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Who’s Your Tiger MVP?

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By no means do the Detroit Tigers have the American League Central locked up, as opposed to last month when they, um, did.

With just a half game lead over the Minnesota Twins, they may not even be the odds-on-favorite to win the division. But a Wednesday night win over the Chicago White Sox wraps up a series win over their division opponents, setting the Pale Hose six games back in the division and tumbling the magic number for the Tigers to make the playoffs down to five, with one-and-a-half weeks left in the season.

So there's a high probability this team makes the playoffs, even if it's the Wild Card. But even Wild Card teams have sported MVP candidates, although it's tough to separate an MVP candidate on this team since the entire lineup is consistently productive, as is the pitching staff.

But for the sake of arguments, let's go down the lineup of regulars and examine who has the best argument — not necessarily the best in the league, simply the best out of all Tigers — to be the American League MVP.

Placido Polanco? Great average, pretty good defense and a solid 2-hitter. It's also worth noting his shoulder injury coincided with the Tigers' lead shrinking.

Carlos Guillen? He's the only Detroit regular hitting at least .300. His on-base is nearly .400, his OPS is over .900 and he may wind up scoring 100 runs this season.

Curtis Granderson? He's the tablesetter. The leadoff hitter. He's got speed and defense. However, he strikes out more than Richie Sexson (Spit take.) Yep, he leads the AL in whiffs.

Ivan Rodriguez? The power numbers are gone (as is the pudge), as noted by his team rank in home runs (8th). At this stage in his career he's nothing but hustle and grit. He'll swing away or bunt, and can even steal a base on occasion (8 for 11 on attempts). Most of all, he calls a great game behind the plate with a young pitcher on the mound.

Magglio Ordonez? He's arguably the best overall hitter on the team, leading his teammates in hits and RBI. Plus you can't say no to that 'fro.

Craig Monroe? He's come into his own this year as the role of "clutch hitter." He's had a few big late-inning, game-winning shots against teams like the White Sox and Yankees. Also his 26 homers leads the team. His defense is adequate, he's by no means a great baserunner, but without his heroics this team would have lost a couple big games and would be in second place.

Brandon Inge? Wow. It's hard to go down to the 9-hitter and ask if he's the MVP. He has one fewer home run than Monroe (25) and makes a lot of errors at third base, but he has also made some absolutely amazing stops on balls that may have gone for doubles.

Through those seven everyday players, barely one person stands out. So let's look at the pitching to see if we can find an MVP:

Kenny Rogers? Well, those anger management classes worked. He currently has a 16-6 record, which would be his fewest amount of losses in a full season since 1999. The strikeout numbers are down, but so are the hits, walks, and ERA.

Jeremy Bonderman? He is without a doubt the oldest 23-year-old on the face of the planet. In his fourth full season, he's broke personal bests in innings, strikeouts, ERA, and win-loss record (13-8).

Nate Robertson? Sort of the forgotten starter on the staff. Despite his ERA being below 4.00, his run support is pathetic and his record shows it (13-12). He leads his team in losses yet has more quality starts than anyone else (19).

Justin Verlander? Okay, who the hell thought this man would win 10 games this year? Well, he has 16, going on 17. His ERA is the best among fellow starters (3.63) and ought to win Rookie of the Year.

And now we look to the bullpen:

Joel Zumaya? Anyone who throws a 102 mph fastball and — oh yeah — strikes out well over 10 per 9 innings is quite the setup man.

Todd Jones? He was a little shaky earlier this year, but he's saved 36 of 40. He doesn't strike out much, but he's walked only 9 batters all year. Nine. In over 57 innings. That's control.

Jason Grilli? But of course

The point of this whole exercise is to show that while everyone has tried to find an MVP candidate for every good team — Derek Jeter (Yankees), David Ortiz (Red Sox), Jermaine Dye (White Sox), Justin Morneau (Twins), and Frank Thomas (A's) — few names have been thrown into the ring from the Tigers. Strike that, NO players have been mentioned. It's because the lineup lacks that one great batter you can pitch around. Plus, each of the four regular starters are carbon copies of one another.

But with the season Detroit is having, someone needs some MVP buzz. And all it takes is one person to begin the hype, so let's give it a shot here:

Kenny Rogers for MVP.

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About Suss

  • zingzing

    best thing that happened for the tiger’s this season?

    liriano’s injury.

  • zingzing

    and, oh yeah, pitchers don’t win mvp’s. if they did, santana would win over rodgers.

    hmm. can you tell i’m a twins fan?

  • Please excuse me, but I’m just curious. If you want to throw a Tiger into the mix just for the heck of it, it’s alright.

    However, if you want a Tiger who could have a real shot at MVP, then give me a name who could replace anyone in list that you mentioned – Derek Jeter (Yankees), David Ortiz (Red Sox), Jermaine Dye (White Sox), Justin Morneau (Twins), and Frank Thomas (A’s).

    If you are thinking for more than 5 secs , then you know the answer 🙂

  • zingzing

    ortiz plays for a team that won’t make the post-season. so he should be counted out.

    frank thomas is the come-back player of the year, not the mvp.

    dye i know little about. the only place i’ve heard his name is during mvp discussions, and the AL central is the division that i pay most attention to.

    jeter plays for the yankees. fuck the yankees.

    morneau is the only one left.

  • Zing-squared, I actually have said that Johan Santana should be the MVP, as I believe pitchers can win it. They have more of an effect than just the games they pitch, because they can rest the bullpen for subsequent games.

    And I’m not saying a Detroit Tiger should win the MVP, I just think one of them ought to be considered along with the aforementioned Jeter-Ortiz-Morneau-Thomas-Dye.

  • Adam Hoff

    I wanted to be with you, Suss, but I just can’t. The Tigers are like the ’03 Marlins. Scrappy old manager, young pitching (with a little Rogers Roaster mixed in), and Pudge inspiring a very balanced offense. The Marlins actually won the World Series and the best they did was Juan Pierre, who finished 10th, behind two pitchers and a member of the Rockies (Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Pudge, Derrek Lee, Miguel Cabrera – in half a season – and Dontrelle Willis all got at least one vote as well). A team having a great season doesn’t automatically mean there is a league MVP candidate to be found on the roster.

  • You gotta give it to Pudge. He’s batting close to .300, he’s got double-digit homeruns, and almost 30 doubles.

    But his respectable offensive numbers are not the important part. This guy is a veteran catcher on a team with a lot of young arms. Young arms that are throwing better than anyone would have believed before this season began. He’s been a rock for these young guys, and that’s the key to Detroit’s success: solid pitching.

    Also, I really like his nickname…

  • David Ortiz is over-rated. That’s not to say he isn’t good. He is good. But people make this guy out to be like the second coming of Christ or something…

  • MCH

    Al Kaline.

  • “I wanted to be with you, Suss, but I just can’t.”

    (Mutters to self, “Don’t make the Brokeback joke. Don’t make the Brokeback joke.”)

  • MCH

    “David Ortiz is over-rated.”
    – RJ Elliott

    In the 100-plus years of Big League baseball, there have been only 12 men to hit more home runs in a season than the 54 taters posted by “Big Papi” this year. That’s only 12 guys, out of the 25,000 or so who’ve played over the history of the game.

    Here are a few of the game’s greatest power hitters (perhaps you’ve heard of a few of these Hall of Famers, RJ) who never accomplished a 54-homer season: Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Ralph Kiner, Johnny Mize, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Joe Dimaggio, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench, Eddie Matthews, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Stan Musial.

    A few others who never reached 54, all of whom could knock the cover off a ball, include; Frank Howard, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Larry Walker, Ted Kluszewski, Cecil Fielder, George Foster, Andruw Jones, Jim Thome, Albert Belle, Brady Anderson, Greg Vaughn and George Bell.

    I think you’re over-rated as a sports analyst, RJ.