Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton edges out Reds’ Joey Votto for NL MVP in fourth closest election
Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton edges out Reds’ Joey Votto for NL MVP in fourth closest election:-If the Miami Marlins follow through on their apparent intentions to trade Giancarlo Stanton, they’ll have the rare distinction of dealing away a newly minted MVP.
Stanton earned the award in the National League on Thursday by only two points after a career season in which he belted 59 home runs, the highest total in the majors since 2001.
In the fourth-closest MVP race ever, Stanton received 10 of the 30 first-place votes and had 302 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He edged out Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who also received 10 first-place votes but finished with 300 points.
Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished third with 239 points.
“I thought it was going to be close,” Stanton said. “I thought (Nolan) Arenado was going to be up there too, so the fact he wasn’t made me even more unsure if I was going to get it. It’s really a surprise. I always think positive, but it was a surprise to hear.’’
There has been one tie in the 117 years of MVP voting – 1979, when first basemen Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals and Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates each received 216 points.
The only other races closer than Stanton-Votto came in 1944, when Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion topped Chicago Cubs outfielder Bill Nicholson by a point, and 1947, when Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio edged his fellow future Hall of Famer, Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams, by one point.
Finally free of the injuries that sidetracked him the last two years, Stanton put together the kind of monstrous season long envisioned of him. He batted .281 and set career highs in home runs and RBI, leading the majors with 132. Stanton also finished second in the league in on-base plus slugging percentage with a 1.007 mark and was a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field.
Mechanical adjustments that included closing his stance contributed to a staggering home run outburst for Stanton, whose blasts typically left little doubt they would leave the yard.
During a 48-game stretch from July 5-Aug. 29, Stanton banged out 30 homers to help the Marlins go 29-19 and briefly climb above .500. However, they went on a tailspin shortly after that and finished 77-85, well out of the playoff race.
A new ownership group headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter has since taken over and made it clear it plans to shed payroll, and Stanton’s contract – which calls for him to earn $295 million over the next 10 years – may be the starting point.
If so, the 28-year-old Stanton would join Alex Rodriguez as MVPs traded in the offseason when they won the award. The Texas Rangers sent Rodriguez and the remainder of his $252 million contract to the New York Yankees in February 2004, months after he claimed baseball’s top individual honor in the American League.
Stanton, who has the right to veto any trade, would not say whether he’ll express his desired destination to Marlins ownership, but acknowledged he’s caught in the middle of an odd situation.
“The thoughts are up and down,” he said. “They’re pretty bipolar, of everything that’s going on and how this is going to turn out and what’s going to happen with my team and my teammates and me, etc. There’s a lot of thoughts going on, but luckily I don’t have to worry about playing at 7 o’clock every night during my stuff.’’
This year’s MVP race rekindled the longstanding debate over whether a player from a contending team is more worthy than an elite performer on an also-ran.
Goldschmidt, a runner-up for the third time in five years, was a major factor in the Diamondbacks improving by 24 wins and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011. The five-time All-Star batted .297 with 36 homers, 120 RBI and a .966 OPS. In addition, Goldschmidt stole 18 bases and collected his third Gold Glove.
He looked like the favorite going into September, but batted just .171 in the final month – likely in part because of an elbow injury – while Stanton was following up his 18-homer August with another eight in September.
None of the top MVP candidates could claim more consistency than Votto, the OPS leader in the NL with a 1.032 mark. Previously dogged by charges that he was too picky at the plate and did not drive in enough runs, Votto led the league in walks for the fifth time but also hit 36 homers to go along with 100 RBI. He had an OPS above .875 in every month.
Like Stanton, Votto played for a losing team, as the Reds finished last in the NL Central at 68-94.
In Stanton’s case, the astonishing power display was enough to overcome the bias toward players on contending teams. Now he awaits to find out whether he’ll soon join one.