Blue Jays Sign Melky Cabrera and Final Thoughts on AL MVP Award

So much for the Blue Jays not signing any more free agents after the big trade with the Marlins (which is still being reviewed by the Commissioner’s Office as I write this).  The Jays just announced signing Melky Cabrera for two years at a total of $16 million.

Melky took a big hit financially testing positive for steroids last summer, but he obviously isn’t going to go to bed hungry any time soon, thanks to the market for free agent market this off-season.  I’m a little surprised that Melky signed a two-year deal, since if he has a good 2013, he’d still be able to cash in on a longer term deal.

Either he thought it wise to get as big a contract as he could this off-season, or the Blue Jays insisted on a two-year deal, which seems unlikely.  Either way, it’s a good move for the Blue Jays, who at a discounted price get Melky for age 28 and 29.  Of course, we’ll see how well he plays without vitamin S in his system.

As for the AL MVP Award, I was a little sad that the vote wasn’t closer.  I guess I was rooting for a tie between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout and shared award, since they both had exceptional seasons.

I’m not really that surprised that the baseball writers of America chose Cabrera.  They have a keen grasp of history, and there’s no way to get around the fact that the Triple Crown is historically the ultimate symbol of offensive dominance, even if newer metrics for offensive performance are more accurate.  In fact, before Cabrera’s 2012 season, a lot of people wondered whether anyone would win the Triple Crown again, since expansion to 14 and 16 team leagues has made winning the award much more difficult.

All that being said, I don’t doubt that Trout’s superior defense made him the more valuable player in 2012.

The one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is any comparison of Trout’s 2012 season to Fred Lynn‘s 1975.  For those of you not old enough to remember, Lynn won the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards that year, the first player in baseball history to do so and with Ichiro, the only players to do so.

Lynn hit .331 with power, led the AL in runs scored (as Trout did this year), and led the Red Sox to the World Series.  Lynn was a also awarded a Gold Glove for his play in center field that magical season.  The thing about Mike Trout is that he was two and half years younger this year than Lynn was in 1975.

The thing that kept Fred Lynn out of the Hall of Fame (at least so far) was injuries.  He had only three more seasons in his career after 1975 in which he managed to play in 140 or more games, although he played in the majors up through age 38.  Even so, he had a season in 1979 for which he finished 4th in the MVP but would almost certainly have won if the baseball writers then had the knowledge regarding performance they have available to them now.

Trout was healthy throughout 2012, but he was only 20 years old.  Pretty much the only thing likely to stop Trout from having a Hall of Fame career is future injuries.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Anaheim Angels, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays

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