Miguel Cabrera has a Most Valuable Player award to go with his Triple Crown. And Buster Posey has an MVP prize to put alongside his second...
NEW YORK — Miguel Cabrera has a Most Valuable Player award to go with his Triple Crown. And Buster Posey has an MVP prize to put alongside his second World Series ring.
The pair of batting champions won baseball’s top individual honors Thursday by large margins.
Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, won the AL MVP by receiving 22 of 28 first-place votes and 362 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel.
The Detroit third baseman easily beat Los Angeles Angels rookie center fielder Mike Trout, who had six firsts and 281 points.
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Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 runs batted in to become the first Triple Crown winner since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera also led the league with a .606 slugging percentage for the AL champion Tigers.
Some of the more sabermetric-focused fans supported Trout, who hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBI. He led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals and topped all players in WAR — Wins Above Replacement. Trout won AL Rookie of the Year earlier in the week.
“I was a little concerned. I thought the new thing about computer stuff, I thought Trout’s going to win because they put his numbers over me,” Cabrera said. “I was like, relax. … If he wins, it’s going to be fair because he had a great season.”
Cabrera’s victory was a win for traditional statistics.
“At the end of the game, it’s going to be the same baseball played back in the day,” Cabrera said.
Posey, at a charity event at his mother’s school in Leesburg, Va., followed the AL debate and Googled to find out the winner.
“I think it intrigued everybody,” he said. “As a fan of the game, it was a fun race to watch.”
With three fewer hits or two less homers, Cabrera would have fallen short of the Triple Crown. The last four Triple Crown winners have been voted MVP, including Mickey Mantle in 1956 and Frank Robinson in 1966.
“I think winning the Triple Crown had a lot to do with me winning this honor,” he said.
Cabrera became the second straight Detroit player voted MVP, after pitcher Justin Verlander in 2011, and was the first Venezuelan to earn the honor. Countryman Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco took home World Series MVP honors last month.
Before the season, Cabrera switched from first base to third to make way for Prince Fielder, who signed with Detroit as a free agent.
“I focused too much in spring training about defense, defense, defense,” Cabrera said. “I forgot a little bit about hitting, about getting in the cage like I normally do.”
In spring training, Posey’s focus was just to get back on the field. His 2011 season was cut short by a collision with the Marlins’ Scott Cousins on May 25 that resulted in a fractured bone in Posey’s lower left leg and three torn ankle ligaments.
Posey not only returned, he became the first catcher in 70 years to win the NL batting title and helped San Francisco win its second World Series championship in three seasons.
“I definitely have a deeper appreciation for being able to play baseball,” he said. “I’ve seen that it can be taken away quick.”
The first catcher in four decades to win the NL award, Posey got 27 of 32 firsts and 422 points to outdistance 2011 winner Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who was second with 285 points.
Posey, a boyish-looking 25, was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year as the Giants won their first World Series since 1954. This year he set career highs with a .336 average, 24 homers and 103 RBI as San Francisco won again.
Posey took the NL batting title after teammate Melky Cabrera requested a rules change that disqualified him. Cabrera, who hit .346, missed the final 45 games of the regular-season while serving a suspension for a positive testosterone test and would have won the batting crown if the rule hadn’t been changed.
Selig reviewing Marlins-Jays deal
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Commissioner Bud Selig said he is examining the pending blockbuster trade that sends at least three of Miami’s best players to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package of prospects just seven months after the Marlins moved into their new stadium, which was financed primarily with tax money.
Selig said he is aware of fan anger in South Florida but is going to do what’s in the best interests of the sport.
“People have different views of that as to what you should do and how you should do it, but I think I’ve been able to come through all these situations and the sport’s been stronger and better as a result,” he said, pointing to his recent experience with the Rangers and the Dodgers going through bankruptcy proceedings.
“So when I say I have this matter under review and I’ve talked to a lot of our people and I’ve spent a lot of time here (at the winter meetings) in between all the other meetings — this is a tough place to do it — that’s exactly what I mean. It is under review. I am aware of the anger, I am. I’m also aware that in Toronto they’re very happy.”
• The Chicago Cubs agreed to terms of a contract with former All-Star catcher Dioner Navarro. Also, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza can resume his normal offseason routine after a scan showed the right-hander’s pitching elbow is healing as expected.
• Manny Ramirez homered on his first pitch of the Dominican winter league season.