It’s not terribly surprising that Jim Leyland is going to say that he thinks his guys — Miguel Cabrera — should be the MVP over someone else.* But his comments about why Mike Trout may win the award instead of Cabrera are pretty fun:
“I mean this respectfully,” Leyland said during the interview. “I don’t mean this disrespectfully — I think what could be a little problem for Miggy … he could run into one of these Wonderboy stories.
“You know — a young kid, 20 years old, everybody gets excited about that, everybody loves that. It has a nice ring to hit, it should have. So I think that’s dangerous for Miggy.”
Between “clown question, bro,” “blinkin’ fertilizer” and now “wonderboy stories,” this has been a pretty good year for silliness. Maybe it’s just society.
That aside, I think it’s a little rich of Leyland to argue that some sort of off-the-field narrative (Trout’s Wonderboy status) may unfairly drive the MVP race when, in the very same interview he says that Cabrera’s track record — he talks about Cabrera’s career numbers — should be taken into consideration. Neither Trout’s age nor Cabrera’s past performance should have any bearing for a single season award.
*Please forget for a moment that last year Leyland publicly said that he didn’t think his guy, Justin Verlander, should win the MVP award.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.