Well, here’s a take for no one! Sadly, in the eyes of SNY’s Andy Martino, New York Yankees star Aaron Judge is ineligible for MVP until he joins the ailing Yanks’ rotation or puts in his hours building a bridge to Clay Holmes.
Martino made his MVP case for Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday — or, rather, he pulled the rug out from under Judge, ruling him borderline ineligible unless he absorbs Ohtani’s unique set of skills like some sort of Baseball Kirby.
This is difficult land to tread. Of course, giving the MVP to Ohtani this season wouldn’t exactly be a blight on the award. He has a 147 OPS+ (a slight step down from last season’s 157 mark) and is 11-8 with a 2.67 ERA/2.59 FIP with a league-leading 12.4 K/9. That mastery on the mound and at the plate has given him 7.1 WAR on one of baseball’s most disappointing teams.
Judge? 7.6 WAR and a better-than-outside shot at cracking 60 homers. Even while playing only one position, Judge has exceeded Ohtani’s WAR total while playing excellent defense in both center and right field (Ohtani is a DH now) while powering dingers for a (likely) playoff team. Ohtani? He’s doing the thing he does, and he’s doing it very well, and he’s doing it again for a stuck-in-the-mud club. Contrary to what Martino wishes, there is an argument here.
The worst part? Martino wrote this article just to provoke the exact kind of reaction I just gave to him. So egg on my face, huh? Runny, runny egg.
Yankees star Aaron Judge needs to learn how to pitch to beat Shohei Ohtani in MVP race, apparently
Here’s the majority of Martino’s very short column, which clocks in at 247 wonderful words:
"Anyway, what this season has made me realize is that, since the MVP Award does unfortunately exist, there is actually one correct opinion on it, and it is mine.No one other than Shohei Ohtani can be considered for Most Valuable Player while Ohtani is a good pitcher and hitter. There are two types of players, position and pitcher, and only one person does both.Aaron Judge is a great, great, great player. He’s in the league at the wrong time to be MVP. There is another guy who does two jobs. Sorry, Judge. You have to solve the Yankees bullpen or rotation issues before you can have this award.Oh, one more thing. The Mets should trade for Ohtani to replace Jacob deGrom, if deGrom leaves."
Remember when Mike Trout’s WAR was constantly cited as the reason why he should have the edge over Miguel Cabrera in 2012, despite the narrative of Cabrera’s spectacular Triple Crown bid that transcended advanced metrics? Now, 10 years later, we’re straight up ignoring WAR so we can move the goalposts in the Angels’ favor again? Do I have that right?
If Judge’s Yankees miss the postseason entirely, you can print this column up, rip it to pieces and toss it into the garbage. Then, he and Ohtani will be on near-equal footing as spectacular stars who were unable to chart a course to October.
Until then, though, Judge’s historic season earns a slight edge in these (admittedly biased) eyes. Ohtani shouldn’t be ineligible from winning MVP just because he’s uniquely talented. He also shouldn’t be grandfathered into the award in every healthy season in which he participates, as Martino is saying here.
There’s no shame in either finishing first or second! And if Judge wants to help lengthen the Yankees’ rotation, hell, I’d be on board. But it’s short-sighted to rule him out of the race without considering the many metrics that favor him.