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Weekend Buzz: Handicapping awards not so cut-and-dry


The Weekend Buzz while you were trying to hang on to the last pieces of summer and debating how the postseason awards will fall. No need to wait, here's how they should fall. ...

AL MVP: 1. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. 2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. 3. Robinson Cano, Yankees. 4. Jose Bautisa, Blue Jays. 5. Joe Mauer, Twins. 6. Evan Longoria, Rays. 7. Paul Konerko, White Sox. 8. CC Sabathia, Yankees. 9. Adrian Beltre, Rangers. 10. Mark Teixeira, Yankees.

Joey Votto has been a fan favorite this year in Cincinnati. (Getty Images)  
Joey Votto has been a fan favorite this year in Cincinnati. (Getty Images)  
Most years, you tell me a guy who has been sidelined for most of September should win an MVP award, I'll find a nice doctor to write a prescription covering delusion. But this isn't most years. Hamilton did all of his heavy lifting from April through August. Not coincidentally, the Rangers won their first division title since 1999 and Hamilton leads the AL in OPS. Were the Tigers in the position they were in last year, Cabrera would win. Terrific year for Cano, and with 50+ homers and 120+ RBI, there are those who think Bautista should win. All compelling cases. But Hamilton's the guy.

NL MVP: 1. Joey Votto, Reds. 2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals. 3. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies. 4. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. 5. Jayson Werth, Phillies. 6. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies. 7. Adam Dunn, Nationals. 8. Roy Halladay, Phillies. 9. Martin Prado, Braves. 10. Aubrey Huff, Giants.

It's official: Votto has supplanted Skyline Chili and Montgomery Inn ribs as Cincinnati's favorite delicacy. He hits for power (third in the NL in homers) and is an on-base machine (leads the NL in on-base percentage). His no-nonsense, spread-the-wealth approach to work and to the attention the Reds players received this year helped make Cincinnati what it is. CarGo, Pujols (who earned two-thirds of a Triple Crown in homers and RBI), Gonzalez ... lots of other great years. I give a vote to Halladay because in the midst of Philly's incredible run of injuries, Halladay was the engine Charlie Manuel's club used.

AL Cy Young: 1. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. 2. David Price, Rays. 3. CC Sabathia, Yankees. 4. Trevor Cahill, Athletics. 5. Jon Lester, Red Sox.

Just because Felix Hernandez's teammates continually administered him eye pokes and noogies by performing like a bunch of Three Stooges at the plate does not mean he should not win the Cy award. This guy was the best in the AL this year, period. Innings pitched, ERA, opponents' batting average, it all adds up for Hernandez much more than his paltry 13 wins. Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax wouldn't win more than 13 games for this sorry offense.

NL Cy Young: 1. Roy Halladay, Phillies. 2. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals. 3. Josh Johnson, Marlins. 4. Tim Hudson, Braves. 5. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies.

Roy Halladay is a throwback to the days when starting pitchers were men and sheep, er, relievers were scared because they'd never get a chance to pitch. Halladay led the majors with 250 2/3 innings pitched, the most since Montreal's Livan Hernandez threw 255 in 2004.

AL Manager of the Year: 1. Ron Gardenhire, Twins. 2. Terry Francona, Red Sox. 3. Ron Washington, Rangers.

There is going to be lots of sentiment -- especially in the East -- for Francona, who did a marvelous job keeping a Red Sox team bushwhacked by injuries in contention. Hey, I think this is Francona's best job of managing yet, but he's not the Lone Ranger regarding injuries. The Twins lost closer Joe Nathan for the season this spring. They lost former MVP Justin Morneau to post-concussion syndrome in early July. Gardenhire has never won a Manager of the Year award, and that's a crime.

NL Manager of the Year: 1. Bud Black, Padres. 2. Dusty Baker, Reds. 3. Charlie Manuel, Phillies/Bruce Bochy, Giants (tie).

Win, lose or draw on the season's final weekend, Black hands down is the NL Manager of the Year. There should not even be a question. Only the Pirates had a lower payroll in the majors than the Padres this season. Pundits had them buried in quicksand by Mother's Day. Yet there they were, in Game 162, battling for a spot in October. Baker, Manuel and Bochy each did phenomenal work. But crank up AC/DC for the NL award: It's back in Black.

AL Rookie of the Year: 1. Neftali Feliz, Rangers. 2. Austin Jackson, Tigers. 3. Brennan Boesch, Tigers.

Feliz closed games the way Dennis Franz locked down crime scenes on NYPD Blue: With his own inimitable style and aplomb. Texas' problem for years has been pitching. Reason the Rangers won their first AL West title this year? Starts on the mound.

NL Rookie of the Year: 1. Buster Posey, Giants. 2. Jason Heyward, Braves. 3. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals.

Rookie Buster Posey gets the slight edge over Jason Heyward in the NL. (Getty Images)  
Rookie Buster Posey gets the slight edge over Jason Heyward in the NL. (Getty Images)  
Let's start with this: There is no wrong answer here. Posey and Heyward, Heyward and Posey. For the longest time, the nod here was Heyward, the edge being that he's been there since opening day. But for me, Posey made up for lost time not only because of his offensive numbers, but because of the position he plays. As a catcher, he was involved in every single pitch and handled the job beautifully. As an outfielder, Heyward spent many, many pitches ... standing and waiting for the next one. It's going to be fun watching these two kids develop into superstars.

AL Executive of the Year: 1. Jon Daniels, Rangers. 2. Bill Smith, Twins. 3. Theo Epstein, Red Sox.

Not everyone thought Vladimir Guerrero could be productive very much longer. But after watching Guerrero bludgeon the Rangers the past few seasons the way a steamroller smooths asphalt, Daniels took a chance. Smart man. He also acquired Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina in-season. Smith's handiwork in acquiring relievers Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes helped patch the hole left by Nathan's injury. If not for injuries, Epstein's Red Sox probably would have won the AL East.

NL Executive of the Year: 1. Jed Hoyer/Kevin Towers, Padres. 2. Brian Sabean, Giants. 3. Walt Jocketty, Reds.

While the Padres were baseball's best story and biggest overachievers, you cannot let this season pass without congratulating Towers, who was fired last October, for his work in building this pitching staff -- and especially, in acquiring killer bullpen members Heath Bell, Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson. Hoyer's fingerprints are on Jon Garland, Yorvit Torrealba and the Hairston brothers, Scott and Jerry Jr. And Hoyer's midseason acquisition of Miguel Tejada paid huge dividends (Ryan Ludwick? Disappointing). Sabean's rapid rebuilding of the Giants midseason -- Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez -- was spot on.

30-second rewind

Hey, we expect the managers and players to be stand-up guys, don't we? This is how I saw it coming out of spring training (please, hold your applause -- I mean, your catcalls -- until we finish this exercise!):

AL East: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays.

Too much credit to the Yanks and Orioles, not enough to Toronto.

AL Central: Twins, White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Royals

Correct, correct, correct, correct and correct.

AL West: Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Athletics

Knew I should have picked Texas.

AL wild card: White Sox.

Yeah, in an alternate, non-Yankees universe.

NL East: Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals.

Correct, correct, correct, correct and correct.

NL Central: Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Pirates.

Not so correct. Except, of course, the Pirates. Picking them last is more of a no-brainer than figuring your local politician is on the take.

NL West: Rockies, Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres.

Me and 2,000 other guys had the Padres last.

NL wild card: Braves.


AL MVP: Carlos Quentin, White Sox.

I should be locked up in San Quentin for being so wrong on this.

NL MVP: Prince Fielder, Brewers.

Wrong year to pick a Brewer (unless you own a microbrewery and are, you know, hiring).

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners.

Congratulations to me for correctly foreseeing this one.

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Phillies.

Two-for-two in Cy Young picks (if the voters don't screw it up). This from the man who correctly nailed Kansas City's Zack Greinke to win the AL award last year.

AL Rookie: Brian Matusz, Orioles.

Hey, if Buck Showalter were managing all year maybe I would have been right. ...

NL Rookie: Jason Heyward, Braves.

Might be right. But to me, Buster Posey out in San Francisco is the winner.

AL Manager: Ron Gardenhire, Twins.

Only East Coast Bias can prevent Gardy from winning his first award.

NL Manager: Bobby Cox, Braves.

So sue me for getting all emotional in making this pick this spring.

AL Most Surprising Team: Indians.

Uh, wrong.

NL Most Surprising Team: Reds.

Uh, right ... in a league that doesn't include San Diego.

AL Surprise Player: Ben Sheets, A's.


NL Surprise Player: Tim Hudson, Braves.


AL Disappointing Player: Mike Cameron, Red Sox.

It's tough when injuries catch up to a guy.

NL Disappointing Player: Manny Ramirez, Dodgers.

This was pretty clear, given an anticipated lack of female fertility drugs for Manny in 2010.

First manager fired: Jerry Manuel, Mets.

I meant first manager fired in the offseason.

See ya in the playoffs.


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