I went into the reasons that Justin Verlander should be considered for the MVP last week but the story has now morphed into something other than his actual bonafides for the award; instead, it’s become “should he be eligible?” rather than “is he deserving?”
MLB has to take steps to rectify this situation by clarifying a pitcher’s eligibility for the award for those who vote. As I mentioned in the linked piece, there are writers who insist that the MVP is for everyday players and the Cy Young Award for pitchers.
I don’t agree with this assessment but it’s not really the fault of the voters if they’re applying what they see as right and wrong to their decisions when they vote. Because George King of the New York Post acted selfishly and unprofessionally in excluding Pedro Martinez from his 1999 ballot (and then offered foolish justifications for it that only made matters worse), it doesn’t make every voter so duplicitous.
In reality there’s little that can be done to sway the opinions of one whose belief systems are already in place, but MLB’s lack of criteria and rules of eligibility are rife with ambiguity to the point that writers are making up their own.
Verlander will still be left off many ballots because of self-imposed constraints, but said voters won’t be able to come up with the “I don’t think a pitcher should be eligible” in an effort to explain themselves and have it accepted as a foregone conclusion.
If they’re going to vote against the spirit of the awards, at least our collective intelligence won’t be insulted in the process.