The Baseball Writers Association of America does not release their awards until the week after the World Series. Luckily you have no such wait for the awards that really count, the Newsvine Baseball Writers Awards!
Manager of the Year
Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers over Joe Torre, New York Yankees and Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins
Does anything more need be said about a manager that took a perennially losing team such as the Tigers to their first postseason play since 1987 in his first year on the job?
Willie Randolph, New York Mets over Joe Girardi, Florida Marlins and Jerry Narron, Cincinnati Reds
Keeping controversy to the minimum in NYC is almost reason enough for this award. Willie was able to navigate that turbulent waters of New York City while claiming the National League East title far before the end of the season.
Comeback Player of the Year
Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox over Frank Thomas, Oakland Athletics and Curt Schilling, Boston Red Sox
Forty home runs and over a hundred RBI would earn almost anyone a nice comeback award. Thome slips past Frank Thomas because he was far more consistent throughout the season.
Carlos Beltran, New York Mets over Nomar Garciapara, Los Angeles Dodgers and Edgar Renteria, Atlanta Braves
From free agent bust to MVP-candidate, Beltran was a centerpiece for the division winning Mets, with timely hits, great power, base running prowess and solid defense in center. Nomar was on his way to this award before he succumbed to late season injury, the very thing he was to have comeback from!
Rookie of the Year
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers over Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins and Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox
Verlander edges Liriano and Papelbon for consistency. Verlander logged almost 200 innings, while Liriano was shutdown for much of the late season. Papelbon was unhittable to start the season, but blew a few too many save down the stretch, even though his overall numbers remained impressive but misleading.
Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins over Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals; Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins
This was easily the year of the rookie for the National League. You could chose from a 100+ run man in Hanley Ramirez, or a 100+ RBI guy in Zimmerman, or a 25+ home run guy in Dan Uggla. This is not to even mention the plethora of starting pitchers who succeeded in their rookie season this year. Hanley Ramirez edges them all, as he showed solid defense at a key position with some good pop and great speed and contact.
Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins* over Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays; Chien Ming Wang, New York Yankees
This choice was easy. Santana was far and above better than the other competition for this award.
Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks over Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros; Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
A far harder choice. There were a few good pitchers in the senior circuit this year, but no standouts. Brandon Webb wins based on best all around performance.
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees over David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox; Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox; Frank Thomas, Oakland A’s; Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins; Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins; Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Devil Rays; Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians; Johnny Damon, New York Yankees and Vernon Wells, Toronto Blue Jays
This is almost as much of a career award for Jeter as it is for just this season, though he is still very deserving. The play of Derek Jeter is almost always about intangibles, but this year he has the tangibles to back them up. He sports an outstanding batting average to go along with a solid on base percentage, some decent pop and great base running. His defense at a key position has even improved greatly in the past season or two. But this award really comes down to value. Jeter’s value to his team is amazing. Does anyone believe the Yankees would have been able to survive their early and mid-season troubles if it had been Jeter to go down to injury rather than Matsui or Sheffield?
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies over Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals; Carlos Beltran, New York Mets; Jose Reyes, New York Mets; Alfonso Soriano, Washington Nationals; Lance Berkman, Houston Astros; Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies; Andrew Jones, Atlanta Braves; Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies and Jason Bay, Pittsburgh Pirates
Ryan Howard edges out Albert Pujols just barely. Perhaps its because we have come to expect this level of play from Pujols, but after starting off on a tear in the beginning of the season, he never reached his previous dominance after his midseason injury. Don’t misunderstand me, he was still great, just not as dominant. Ryan Howard was dominant. He was the driving force for the Phillies playing meaningful games almost until the very end after having “given up” on the season when the jettisoned Bobby Abreu to the Yankees.
The Special Awards
The Jay Buhner/Ken Phelps Award for worst trade of the season
To the Boston Red Sox for unloading two Rookie of the Year candidates in Hanely Ramirez and Annibel Sanchez for the 5.01 ERA of Josh Becket and nine million dollar salary of Mike Lowell. Of course they had to go and make the deal even worst by handing Becket ten million a year for the next few seasons. The Florida Marlins on the other hand are restocked for another World Series run in a year or two.
The Win/Win trade of the season
To the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees for the Bobby Abreu trade. Abreu refortified the Yankees and helped them sweep the Red Sox to put them away for good, while his exist sparked the Phillies to get right back in the Wild Card chase, falling out after only the second to last game of the season.
The Barry Bonds Award for being loved by your hometown fans while being a complete scumbag
To Paul Lo Duca, even the NYC papers could no ruin his popularity after a messy divorce, including reports of him having an affair with a teenager and a few gambling problems.
The Manny Ramirez Award for just being Manny
To Manny Ramirez, of course, who clearly just stopped trying during the last month or so of the season.
Angel Berroa Award for sophomore slump
Tie to Felix Hernandez and Huston Street. Street was eminently more hittable and blew quite a few more saves this year than his dominant rookie season, while King Felix just completely fell apart after being hyped as the next Doc Gooden.
I’ll take suggestions for any other potential awards.
Awards are given for regular season play only.