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Baseball Told the Right WayIn-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!
Gammons is senile.
I really think so. I like Peter Gammons, I like listening to him, and I have always regretted not being old enough to remember when he was a Boston writer only (though I'm glad he covers the whole game now). I don't agree with him all that much, but I let a lot slide because I at least think he approaches things with an open mind and some semblance of rationality.
Now I think he is senile.
Gammons has been on TV several times the last few days starting his own MVP push for none other than Mariano Rivera.
It's not like a relief pitcher winning the MVP is without precedence, but the difference between this year and 1992 is that we have plenty of everyday players who are much more deserving. I don't care what metric you use: stats, objectivity, word of mouth, intangibles, or good looks (Mariano looks like an accountant so it can't be that).
Just for some quick comparison, VORP has Vlad worth about 75 runs over a replacement player. It has Mariano worth 35 runs. Using RCAA, Manny is worth 45 runs over an average player (by the way, Barry Bonds is worth 144, which is mind boggling). Mariano is only worth 21 runs over an average pitcher.
If its hard enough to make the case for a starting pitcher every 5 days, it ought to be even harder to make the case that a relief pitcher is more valuable in 70 innings than an everyday player. But Mariano's appearances are typically in late-game, high-leverage situations, so his appearances are more valuable in terms of win expectancy. That much is true, but even if Mariano's innings were worth 2 low leverage innings, and you double his runs saved, he still isn't as valuable as an everyday player.
In fact, Mariano might not even be the most valuable pitcher on the Yankees. Take a look at how Tom Gordon stacks up.
IP H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 ERAGordon's appearances are only slightly less leveraged than Mariano's. Considering he has identical walk and home run rates, and has allowed fewer hits and struck out more in 10 more innings of work, you could certainly make the case that Gordon has been at least as valuable as Mariano, if not more. The only difference being, of course, that Joe Torre asks Gordon to pitch the 8th, and Mariano to pitch the 9th. Somehow the 49 saves doesn't impress me though. If it weren't for Gordon, he'd have half that many.
What scares me is that Gammons actually votes for the MVP. On top of that, he has a very loud voice in the media, and if he continues harping on Mariano for the MVP, he very well might convince some of the other ignorant voters. Why we have ignorant voters for the year-end awards is beyond me.
If Mariano Rivera wins the MVP award it will be the biggest travesty since, well, since the last time we held a popularity contest to determine an award winner. Manny or Vlad are the MVP's. Maybe Sheffield. But not a relief pitcher who has participated in only 5% of his teams innings.