Saturday, November 17, 2012

MVP voters miss the boat on Jeter’s value to Yankees

Derek Jeter came in seventh place in the voting for American League Most Valuable Player, three spots behind teammate Robinson Cano. The voters really missed the boat on that one. There’s no way Cano was more valuable to the New York Yankees this year than Jeter.

But Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News got it right. He placed Jeter third on his ballot, behind Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera first and Rookie of the Year Mike Trout second. Cabrera helped the eventual American League champion Detroit Tigers during some very rough patches this year and Trout saved the floundering Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (that name really annoys me, should just call them Anaheim Angels) and made them competitive again. As for the Yankees, they wouldn’t have survived a tough battle with the surprisingly scrappy Baltimore Orioles for division supremacy if it wasn’t for Derek Jeter. He carried the Yankees on his back this year, especially during times when the rest of the lineup, Cano included, disappeared.

Perhaps the voters rewarded Cano over Jeter because of his late-season surge or his sexier power numbers. But I think Feinsand got it right because he covers the team every day and could see how Jeter dragged his bruised and battered body out to shortstop every day. Cano, as great a player as he is, simply doesn’t have those leadership skills that make teammates want to follow him into battle. No one has ever questioned Jeter’s work ethic or his desire (except for George Steinbrenner, of course, who picked on everyone). Cano still regularly faces those questions despite years of putting up great numbers. Not really the definition of a most valuable player.

If you catch a Yankee player in an honest moment, I bet every single one of them would say that Jeter was more valuable than anyone on the team this year, including Cano. It’s too bad the MVP voters missed the boat on this one so badly. Not that Jeter needs to add to his Hall of Fame resume. It just would have been nice if most of the voters had gotten this one right.

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