Once again, it's hard to react with any convincing shock to Matt Holliday's loss in the NL MVP vote -- I've been talking about this for weeks, since before the season even ended, in fact. The way the voting systems for all of the awards are designed, teams that don't play on the East Coast, teams that don't play in two-team cities, and teams that saved their best play for the last two weeks of the season (which some, though not me, would say is the part that matters most) are overtly at a disadvantage. I had an idea for how this might be corrected in the shower yesterday, but after musing about it over turkey, I'm not so sure whether my notion would work or not. I think that it might be a good idea to throw out the mail-in ballots that have decided the awards for years and put an Internet system in place that requires a code to log in (they could send the codes to all of the writers, managers, and coaches in lieu of the ballots they get now) but only allows a short window for voting, say, between the last regular-season game of the year and the first postseason game. This might correct the effect that really hurt Colorado players' chances in 2007 -- as I've been repeating ad infinitum, most of the voters' ballots were filled in and mailed off long before the Rockies' magical run began. But it wouldn't fix a lot of other problems, such as the one that most managers and coaches really can't be bothered to watch a lot of other teams' games (which is totally understandable) and most mainline newspaper baseball writers are colossal idiots (for this one, I have no explanation).
It would have been funny to see this system in action this year -- what to make of the Rockies' one-game playoff against San Diego, where Holliday brutally misplayed a ball hit right at him in left field to potentially cost his team the game at one point, then saved the day with his graceful slide into home for the winning run? In any event, I don't think that Holliday really deserved the award this year. I'm not a huge intangibles guy, but Jimmy Rollins was the emotional leader of his Philadelphia team in a way that Holliday simply wasn't for the Rockies -- Holliday was a great producer, but Troy Tulowitzki clearly was the heart and soul of the clubhouse. I'm a little nervous about the huge number of outs that Rollins produced -- and his counting stats owe a lot to his teammates and his ballpark, not that Holliday's don't. When you take into account that Rollins played plus defense at a difficult position and didn't slump all year, I think he has an argument. The argument. But Tulowitzki's not winning the Rookie of the Year and the Gold Glove is a complete freaking joke; that kid is going to be a Denver institution for a decade, and anyone who watched him play outside of highlights shows ought to know it.
Hey, maybe it's because I'm in Chicago this week and closer to the chaos than usual, but does anybody have any idea what the hell the White Sox think they're doing? They re-sign Juan Uribe... then days later, trade for Orlando Cabrera. They plan their whole offseason around Torii Hunter even though it had to be obvious, particularly after the A-Rod U-turn, that they weren't going to have enough cash to sign the offseason's biggest free agent to change teams. They sign Scott Linebrink, whom the Padres discarded during a pennant race last year for basically nothing (and who didn't help stem the Brewers' late-season bullpen wildfire in the very least little bit) to a four-year deal, which is two years longer than you should sign any non-closer reliever on general principle. After all this activity, they're still a distant fourth in their division on talent level and you can totally see the light in Kenny Williams' eyes that is going to lead to the ruinous trade that finally moves the south siders into sub-Royal territory. Some front-office guys are going to lose their jobs in Chicago this season, I guess is what I am saying. But that's just like every year.
Pretend I didn't just bash the White Sox for missing out on Hunter a paragraph ago, because now I'm going to let the Angels have it for signing him. Bill Stoneman is out in Anaheim but the franchise's obsession with batting average didn't leave with him. Hunter (career OBP: .324) is not the bat they've been looking for all these years to slot in behind Vladimir Guerrero. I've never quite understood why Hunter's knack for snagging fly balls past the Metrodome's short fences has translated to a reputation as a superior defensive and offensive player; he's wildly overrated in both categories, it's stupid to give a 32-year-old speed guy $90 million, and didn't the Angels sign Gary Matthews, Jr. to a lucrative long-term deal last offseason? None of this makes any sense. It's a tremendous relief sometimes that the Rockies have no money, because evidently not a single one of the teams that does has even the faintest inkling of what players are actually worth and what investments will lead to on-field success.