The Most Valuable Player is one of, if not, the most sought after personal award in Baseball. It can validate a great stretch, a great season and in some cases, a great career. This award also sparks a great deal of debate about the qualifications that are used to judge the MVP. Yesterday morning I listened to an argument on ESPN radio that questioned why pitchers never win the MVP, but yet are always drafted first in Fantasy Baseball. Mike Greenberg used the Cubs as his example and said that they will choose to resign Carlos Zambrano instead of saving the money in order to sign Alex Rodriguez. Baseball pundit Buster Olney agreed and said that any G.M. in baseball would do the same thing. So then, how come pitchers never win the MVP if they are the most important factor for a team making a run? This is a tough question to confront as many people have vastly different opinions and I am one of those. I do not always buy into the traditional views of the MVP as I am one who believes the award should be given to the player who makes the biggest difference for his team, not necessarily the best player. For example, Derrek Lee meant more to the Cubs in ’05 than Albert Pujols. Granted Pujols may go down as a better player, by stats, when it is all said and done, and even though he was considered better, he was by no means, more valuable.
With all that said, I wanted to offer a few players who may be the MVP of the Cubs this year, and to make it more interesting, none of them are named Alfonso, Lee, Derrek, Ramirez, Soriano or Aramis and no combination of those names either.
It was made official that Matt Murton will be the starter in left field as Lou Piniella said Floyd would be a bench player when the season starts. Now we will have to see how that plays out over the next few months, but if he plays 90% of the time, he could be huge. Batting in the 2-hole would give Murton the best protection in the National League allowing him to convey his ability and possibly make a genius out of me, and many others. His ability to bridge the gap from Soriano to Lee/Ramirez will regularly foreshadow the outcome of the game. If Murton bats 2nd and hits .310, the Cubbies will be playoff bound.
Now I know tearing the cover off the ball in Arizona does not necessarily preclude great seasons, (see Garciappara, Nomar); but Jacque is swinging a sweet bat. In similarity to Murton, he will be helped by the big guns in the lineup. If they are on base in front of him, there will be no where to put him, plus he is the only regular left-handed hitter in the lineup, which will be key. JJ can put up 30/90 and still get overlooked on a team like this, but again, if he gets off to a better start than last year, those numbers are very reasonable, and if he attains them, we will be privy to the sweet smell of Wrigley baseball come October.
If JJ is dealt prior to opening day, Pie may find his way to the Show for the first time ever. His defensive ability would greatly mitigate the weakness in the Outfield and allow Soriano to play right and fully utilize the gun he calls a right arm. Also, he has more experience playing center than Soriano, and Pie will help hide some of Matt Murton’s defensive deficiencies. Meanwhile, he will be batting 7th or 8th with little pressure to produce offensively, creating the perfect scenario for breaking into the league. Anything on top of that, as they say, is just gravy.
This gutsy and emotional clubhouse leader is the unofficial caption of this team, in my opinion. His love of the game is evident at all times, whether it is hustling, sliding or punching; he is always helping his team gain an edge. He proved he was a role model by apologizing to A.J. while admitting he was wrong. His on-field performance improves every year. His defense and game calling abilities are always in question, but his value will be clearly stated by his handling of the Rotation. 15 wins for Lilly and Hill and Barrett will be receiving votes for the valuable award.
Those are four random MVP candidates for the 2007 Chicago Cubs, who are yours? What are you thoughts? Let me know, nothing is out of bounds, hey, they may even walk over to Section 409 and give me the trophy…..it may be from a hot dog vendor and have more to do with total consumption than games won, but as long as I receive acknowledgement from the Beer Men as well, I will be just fine.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and until next time….
Stay Classy Cubs Fans.