer younger folks for jobs tend to call older people, even if the older people know what they’re doing.

And yes, I will cop to thinking about managers that way a lot over the years, so I’m not absolving myself at all here, even if I was pretty OK with the Dusty Baker hiring. I’ve evolved on this point. In no small part because of how Dusty Baker has done in Washington. Flash forward a year, the Nats are division champions and Baker may be a top candidate for Manager of the Year. That, in and of itself, should show you how wrong the haters were.

But if it doesn’t, this sure should:

I have no earthly idea what that means and Castillo gives no further context. All I know is that it sounds cool as hell and of any current manager, only Dusty Baker could say that and pull it off.

Because he’s Dusty Baker and has nothing to prove to you. And if you don’t like it, shoot, he’ll just go back home to his winery or whatever and live out the rest of his days being cooler than you.