MLBRT 8/27: NL awards talk and more…




This week in the roundtable…

We got some talk about the NL awards… MVP and CY Young award…  possibilities… 

What the hell went wrong with the San Diego Padres…

And… Cashman said what to Derek???? 

It’s all happening at the roundtable… here and now…


1) When it comes to the NL MVP race the usual names top most people’s lists… Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt…and, then, maybe Joey Votto and Buster Posey…

Dave-schoenfieldRecently,’s David Scheonfield makes the case for Anthony Rizzo for MVP and in making his case says that Rizzo is a rarity these days in that he is a power hitter who rarely strikes out… rarely meaning that he averages less than one strikeout per game…

Scheonfield also says that “While some of us believe the MVP Award should simply go to the best player, that’s not really how the award is voted on; it’s a mixture of numbers, making the playoffs, headlines and big hits, and narrative. Rizzo’s narrative is building… team wasn’t supposed to be here… one constant in a lineup that struggled to score runs… he has a great personal story, beating cancer as a minor leaguer…. plays for the Cubs.”

What are your thoughts on Scheonfield’s opinion on how a MVP player should be chosen?

Archie1-300x277Archie: Like I always have, bullshit. But then, that is the way it has always been.

IF, your team does not make it to the playoffs you can forget any chance at being the league MVP.

Dan: In my opinion, an MVP award should be given to the player who has been most valuable to his team. Most valuable would be not only statistics, but, his contributions as a whole and as a leader of the team.NL-MVP-Award

Rizzo has a great story of defeating cancer while in the minors, but, headlines and what he did in previous seasons, what he’s overcome, etc… aren’t valid reasons as to why he should become an MVP.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Great story about Rizzo, but the M.V.P. has to be a player that has put up exceptional numbers in the field and lead his team to the playoffs. 

Narrative is nice and makes a great story for the media, but, that alone can’t cut it.

meJoe: The only qualifications that count for being named an MVP is what you did on the field and how it contributed to your team making the playoffs.

All that other stuff… recovering from cancer, over coming drugs or booze, your dad was murdered when you were a 6-year-old and you had to go work in the sugar cane fields.. .whatever.. has nothing what-so-ever with being the Most Valuable Player.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: I call a little bit of bull shit on the narrative part of things. I did a little research and going back to 2005, of all the MVP’s in both leagues and the ones that really had a “story” to go along with the season and the award.

2005: Albert Pujols won the award, the the story of the season was could he finally get over the top and win the big one, now that Barry Bonds was not a factor. He was runner up to Bonds the prior four years, and, many thought this would be Pujols’ time. Players2

2010: It was Josh Hamilton, who went through rehab because of drugs and alcohol and then went on to have the season of his career and win the AL MVP.

The fact of the matter is, both of these players deserved to win this award hands down, and, they won the award with remarkable seasons, Hamilton ran away with the trophy, while Pujols had a closer vote with Andruw Jones running a close second. 

This brings me to Rizzo, which I will get more into in the following question. Rizzo… sure he has a story to go along with this, but, this story is not, and, should not take away from his on field contributions and possibly leading the Cubs to their first playoff berth since 2008. Rizzo has led this team, and, if, the Cubs make the playoffs, he should be a top contender to win the award despite his past story of him beating cancer. If, he is to win the award, it will be for what his team does, and, for his play on the field. I do not buy into the off-the-field-story, as none of the prior MVP’s except for Pujols and Hamilton had a story, and, it was not like they did not deserve to win it in the first place. 

2)   Referring back to question 1: What are Rizzo’s chances for NL MVP?

Archie1-300x277Archie: Probably better than Goldschmidt’s.Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks

Let’s face it PG and the D-Backs only have an outside chance at making the playoffs and it MIGHT be the same for Harper and his Nats. IF, that happens and the Cubbies DO make the
playoffs then Rizzo’s campaign for MVP greatly improves.

Dan: I don’t think Rizzo has a very good chance of beating out Bryce Harper or Paul Goldschmidt.

In my honest opinion, I believe Goldschmidt should win the MVP with Harper finishing a close 2nd and Rizzo would be in 3rd or 4th, but, I don’t think Rizzo will win. When you look at what Goldschmidt and Harper have done this season with putting up incredible numbers, I can’t see Rizzo beating them out.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I got no problems with Rizzo being in the conversation, but, under my criteria of it going to a player that leads his team to the postseason, or, at the very worst, is in contention of making the postseason, I would award it to Bryce Harper. Harper

Paul Goldschmidt and his numbers do deserve votes, but, I wouldn’t give him the award.

meJoe: I am not sure Rizzo gets better than a 3rd place in the NL MVP race, and, that’s probably going to be an injustice to him. Because, while Goldschmidt and Harper have had some excellent numbers up to this point, both players have begun to see their numbers tai loff somewhat as it gets deeper into the season and closer to playoff time. While Rizzo’s have been improving!

And… about them playoffs… its a been almost a given that the D-backs won’t be in MLB’s post-season toruney but maybe the Nationals won’t either.

Interesting standings in the NL Wild Card race as I write this… the D-backs and the Nats are presently tied with identical 62-61 records and stand 9.5 games out of the 2nd wild card entry.  AND, both teams presently are 5 games out of winning first in their respective divisons…

Point being… if, both the D-backs and Nats can’t overcome their present standings and win their respective divisions they in all liklihood ain’t gonna be in the playoffs. And, in my mind, that hurts both Goldschmidt’s and Harper’s chances to win the MVP…

Rizzo is arguably the straw that stirs the drink on the Cubs, and, right now the Cubs are securely in that 2nd playoff spot, and, if, they continue to play as they been playing (which is dman good) then, I doubt they give it that wild card to any other team.Rizzo

Thus… Rizzo should have a better chance than a lot of folks realize to sneak in and take the MVP.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: He has a very good chance to win the MVP and here is why:

Bryce Harper has had a very sub par August, as has Paul Goldschmidt. If, neither of these two can get it back together in the final month of the season, and, Rizzo continues to tear the cover off the ball, AND, the Cubs get into the playoffs, then, Rizzo has a very good chance to win the MVP in the National League. 

3) Let’s go back to the Cubs…  

Jake Arrieta had five relatively pedestrian years with the Baltimore Orioles… got traded to the Cubs in 2013…

Had a so-so 2013 and then in 2014 started to come on with a 10-5 record, 2.53 ERA and 0.989 WHIP. 

This year, after his start on Thursday (8/20) his record stands at 15-6, 2.30 ERA, 2 CG, 1 Shutout, 168 IP and only 124 hits allowed plus 42 walks, 170 Strikeouts and 0.994 WHIP. 

It is probably fair to assume Arrieta is the presumptive ace of the Cubs at this time… but… does he have a snowball’s chance in hell of beating out Zack Greinke for the NL Cy Young award?  

Archie1-300x277Archie: As things stand right now” No.

Zack is having an amazing year and Arrieta’s only stat that is better is wins. IMO, the CY this year is
Grienke’s to lose.greinke

Dan: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think anybody is going to beat out Zack Greinke and the type of numbers he’s putting up this season out in Los Angeles. He’s the top candidate for Cy Young easily in my opinion and he’ll win it.

Nobody is beating him out.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: The snowball is melting.

Got to give the award to Greinke but what Arrieta has done so far is definitely worth noting.


meJoe: The NL Cy Young is Greinke’s to lose…

However, if, he should begin to tail off and take a couple or three bad losses in a row and  his numbers should start to be not so excellent then Arrieta is the prime candidate to move in and take the award.

Again.. the NY CY is Greinkes lose. And, I really don’t see him doing that.

Sorry , Jake…

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Jake Arrieta has been lights out for the Cubs this season, putting together as of Sunday, 12 straight quality starts for the Cubs. This is an impressive feat to pull off, as a quality start entails 7 plus innings, with 3 or fewer runs given up. jake-arrieta

Has he been good enough to win the Cy Young Award? There is no doubt in my mind that he has been that good. However, Zack Grienke has been even better, and, he is pitching as if it is his award to win. Arrieta does have a chance to overtake Grienke, if, he continues to pitch the way he has, and, if, Grienke struggles in September.

I still think he is looking at a third place finish, second place at best. This is a huge accomplishment for Arrieta and the Cubs, as Lester was supposed to be the ace of this staff, and now they have one of the best 1-2 punches in all of baseball.

4) GM A. J. Preller redid the San Diego Padres in the off-season, and, as they headed into 2015, many “experts” thought they could at least be a wildcard team. On July 31… the non-waiver trade deadline… the Padres found themselves four games below .500 and in fourth place. They made no moves… they still have not made any real improvement in the standings to this point.

Yes, an additional; 4,000 fan’s fannies are in the seats per game… and their projected final record for 2015 will be better than their record for 2014… by two games.

So, what went wrong with Preller’s moves?

Archie1-300x277Archie: Let’s start with some of the same issues the Braves had last year with the Uptons on the team: The Padres are currently 2nd in the NL with 1018 strikeouts for the team with only 111 homeruns. That’s ALMOST 10 to 1. And, although their run production has increased from last year’s team, they are still only middle of the pack in the NL for scoring runs.

Left to right, Padres General Manager A.J. Preller, with new acquisitions Justin Upton, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks and Wil Myers, along with Manager Bud Black meet with the San Diego media at Petco Park.
Left to right, Padres General Manager A.J. Preller, with new acquisitions Justin Upton, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks and Wil Myers, along with Manager Bud Black meet with the San Diego media at Petco Park.

Then there is their pitching. They are 5th in the NL in giving up runs this season. ONLY the Rockies, Phillies, Brewers and Braves have given up more. And, as we have all seen, those teams bullpens and starters alike are BAD.

Dan: I don’t think much went wrong; it’s just the players he thought would fit the team nicely didn’t turn out the way he and most expected. Nothing can be done about that except building off what you have this off-season and trying to become greater. Take examples off of what teams have already done that with turning their franchise around, take their example to help your own club and add your own twist to it.

But, really what he needs to do is to get a top-of-the-line pitching rotation and bullpen, and, stock up on the farm system to maximize potential.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I don’t think the moves made were bad ones, per se. It just didn’t work out the way it was expected to.

The Padres have a few players that I’m sure some contenders would want, and, as I’ve said a few times in this roundtable I’m a bit put off by why Preller didn’t dump a few players at the trade deadline to recoup some assets for the farm system.

meJoe: Just getting a bunch of offensive players and thinking they can just be plugged into any team’s lineup ain’ t always gonna be the best way to cure a team’s woes. Unfortunaly, in retrospsect I think that’s exactly what Preller did and it could cost him his job.

In my opinion,  a good GM needs to understand how each player acquired is going to fit in with how the team is being directed by the field manmager and how he fits in with that direction. I don’t think Preller did his homework and found players that could play in a menaingful manner…. players that fit into  the team.

Want another example of a team just going out and  getting some supposed big bats and not considering how they would fit into a team… Boston Red Sox.

Big bats that aren’t doing it and a lot of 3, 4 and 5 pitchers…

Kinda sound like the Padres…?

Steve-01-288x300Steve: I don’t think anything was wrong with the moves per-se. I just don’t think that they produced the way that he anticipated them to produce.

A. J. Preller
A. J. Preller

Upton is having a solid year, but he sucks in the clutch. Shields started off with a bang, but has slowed since then because he cannot get any run support. Kimbrel has been lights out, but, you have to have a lead in the ninth in order for him to do his job, still he has 35 saves.

I will say this, they looked damn good against the Cardinals over the weekend. The players just didn’t produce like they should have, and, they don’t gel well together. This is not Preller’s fault, and, I hope they don’t hold this against him.

5) Wallace Matthews, a NY based writer, says in a recent ESPN article that in 2010 if anyone followed the contract extension negotiations between Derek Jeter and Brian Cashman that the talks became a tad testy… Jeter’s camp was asking for upwards of a four-year contract at $23 million to $25 million a season and ultimately Cashman said to reporters, “We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account. We’ve encouraged him to test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That’s the way it works.”

Now, Matthews says it’s be revealed in an SI story that Jeter at one point asked Cashman who would he rather have at shortstop? First Cashman asked Jeter, if he really wanted an honest answer. Jeter said sure and Cashman said… Tulowitzki among others.

Cashman was reported to have told Jeter, “We’re not paying extra money for popularity. We’re paying for performance.”

Matthews writes… “Sometimes, when talking to Cashman, you’re better off not asking the question if you’re not prepared for an honest answer, and sometimes, a brutally honest answer.” Matthews adds most attuned NYers are not surprised by the SI story.

Cashman refuses to revel what was said during the negotiations because they were private but did say he had no objections to the SI piece.

Cashman did say that Jeter was the best player that had ever played for the Yankees on his watch.

As the editor of this column and a person who follows the Yankees exceedingly closely and agrees with what Matthews writes, I am not commenting on this question…

However what do you other contributors think about Matthews’ revelations and what Cashman was supposed to have said to Jeter?

Archie1-300x277Archie: Posturing, position, and Pompous; all were in play. And, really, I could see where both sides could have and should have become more than testy.

Jeter was the Captain and fan favorite for many years and stayed loyal to the Yankees. It may have been ONLY due to the big bucks he made with them but I also feel like he LOVED the pinstripes and what they represented.

12/7/10 - Derek Jeter & Brian Cashman after Jeter re-signed with the Yankees .
12/7/10 – Derek Jeter & Brian Cashman after Jeter re-signed with the Yankees .

Cashman IS a business man first and although he loves the franchise as well, I don’t believe he LOVES the fan base. He is pretty much arrogant to their wishes and wants and figures to put a good product on the field anyway.

So, I can see where ALL of the above may have been said.

Dan:  I think it was just what was said, mere brutal honesty. Jeter had the ability to go elsewhere, nobody was holding a gun to his head. And, Cashman told him who he wanted instead of Jeter and that Jeter wasn’t worth what he was asking. Plain and simple.

You can’t get mad when somebody is keeping it real with you. Just take it and accept it for what it is. I have no problem with what he had said.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Brutal honesty, as well as some typical pompous-ness from all sides involved.

What else can you expect from the New York Yankees?


meJoe: Abstaining


Steve-01-288x300Steve: It is mad respect for a guy like Troy Tulowitzski. However, you have to think what Cashman said had some merit. _jeter_

Jeter, was on the downward slide of his career, while he still produced on the field, Tulo could have been the future at shortstop for the Yankees for several years to come. So, while, Jeter is most certainly the best player the Yankees have seen in the modern era, Tulo would have been a better fit for the Yankees over the past couple of years if they could have made that happen.

You know damn well though, if, Cashman would have pulled the trigger and got rid of Jeter at Shortstop, he probably would not be in baseball right now. 

 Extra Innings…



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