This may sound odd coming from a writer who supported Kirk Gibson’s 76-RBI MVP award for the champion Dodgers in 1988, but unless a player is clearly the one difference-maker on a playoff team, I believe the MVP should go to the best guy, period. In fact, instructions on the baseball writers’ MVP ballot read, “The MVP need not come from a division winner or other player qualifiers.”
...I can already hear the Philadelphia Phillies fans crying that Roy Halladay has done nearly as well as Kershaw under much greater pressure, contributing to a much better record, but history turns their argument lame. Some of those same folks were surely cheering in 1972 when Steve Carlton won a Cy Young Award while pitching for a Phillies team that won 59 games.
No, I would never compare Kershaw’s probable-20-win season to the year that Carlton won an amazing 27 games for that last-place bunch. But you don’t even need to look back a full year to see how winning means nothing for this award, as Seattle’s Felix Hernandez won last season with a 13-12 record for a Mariners team that finished with the worst record in the American League.
...Indeed, amid this season’s mud bath, a blessing. Here’s hoping the voters can see beyond the grime.