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Goldschmidt Should

(But Probably Won’t) Win NL MVP

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Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt leads the National League in runs batted in, home runs and OPS. Image courtesy MLB.
Even Though The Arizona Diamondbacks’ First Baseman Is Leading Most Of The Traditional Statistical Categories, A Lack Of Team Success And An Inadequate Pitching Staff Has Doomed His Chance Of Winning MVP Award


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By Bob Goodwood
Special for Modern Times Magazine

Sept. 20, 2013 — The Arizona Diamondbacks might be out of the playoff hunt, but the season is still far from over. For fans in other cities whose passions have dimmed by their team’s lack of success, it might be, but for Valley baseball fans, the future remains bright.

A bright future surely might feel a bit hollow a day after the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched and celebrated in the hallowed pool at Chase Field, but this year will likely be the last that the D-backs/Dodgers rivalry is so one-sided.

Sure, Kevin Towers and the entire organization expected more. Everyone officially associated with the team expected a playoff berth and possibly a National League West title. But realistically, the team was never going to get far this year with the pitching staff that began the season.

And the results have nearly doomed any chance that Paul Goldschmidt will get serious consideration for the Most Valuable Player Award.

Yup, it is the pitching staff’s fault.

Ian Kennedy, Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill disappointed early. Eventually, the bullpen fell apart and Daniel Hudson’s flameout during his rehab doomed any hope of the team replicating the modicum of success they had in the first half — seven more wins than losses on June 1.

While Patrick Corbin overperformed and Wade Miley eschewed his sophomore jinx performances early in the season to have a solid second half, the pitching staff that the D-backs had when Cactus League ended was never going to lead the team to the World Series.

If you could actually get the truth out of Kevin Towers on this, he would probably admit that the future is what is important and that the arms are there, just not entirely ready yet. The future aces of this franchise are expected to be Patrick Corbin and Archie Bradley with Wade Miley as the No. 1.5. Tyler Skaggs will fit in there somewhere.

Anyone who doubts such a “secret” plan need only look at the moves the front office DIDN’T make at the trade deadline. Instead of moving anyone that might have allowed the D-backs to stay with Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds, they made only one move — trading Ian Kennedy for Joe Thatcher and Matt Stites.

That moved eased a soon-to-be crowded rotation — when Bradley, Skaggs and maybe Hudson arrive next season — and added a very tough veteran bullpen arm and possibly a ‘closer of the future,’ in Stites.

The decision to allow the young pitching prospects to develop instead of trying to get to the playoffs at all costs is probably the right move. It will likely make the D-backs’ rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers that has exploded in 2013 reach powder-keg levels in the next half-decade or so.

But the teams’ overall lack of winning in 2013 might just cost Paul Goldschmidt an MVP award.

He leads the National League in runs-batted-in, home runs and OPS. He is No. 12 in batting average, No. 7 in WAR (wins above replacement for those who don’t seek out Sabermetrics) and No. 5 in on-base-percentage.

However few people are talking about him as a serious MVP candidate.

Why? Because the D-backs aren’t winning.

Andrew McCutchen is having a great year and the Pittsburgh Pirates are winning, but those two facts should not be enough to earn the award. A great debate involving the MVP is if it is the best player in the league or the player his team needs the most.

With all due respect to McCutcheon, that player is Paul Goldschmidt. The normal stats tell the tale but so do the incidental stats: no one has carried his team more than Goldschmidt.

He walked off teams SEVEN TIMES!

But so far, the vast majority of writers and bloggers out there have virtually handed the award elsewhere. McCutchen is the favorite but there is also talk about Matt Carpenter in St. Louis and Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles.

Note that all of those teams will be playing in the postseason.

If the D-backs had made a run at the playoffs Goldschmidt would likely be a lock.

There’s always next year.

Bob Goodwood can be reached at bob.goodwood@yahoo.com.
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