Awards Week: Most Valuable Player

The Baseball Writer’s Association of America announced the 2012 Most Valuable Players on Thursday night.

The National League winner is Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants.

Posey, 25, led the World Series Champions with 24 homers and 103 RBI. He also led the league with a .336 batting average. He beat out Ryan Braun, Pittsburgh’s own Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina, and Chase Headley. Posey was the favorite to win, although arguments could be made for the other finalists.

A statement from Cutch: “It was honor just to be nominated for National League MVP this season, along with some of MLB’s best players. I want to congratulate Buster Posey on an amazing season. I believe being an MVP finalist shows true improvement both from myself and the Pirates organization.”

The American League winner is Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.

In a very debatable race, Cabrera narrowly edged out Mike Trout of the Angels. A Tiger takes home the MVP for the second consecutive year, as Justin Verlander won in 2011. Miggy won the Triple Crown and led Detroit to the World Series. It appears that winning as a team is still important to voters, as the Tigers were more successful than the Angels in the long run. Trout had an unreal season, but won’t be leaving empty-handed — he won the Rookie of the Year award earlier in the week.

Photos: The Bay Area Bias/Creative Commons, Keith Allison/Creative Commons

Pirates Potential Trade Targets’s Ken Rosenthal recently posted some thoughts in a video, including potential trade targets for the Pirates. The video can be seen here. Here’s what Rosenthal had to say about the Bucs:

“The Pirates- yes, the Pirates- have inquired on a number of corner infield bats, from Kevin Youkilis, to Chase Headley, to Bryan LaHair. Some of those names are more realistic than others, or realistic targets, but the problem for the Pirates is that the trade market has yet to materialize. At this point, the buyers far outnumber the sellers, but the Pirates should have enough pitching depth at both the major and minor league levels to pull off at least one deal.”

Here’s a quick look at those players:

Kevin Youkilis – Youk has been in the league for nine seasons and is a career .287 hitter. Labeled as “The Greek God of Walks” in Moneyball, Youkilis has a career OBP of .388. He’s battled through a few injuries lately and his numbers have been down this season. Youkilis is a solid veteran but probably isn’t the best option for the Pirates considering he has an option for 2013 and they probably wouldn’t be able to retain him.

Chase Headley
– Headley seems like the most intriguing option because his contract extends past this season, which the Pirates like. They have said that they don’t want a “rental” and Headley doesn’t belong in that category. He’s only a .269 career hitter but plays at Petco Park, which is one of the friendliest pitcher’s parks in the league. He’s also a switch-hitter, so you don’t need to worry about pitcher/hitter matchups.

Bryan LaHair – LaHair played in 45 games for the Mariners in 2008 and 20 game for the Cubs last season. He’s appeared in 52 games this season, and has a .310 avg with 12 HR and 25 RBI. He’s already 29 years old and only has 117 games under his belt. Pitchers will probably adjust to LaHair once he’s more established; he only has 363 at-bats to date.

It’s tough to say how these players would turn out. As TiGO wrote, the acquisition of a hitter could really help this team out. You also mix up the team chemistry, which is really, really good right now. Still, these players could be producing more than Casey McGehee. Here are their 2012 numbers compared to McGehee:

Casey McGehee 0.201 0.296 0.297
Kevin Youkilis 0.231 0.309 0.372
Bryan LaHair 0.310 0.391 0.589
Chase Headley 0.273 0.383 0.444

McGehee has hit for no power (just one home run) so his slugging percentage is way below the other three. Youkilis has been hitting for more power since his return from the DL, so his OBP is a bit lower.  LaHair leads in all three categories, but as we said, he could be figured out by pitchers as he sees more and more at-bats.

As Rosenthal said, the trade market hasn’t materialized yet, so we probably won’t see a deal too soon. However, he was optimistic that a deal could get done, so we’ll wait and see. It’s tough to mess with the chemistry of a team when you’re in a hot streak, but you also have to do what’s best for the team. If you can acquire a legit hitter with years left on his contract without giving up too much, that’s perfect. One single bat may not be the cure for the Pirates offense, which is why a rental is a poor option. If you can get a player that will remain in Pittsburgh for a few years, especially with some top prospects on the way, that’s the direction you want to move in.  If there is an offer is on the table that seriously improves the team, both now and for the future, we hope Neal Huntington takes it. We’ll see how they handle everything as the trade deadline draws near.

Go Bucs