Re: AL mvp....
The player who had the best individual performance over the full course of the season is the best player. The best player is the most valuable player regardless of how his team fared.
The best player produced the most value during the season. That is true even if his teammates didn't add enough additional value to get the team to the playoffs.
But in the twisted reality inhabited by MVP voters there is a perverted definition of the word "valuable" that is used as an excuse for dumb votes. They usually end up giving the award to someone other than the best player in the league. Then they justify their poor decision by using false definitions of "valuable". The MVP voters' definition is something like "the best player on a good team; a good player who has good teammates". Of course that is not what the word really means, but that is what many sportswriters think it means.
What value does the MVP Award really have if it does not indicate who the best player was that year? It would be nice if a player could point to his MVP trophy and state as fact that he was the best player in the league, but he can't because that is not what the MVP Award signifies. There have been many years where the undisputed best player did not win the MVP Award. There have been dozens of years where the MVP winner was beyond all doubt not the best player in the league that season. If you want to look back at history and identify who the best player was each year the MVP Award would be more misleading than helpful. That is why in my opinion the MVP Award doesn't mean much.