“The Triple Crown is nonsense”

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Brian Kenny (or his headline writer) says it, and he’s absolutely right.  Not absolute nonsense, of course — it’s really cool and rare to win the Triple Crown and if Miguel Cabrera does it he deserves tons of huzzahs and kudos — but nonsense in terms of naming an MVP:

I like the Triple Crown. Really, I love its place in baseball history and how it’s one of the exclusive clubs of the immortals. I also like giving the Most Valuable Player Award to the best player in the league. Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers — Triple Crown or not — is just not that guy … if Miguel Cabrera wins the Triple Crown this year, he deserves to be put alongside Carl Yastrzemski, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. It just doesn’t mean, on its own, that he was the best player in the American League. He’s not. Mike Trout is.

It has been established wisdom in baseball for the better part of a decade — and much longer in some circles — that RBI is an extremely poor measure of an individual player’s worth, that batting average is far less important than many other metrics and that, while chicks dig the long ball, there is much more to baseball than power at the plate. In light of that, how can one say that the leader in those three categories is automatically the most valuable player in the game?

Granted, in most years that player probably is the best. But not when there’s another guy whose overall offense is almost as good, and who then laps the Triple Crown leader in every other aspect of the game. Aspects of the game which the very same people who get all mad at “sabermetrics” have argued for years that the sabermetricians were ignoring.

If you reject the notion that RBI and batting average tell you the most about a player’s overall value, you cannot slavishly look to the triple crown categories as the authority on who is the most valuable. To do so makes no sense at all.

Report: Tigers sign Jordy Mercer to one-year, $5.25 million deal

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On Wednesday afternoon, the Tigers agreed to a one-year, $5.25 million with shortstop Jordy Mercer, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Mercer, 32, hit .251/.315/.381 with six home runs and 39 RBI in 436 plate appearances for the Pirates last season. His triple-slash line from 2018 is pretty close to his career triple-slash line, so that’s about what the Tigers should expect from him.

Mercer will take over as the full-time shortstop for the Tigers, who lost José Iglesias to free agency. Mercer does have versatility, with the ability to play first, second, and third base as well as the corner outfield in a pinch.