|Without Josh Beckett, the Red Sox wouldn't be leading the wild-card race. (US Presswire)|
Updated Sept. 20
While the MVP award gets all the press for its vagueness and subjectivity -- voters are instructed to "pick the best dude, according to a value system of your own choosing, whether or not it hews to traditional notions of morality" -- Comeback Player Of The Year doesn't come with a clear set of instructions, either. It leaves wide open the question of what exactly constitutes a comeback: Is it post-injury competence, post-stinkitude performance or some combination of the two? It also practically begs voters to buy into prevailing narratives, which is why trade-requester-turned-teacher's-pet Michael Young will end up with a few votes.
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Since baseball doesn't hand out enough nice-but-pointless honors, I'd split Comeback Player Of The Year into two separate awards. The first would celebrate non-rookies who didn't meet a certain statistical threshold (say, 150 plate appearances for hitters or 50 innings for pitchers) during the previous season. The second would honor those who once sucked and now do not.
Call the first one Comeback Player Of The Year. Call the second one Done Gotted Betterer Player Of The Year. Slap a sponsor on 'em both to fund a donation to the winner's charity of choice and call it an afternoon. Make it happen, baseball.