Great Moments in Selective Endpoints

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Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi has been at the vanguard of the Miguel Cabrera MVP argument. The Michigan resident and former Tigers beat writer is very pro-Cabrera this year.

Which is fine, because as I’ve said before, it will not be an atrocity if Miguel Cabrera wins the MVP award. I think, personally, it’s the wrong choice, but it wouldn’t even be in the top 10 of worst award votes in the past decade. Cabrera is having a fine season, and let no amount of pro-Mike Trout arguing make you think otherwise.

But what does get me is when folks base their argument on questionable assertions like this:

Why August 24?  Do games before that not matter?  Or is it because on August 23 Mike Trout had a big game, going 3 for 6 and driving in a couple of runs and after that had an 0 for 5 while Miguel Cabrera ended an 0 for 10 stretch on August 24 and hit a homer? It has to have some other significance, does it not? Because it cannot be the case that Morosi felt it necessary to cut off things on that date simply because it bolsters his preconceived notions of the matter.

But heck, if we’re going to put so much weight on the last month, why isn’t Adrian Beltre the MVP? He’s hit just as well as Cabrera down the stretch but he isn’t killing the Rangers on defense at third base like Cabrera is the Tigers.  If the response is that the Tigers are in a closer race, well why does Cabrera get extra points simply because his team sucks more?  And if the response is, well, Cabrera has had the better overall season, why in he hell don’t you let Mike Trout back into the argument? And where do we note that, right as the Tigers are making the push past the White Sox this week, Cabrera has gone 0 for his last 12 against the Royals?

Know what? If you just like Miguel Cabrera better and think he’s more deserving for non-quantifiable reasons, just say so. Just go all-in with your subjective feelings about his game and the magical sense his season gives you or whatever.  But don’t try to have it both ways. Don’t try to say that the stats which favor Mike Trout don’t matter but the stats which favor your guys does.  Have some sort of logical consistency to your position.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.