So now that it’s going on a week after the Pittsburgh Pirates were eliminated from the playoffs, it’s time to put it all into perspective. Man, what a season. As Pittsburgh Sporting News announced yesterday, Clint Hurdle will receive the Chuck Tanner MLB Manager of the Year award in Nov. What an honor.
However, don’t expect that to be the only hardware for Hurdle or the Pirates this year.
The Pirates have a shot to win four major awards in the next few weeks.
2013 NL Manager of the Year Candidates:
– Clint Hurdle
– Don Mattingly
– Freddie Gonzalez
– Mike Matheny
To me, this is the biggest no-brainer of the bunch. The Dodgers had high expectations, as did the Cardinals and Braves. When Hurdle said his team could win 95 games, people mocked him. They finished the regular season with 94 wins. Hurdle wins it easily.
2013 NL Executive of the Year:
– Neal Huntington
Honestly, there aren’t any other candidates worth mentioning. Huntington addressed the teams biggest need in the offseason by signing Russell Martin, took a chance on Francisco Liriano, which paid off, made a key trade in dealing Joel Hanrahan at a high value, received Jeanmar Gomez and Vin Mazzaro for less-than-average players and traded for Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd. Name me another viable candidate. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
2013 NL Comeback Player of the Year:
– Marlon Byrd
– Francisco Liriano
– Carl Crawford
– Troy Tulowitzki
Thank god for the trade for Byrd, or this would be interesting. Tulowitzki played great, when healthy. Same can be said for Crawford. Then you have Liriano and Byrd. Both are interesting stories, and both deserve the award. You have Liriano, who hurt himself while playing with his kids and had to have his deal re-worked. Liriano was lights out the first half of the season to the point where he was being discussed as a Cy Young candidate. He regressed slightly in the second half of the season, but was still the unquestioned ace of the Pirates staff. Then you have Byrd. Byrd had a .285/.330/.518 slash line in 117 games with the Mets this year. In 30 games with the Pirates, Byrd had a .318/.357/.486 line. His 2013 season at the age of 35 was arguably his best of his career. As good as he’s been, Liriano went 6-12 last year with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP, compared to a 16-8 record, with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. It’s close, but either way, a Pirate gets the nod.
2013 NL MVP:
– Andrew McCutchen
– Yadier Molina
– Joey Votto
– Paul Goldschmidt
– Allen Craig
– Matt Carpenter
– Clayton Kershaw
As you can see, there are many deserving players to consider for the MVP. If Goldschmidt’s team made the playoffs, he’d be the choice for me. Fair or unfair, it’s the truth. As for Molina, Carpenter and Craig, they all had terrific years, but they cancel each other out. It’s like looking at Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane last year for the MVP. They are both so good, that neither one could win the MVP. Then there is Kershaw. Can you have a person who pitches once every five days win the award? It’s happened before, and I’m okay with it, but not this year. Then you have Votto, who led his team to a wild card loss against the Pirates. Next to Miguel Cabrera, Votto is the best hitter in baseball for my money. Then you look at his supporting cast and you realize they’re not too shabby. In the end, that’s the argument that allows McCutchen to get the nod for MVP. Without him, where would the Pirates have been? Yes, they finally had a lineup that resembled a “real” baseball lineup, but without Cutch, they’d be watching from home again.