The AL MVP voters speak — including the guy who voted Trout seventh

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Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com spoke with 17 of the 30 AL MVP voters and got their rationale for who they picked for the award.  It’s a great effort by Gonzalez to collect all of these opinions. It’s pretty illuminating too.

The most illuminating thing about it: how many of the voters cite team performance when it comes down to casting their MVP vote. This despite the fact that the MVP ballot itself states that “The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.” Of course it also says “there is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means,” so that’s the out.

And for the record, here’s Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. He’s the guy who voted Mike Trout an astounding 7th:

I am a strict constructionist re: “valuable”. If the award were Player of the Year, Trout would get my vote. I’m of the school that in order to have “value” you have to help your team be good, at least to the point of contending. The Angels didn’t truly contend. To fully develop that logic, players from non-contenders should not be listed on the  ballot at all, but the BBWAA insists that we fill out all 10 slots, so I did, even though I did not think there were 10 worthy candidates from contending teams.

Again: no “clear cut definition” so if he wants to read “on a contending team” into the criteria, he can.  And he did. To a pretty extreme degree, I think everyone can agree.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.