Tag:Red Sox
Posted on: April 2, 2009 4:24 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 8:08 pm
 

MLB Pre-season Power Rankings 2009

Who knows what team is going to finish on top when it is all said and done, but these are the best teams in the land as it stands today:

1) Chicago Cubs - They might have a history of losing, and they have been a popular preseason pick for the last few years only to eventaully fall short of the fall classic, but on paper this is clearly the best team in the NL and arguably the entire MLB. The heart of the order (Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, and Bradley) is as dangerous as any in the game, Soto is a top 5 catcher, and Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot are the most underrated middle infielders in the NL. The Cubs rotation featuring Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, and Ted Lilly, if they can stay healthy, could be a formitable post-season staff. Don't forget about the 1-2 punch of Marmol and Gregg in the back of the pen to close down the game.

2) Tampa Bay Rays - I think it's safe to say the Rays aren't going to surprise anyone this year. They are returning every starter from last year's World Series squad, plus they've added Pat Burrell in right field and have a totally healthy Carl Crawford (who Buster Olney has predicted will win the AL MVP award in 2009). The rotation in Tampa is so solid that they could afford to send down David Price to start the year in the minors. The bullpen which sported the best ERA in the AL last season has for the most part returned as well. The only question facing the Rays is can they outlast the other two contenders in the AL East.

3) New York Yankees - No secret here, the Yanks had a huge off-season and that has given them the potential to grab the #1 spot in the power rankings sooner than later. The two biggest concerns going into the season for New York have to be the Burnett's injury plagued past and the health of Jorge Posada, who could see more time at DH than catcher this year. The knock of the Yankee's lineup is that they are getting old...but the fact is that they aren't dead yet. With All-stars at positions around the field, look for the Yanks to go big this season.

4) Boston Red Sox - The reason the Red Sox are behind both the Rays and Yankees is because they have so many question marks. Is Varitek going to kill them at the plate? Can Penny, Smoltz, and Wakefield fill in the back of the rotation? Is Jed Lowrie going to hurt them at shortstop? Even with all of these nagging issues, the Red Sox are returning the core of their ALCS losing team from 2008, and with potential ace Jon Lester, as well as Beckett and Matsuzaka, fronting the Sox rotation, Boston has as good a chance as any at taking the AL East crown.

5) Philadelphia Phillies - Even without a third baseman, the Phillies still have the best infield in the game. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins hardly need support in the lineup to score runs, but they are accompanied by Shane Victorino and new-comer Raul Ibanez who are looking to grab a second straight WS title. The rotation for the Phillies is the major question mark. Hamels is a top 5 starter in the NL, but can Moyer, Blanton, and Myers repeat the success they had in 2008? If not, then the Phillies may find themselves finishing behind the Braves and Mets in the powerful NL East.

6) Los Angeles Angels - The Angels probably have the best overall staff from front (Lackey) to back (Arrendondo, Shields, Fuentes). It is hard to say that your team is going to struggle scoring runs when you have Vladamir Guererro, Bobby Abreu, and Torri Hunter batting in heart of the lineup, but other than those three sluggers the Angels are full of question marks. Are we going to see the Chone Figgins of 2007 or 2008? What can Mike Nappoli contribute as a full time catcher? Aybar? Morales? Rivera? The Angels are good enough to win the AL West, but keep the 6th spot in the MLB power rankings? Question mark.

7) New York Mets - They have the ace in Santana. They have the top young studs in Reyes and Wright. They have a the powerful veterans in Delgado and Beltran. Now they have a top 5 closer/setup man combo. All that's left is for the Mets to put it all together and they will be untoucable in the NL East. Putting it all together, however, has been tough for the Mets of late, but look for them to break out in a big way in 2009.

8) Arizona Diamondbacks - For some reason the Dodgers and Giants are heavy favorites to take the NL West, but the Dbacks have better starting pitching than either club and their lineup is far better than San Fran's with the potential of being this year's Tampa Bay young-hitter break out squad. With Young, Drew, Jackson, and Upton beginning the season as potential all-stars, it is very possible that these guys run away with the NL West (Sorry Dodger fans...Manny will break your heart, just wait).

9) Minnesota Twins - It is one of the biggest mysteries in baseball: the Twins always win. Ask someone to name four players on the twins and they will get as far Mauer, Morneau, and Nathan before giving up. But the fact remains: this team, through smart hitting, great fielding, and constant hustle, knows how to win. Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Fransisco Liriano front a top of the line, young rotation and youngsters by the name of Span, Gomez, and Casilla will all help to get the Twins to the top of the AL Central.

10) Atlanta Braves - They are no Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, but Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, and Javier Vasquez front a very potent rotation down in Georgia. When the Braves were dominating the NL East they relied on quality pitching, but if they are to challenge the Mets and Phillies for the title in 2009 they are going to have to do it with the bats as well. That means Chipper Jones is going to have to stay healthy, Brian McCann will have to remain the best hitting catcher in the NL, and Kotchman, Schafer, and Escobar are going to have to live up to all of their potential.

11) Chicago White Sox - We all know that Dye, Quentin, Konerko, and Thome can pack a big punch, but the White Sox are going to have to rely more on the young bats of Ramirez, Getz, and Fields to fight through the crowd at the top of the AL Central. Bobby Jenks is a top five closer...but the fact is that he can't start in place of Contreras and Colon in the back of the rotation. If either of those two flop (likely) you could see the young arms of Jack Egbert or Aaron Poreda making their debuts, which could be a good thing for Chicago.

12) Cleveland Indians - So many questions, but so much talent. My preseason pick for AL MVP is Grady Sizemore and he could easily lead this tribe team to the playoffs. Lee and Carmona are a solid 1-2 in the rotation, and Kerry Wood will sure up their abysmal bullpen from a year ago. If Hafner bounces back and Martinez stays healthy, the Indians are going to be very dangerous.

13) San Diego Padres - My surprise team in the power rankings (will probably come back to bite me). I love Peavy and Young at the front of the rotation. Don't forget, this is the same team that everyone was picking to win the NL West pre-season a year ago. They still have a solid nucleus in Gonzalez as well as a load of talent around the outfield. When people don't expect a lot from them, the Padres are at their best. Watchout.

14) Detroit Tigers - After attempting to construct a team of all-stars in 2008 in hopes of returning to the World Series, the Tigers were miserable. But they have scaled back in 2009 and parted ways with the likes of Ivan Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. The 3-4 holes filled by Ordonez and Cabrera are some of the best in the game, but Detroit has major question marks following Verlander in the rotation, the back of the bullpen, and the left side of the infield.

15) Los Angeles Dodgers - They have the hall of famer in the middle of the lineup surrounded by great young talent, but not only is Chad Billingsly more of a #2 or #3 than an ace, but there isn't another arm in the starting rotation that you would really consider reliable. Kuroda, Kershaw, and Wolf all have different levels of potential, but I don't see this staff matchup with with the Webb/Haren, Lincecum/Cain, or even Peavy/Young combinations in the NL West. And we know the Dodgers aren't known for outscoring people...

16) St. Louis Cardinals - They have Pujols. That alone could be enough to get them in wild-card contention...which is good because other than Ryan Ludwick they don't have anyone else.

17) Milwakee Brewers - They are going to go through some growing pains without Sheets and Sabathia, but I still like any club with Braun and Fielder manning the middle of the lineup to contend for a playoff spot...even if their rotation does look a little raggedy.

18) Toronto Blue Jays - Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball...too bad all he has to support him are Vernon Well and Alex Rios. Playing the the AL East, don't expect much from the Blue Jays (although the same was said about the Rays of 2008).

19) Florida Marlins - All the potential in the world. A few all-stars and an MVP candidate mixed in with potential studs. The Marlins have done more with less.

20) San Fransisco Giants - They've built a pretty solid rotation...but I'm not sure if adding Edgar Renteria to one of the worst lineups in baseball is going to make a difference.

21) Oakland Athletics - Improved the lineup dramatically with Giambi, Cabrera, and Holliday, the question is whether or not the young arms of Braden, Cahill, and Anderson can live up to the hype.

22) Cinncinati Reds - They have a few young studs in Dickerson, Bruce, and Votto, not to mention a decent starting staff...look for the Reds to turn a few heads in the NL Central.

23) Texas Rangers - Same old story. Amazing lineup, marginal arms. Are you going to bet the farm on Millwood and Padilla as your big 1-2 punch? And Kris Benson? I thought his arm fell off 3 years ago...

24) Houston Astros - Great talent in Oswalt, Berkman, and Lee...other than that it isn't looking like the Astros are going to get by the Cards and Cubbies. Ps...if Mike Hampton makes more than 10 starts I will be shocked.

25) Baltimore Orioles - Name a single starting pitcher besides their "Ace" Jeremy Guthrie...enough said.

26) Colorado Rockies - Dealing away Holliday spelled doom for the Rockies in 2009...you don't give up your best player if you think you have a shot.

27) Kansas City Royals - Decent young players...nothing too special though. If Gordon, Butler, and Jacobs break out they are still only going to be mediocre.

28) Seattle Mariners - They are already talking about who they are going to deal Bedard to at the trading deadline...and I'm tired of hearing talk about Beltre's "breakout contract season"...he's mediocre, get over it.

29) Pittsburgh Pirates - Who are they going to deal at the deadline this year for marginal talent?

30) Washington Nationals - If only Teixeira could have taken a hometown discount...

 

Posted on: January 3, 2009 9:09 pm
 

Boston Fans: SMARTEN UP!

I live in New York, but for the holidays I went and stayed with my parents near Boston for a week. While I was driving around Massachusetts I got to listen to WEEI (which is a treat, because I only get ESPN radio in NY), but what I heard from most callers was very disapointing.

People were calling into the radio station talking about complete nonsense, which made me realize, "this is why sports fans from other cities hate us". Here are some of the things Boston sports fans were calling into WEEI to talk about that are absolutely ridiculous:

RED SOX:

"Come on Theo and do something already!" - Why do the Red Sox need to do something just for the sake of doing something? What does he really need to do? The Sox made it to within a game of the World Series last year and he has all the same players as last year, plus a healthy Lowell and Ortiz. The only pressing issues were (1) signing a 4th starter, which he did signing Brad Penny, (2) sign a catcher, locking up Varitek is just a matter of time, and (3) maybe strengthening the bullpen, which he has done as well.

"We should trade everyone we have for Jake Peavy" - Why? So we can forfeit or future like the Yankees have been doing? Peavy would legitimately be the #4 starter on this team, and the Sox don't need a team full of All-stars. Just because the Sox have money doesn't mean they have to go nuts in the off-season.

"The Sox need to do something the improve the bottom of the lineup" - Come on people, Lowell, Lowrie, and Varitek are going to be just fine. We're talking about the WS MVP from 2007 and the guy who got the ALDS winning hit batting 7th and 8th, not too shabby. And if Varitek happens to struggle at the plate again, so what? What team has a really good #9 hitter?

Patriots:

"The Patriots got screwed out of the playoffs, the NFL should change their system" - Is there a rule that says an 11 win team is automatically in the playoffs? If the Patriots really deserved to get into the playoffs then they would have beaten a playoff team. "But the Chargers were only 8-8!" Yeah, and they beat the Pats. If Patriots had beaten the Bolts, Colts, Steelers, or Dolphins (twice) they would have been in. If you can't beat playoff teams, you don't deserve to be the in playoffs.

"Franchise Cassel and just piece together the rest of the team with whatever money is left over" - great plan...spend 1/3 of your total cap on a single position. The Patriots NEED help in the secondary, and if they franchise Cassel there is no money to bolster their defensive backfield.

CELTICS:

"The Celtics have no shot of winning the championship with their current team make-up, the need Stephon Marbury" - Nobody NEEDS Stephon Marbury. This town just got rid of Manny Ramirez, now we want him right back. Unless the Celtics put a claus in his contract that reads, "if Stephon distrupts the team in any way he will be immediately cut" I don't want to see him. Do whatever it takes to get P.J. Brown out of retirement or start developing Patrick O'Bryant because we don't need a PG, we need a big man. ----Ps. If the Celtics sign Marbury, all you crazies would go nuts whenever Scalabrine touches the ball are going to start crying because guess whose playing time the little guy is going to steal....

I know there are very well educated Boston sports fans out there, because I see their posts on this site all the time (yes, I do see the dumb ones too). I just wish more people, who I have no choice but to be associated with, would do a little homework before running their mouths about things they don't understand.

Posted on: December 11, 2008 3:58 pm
 

GM for a Day: Smoltz + Red Sox = Perfect Couple

Throw a Sox hat on this guy      

For the first time since his successful shoulder surgery in June, righty John Smoltz climbed to the top of a pitching mound earlier this week. Not only did he snap off his full repertoire of pitches, but he turned some heads as well.

One of those heads sat on the shoulders of Theo Epstein.

Smoltz, who is a free agent and on record as saying Boston is one of a very few places he would be willing to sign, is favored to land back in Atlanta where he has spent all 20 years of his career. The Tigers, who are of special significance since Smoltz is a Michigan native, are also interested in the future hall of famer.

Despite his allegiance to Atlanta or reveries of a heart-warming homecoming in Detroit, Boston is the best place for Smoltz.

In my estimation, by stating that he only wants to return to the Braves if they have a realistic chance of winning a World Championship is another way of saying, "Sorry Atlanta, but you are rebuilding and I'm gonna work the market and play for a winner". And who better to fit that bill than the Red Sox who came within one game of returning to their 3rd world series in 5 years?

One selling point is that the Sox have a specific void which needs to be filled: the fourth spot in their rotation. At 41 years of age (42 in May) Smoltz would be asked to be the ace in both Atlanta and Detroit. Putting that kind of presure on a surgically repaired arm can't be healthy...but Boston offers a low-risk option. Even if Smoltz doesn't return to Cy Young form, which is likely the case, he would be considered a success in Beantown if he went 14-8 with a 4.00 ERA...with those numbers he would be considered a flop elsewhere.

The Red Sox also have to think of the future of their rotation. Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden are supposedly still a little ways away from starting the season in the big leagues, but are both penciled in to be in the 2010 rotation. So where can Boston find a decent arm willing to sign only a one year deal? Tah-dah! John Smoltz, because of his recent arm problems, is only looking for a single year deal.

But Smoltz is a former Cy Young winner, isn't it going to cost an arm and a leg to sign this guy? Not so. Where as other 2nd tier hurlers like Oliver Perez (5 years $75 mil), Andy Pettitte (extended contract, $15 mil per year), and Ben Sheets (upwards of $14 mil) are all looking for around $15 million per season, Smoltz is testing the waters at $10 million! That has "steal" written all over it.

Just close your eyes for a minute and picture a playoff rotation of Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, and Smoltz....beautiful, isn't it? And unlike all the Peavy go-getters out there, this is actually realistic!

This deal makes perfect sense for both next year and the future...not to mention that fans will go nuts with such a big name signing. Don't expect Smoltz to be a 20 game winner, but he would, hands down, be the best number 4 starter in the league.

Posted on: December 4, 2008 1:44 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 1:49 pm
 

GM for a day: Lowell/Teixeira "Not about money"

I know that Major League Baseball is a business, but I also know that sometimes the game and the players in it have more at stake than just the bottom line.

I love the thought of having Mark Teixeira in the Red Sox lineup next year and with the winter meets right around the corner that might very well become a reality very soon. But at what cost?

When I say cost, I'm not referring to a dollar amount, but I'm speaking about the way the organization will be remembered for years to come. With the signing of Teixeira the Red Sox will most likely be shipping Mike Lowell off elsewhere as Youk makes the move to third. This is the same Mike Lowell who was the MVP of the 2007 World Series and signed with the Sox for $10 million less than he could have elsewhere.

Are we so fickle that we are willing to turn our back and end a relationship with a person who was our hero only a year ago and threw away $10 million to maintain this relationship? He said he stayed because of the teammates, the fans, and the town. He stayed because we are supposedly the best fans and organization in baseball, and if we want to prove that and earn the respect of players around the league so they might do the same as Lowell did, we shouldn't settle for throwing Lowell out the door.

Signing the best free agent out there doesn't make us a good team, having the right mix of guys that complete their roles perfectly is the formula for success, and Lowell is one of the pieces that helps the Red Sox succeed. Keeping that in mind, I'll leave you with Lowell's words from a year ago when he signed his 3 year $37 million deal with Boston:

"I have financial security so I'd like to believe I'm not all about money," Lowell said. "I feel like I'm more of a baseball player than a businessman. I kind of weighed where I felt comfortable, where I thought I could produce the best with the team that has a chance to win a world championship, and it was Boston. On top of that, we just won and I think I played with a set of teammates that are unparalleled and with a manager the same way and with a fan base that's unbelievable.

"I think all of those came into play. I really don't believe that everything should be about money. I've had teammates in the past that have gone to other places and sometimes they have second thoughts because they took more money elsewhere. I just didn't think my happiness should just be bought by dollars."

Doesn't that sound like a guy you want playing for your team?

Posted on: December 2, 2008 3:14 pm
 

Jim Rice Hall of Fame bound?

Perhaps I'm merely biased and simply love the idea of another Red Sox star being inshrined into baseball's holyland, but when faced with the question as to whether or not Jim Rice should be voted into the Hall of Fame this year my answer is a resounding Y-E-S!

The voting writers claim that in order to be considered as a candidate for Cooperstown you must be a "dominating" player of your generation. Here are several reasons why Jim Rice was just that:

Career Prime: During the 12 years of Jim Rice's prime (1975-86), he hit at a .303 clip while averaging over 30 HRs and 107 RBI a season. He hit over .315 4 times, 4 times had more than 120 RBI, and also hit 39 or more homeruns 4 times. That is outstanding.

All-star teams: Jim Rice was selected to 8 All star teams during those 12 years in his prime. The four years he wasn't selected were 1975: finished 3rd in MVP voting and 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting; 1976: common Sophomore slump (still hit 25 HRs); 1981: injured, only accumulated 451 ABs; and 1982: WON THE MVP.

MVP Caliber: In addition to winning the MVP in '78, he earned a top-5 spot in the MVP voting 5 other times as well as votes in 2 other years (13th and 19th place).

Other honors: Rice twice won the silver slugger award for best hitter at his position and in his only World Series appearance against the Mets in 1986 hit .333 with 6 walk, 6 runs, a double, and a triple in 27 ABs.

15 years has been a long time to wait, but a 1st ballot Hall of Famer and 15th ballot inductee are both inshrined together. Let the anxiety begin.

 

Posted on: November 20, 2008 3:21 pm
 

GM for a Day: AJ Burnett...proceed with caution

Although at the beginning of the offseason Red Sox GM Theo Epstein expressed his opinion in say the Sox didn't need to make a lot of moves to improve a team that nearly went to its third World Series in five years, but it seems like Boston has been involved in negotiations with a majority of the big names on the market, most recently: AJ Burnett.

CBS is reporting the rumors are untrue because if they were valid the fireballer would have jumped at the five year deal worth upwards of $85 million; however, I feel as though Burnett might realize the Yankees are more desperate for starting pitching and since they have seemingly bottomless pockets they could possibly produce a bigger offer than the Red Sox, especially if Sabathia signs elsewhere (which is looking more and more likely now the Giants have jumped in on the action and Sabathia himself has said that he would rather pitch in the NL so he can hit, and preferably in his home state of California).

Although I feel like giving Burnett $17 per season is outrageous, I can't help but smirk when I think about a rotation of Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, and Burnett. That said, if I were Epstein I would not sign the soon to be 32 year old right hander. This guy is a clear cut contract year pitcher. Last season he set career highs in wins (18), starts (35), Innings (221.3), and Strikeouts (231). Prior to that, all of his career highs were set in he 2005 (12 wins, 32 starts, 209 innings, 198 Ks), which, coincidentally happens to have been the only other contract year of his career.

Another reason to stay away from the former Blue Jay and Marlin is that in his nine full seasons as a professional, Burnett has endured 10 different trips to the disabled list. Worse yet, there have only been 3 years that the nine year veteran has not found himself spending extended time injured. In translation, if you play the averages game, and the Red Sox sign Mr.Burnett to a five year deal, you're looking at getting a healthy 85 million dollar pitcher for two full seasons.

As tempting as it is to go after a big name free agent, as GM I would prefer to see Clay Buchholz be given the 5th spot in the rotation starting in April. I know you're rolling your eyes last year because the kid struggled mightily, posting a 2-9 record with a 6.75 ERA, but he is still only one year removed from his impressive debut with the Sox where his numbers were a more than impressive 3-1 record, 1.59 ERA, with 22 Ks in 22 innings. Don't forget that young pitchers don't always throw well right out of the gate. If you remember back to Lester's first year in the bigs his ERA was nearly 5.00. We'd all be kicking ourselves if we gave up on him after that debacle, now wouldn't we?

Posted on: November 18, 2008 4:30 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2008 8:10 pm
 

GM for a day: Red Sox possible transactions

While there aren't a whole lot of questions facing this off-season, and as Tony Massarittu said in a recent article, "[The Red Sox] are not truly desperate for anything. Even if the Sox make no moves, they will return with a club that came within one victory of another trip to the World Series." There are however few rumors circulating that would have perked my interest as a GM and one is as follows:

Sending Julio Lugo to the Tigers for either Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson. These talks fell through due to monitary restraints on the Tigers part, but it brings up the point that the Sox have two players on their current roster who don't have a place in the starting lineup, but could possibly be shipped out for young tallent; Lugo and Coco Crisp.

Okay, so the Sox would be happy just getting rid of Lugo and his $9.25 million a year contract for a bag of balls. There isn't a team out there that will give the Sox any real talent in return for a 33 year old Lugo who managed a MAJOR LEAGUE WORST .139 batting average with risp last season, but with the emergence of Lowrie, who is not only a far superior fielder, but hitter also, the Sox need to do all they can to ship lugo out of town...they can find another pinch runner for cheaper...

Crisp isn't going to be the cornerstone of any deals this off-season either, but unlike Lugo he doesn't have some attraction as a deal sweetener for some teams. Coco, who finished last season with a .284 BA, 7 HR, 55 R, and 20SB in just 381 atbats is still only 29 years old and is scheduled to make just $5 million next year. Crisp would be the starting centerfielder on any number of teams in the league and the Sox just need to find a team that has some semblance of catching depth in order to make a deal.

The most well known trade talks right now that may include Coco Crisp are with the Texas Rangers who, with the departure of Milton Bradley, leaving a whole is CF, as well as significant catching depth (Jerrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Jerald Laird), seem to be the perfect fit for a trade with the Sox. The latest rumors have Clay Buccholz and Crisp being sent to Texas for Saltalamacchia, a catcher who despite his mediocre 2008 (.253 BA, 3 HR, 26 RBI in 200AB) has amazing upside.

The Rangers seem set on keeping Teagarden, the youngest and most highly praised of the three Texas squatters, but since the Sox seem equally set on keeping their young pitching tallent, don't be surprised to see Crisp traded straight up for Laird later in the winter. Another possible transaction that might be in the works is sending a package comprised of two of three young pitching prospects from the Sox (Bowden, Masterson, Hagadone) and Crisp for Saltalamacchia.

Other possibilities for players you could package Crisp for that I dream about (longshots): Ryan Doumit (PIT) , Ramon Hernandez (BAL), Kelly Shoppach (CLE).

Posted on: November 12, 2008 8:10 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2008 8:15 pm
 

AL MVP Predictions:Vote No to Francisco Rodriguez

If the Los Angeles Angels' closer Francisco Rodriguez wins the AL MVP I might cry.

The only solid statistic he has is 62 saves. All that stat is saying is that the Angels played more close games than any other team in the league. There isn't a legitimate baseball fan out there that would argue against the fact that if any of the top 10 closers in the game today were in Los Angeles this year that they wouldn't have saved the same amount of games.

It would be a travesty if Rodriguez won because he had his worst statistical season of his career. His ERA was a solid 2.24, but his WHIP was the highest of his career at 1.29. Compare that to Jonathan Papelbon (0.95), Mariano Rivera (0.67), or Joe Nathan (0.90). You might say, "WHIP is a worthless category", but the fact is that runners weren't just getting on base against him, they were scorching him for a .314 batting average. That is horrendous!! That .314 OBA is .034 points higher than his career average.

And don't throw me the arguement of, "Well he was actually the Most Valuable person to his team", because although he blew 7 saves (7 more than Brad Lidge who has eerily similar numbers but isn't even considered in the NL MVP balloting) if he had blown 20 his team still would have won their division!

The real winner here is going to be Josh Hamilton (.304 AVG, 32 HR, 130 RBI, 35 2B, 98 R, .538 SLG). While second place might seem like losing to most people, for the Texas Rangers, perennial AL West cellar dwellers, it is a huge step in the right direction, and they couldn't have done it without Hamilton. He has the best stats in the American League which makes him the player of the year, and that is really what this award has become.

The other candidates for the award all play on the same teams and will inevitably split votes and come up short. So congratulations in advance to Josh Hamilton, this year's AL MVP.

The final standing should look something like this:

Josh Hamilton OF, TEX

Dustin Pedroia 2B, BOS

Francisco Rodriguez RP, LAA

Justin Morneau 1B, MIN

Carlos Quentin OF, CHI

Alex Rodriguez 3B, NYY

Kevin Youkilis 1B, BOS

Joe Mauer C, MIN

Honorable Mention: Grady Sizemore OF, CLE, Evan Longoria 3B, TB, Miguel Cabrera 3B, DET, Vladimir Guerrero OF, ANA.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com