Originally Posted by lollipopcurve
yes, I guess -- don't you think that moving off of one's customary position to a more difficult spot in order to make room for a teammate who will help the team creates value/is valuable?
I think that players should get credit for what they do on the field. Where they play is up to management. They don't get extra credit for being willing to play somewhere where their production isn't as good. If we asked Cabrera to leadoff and he didn't steal bases, would we act like he did? We would give him more RBI?
If logic is about creating opportunity for your team to improve by playing a certain role then we should be giving credit to all bench players who, by not playing, allow their teams to put better players on the field. Cabrera's value is in what he does on the field. He doesn't get extra credit for not being a crybaby about playing somewhere. His job is to play where's told to. And his value in his ability to do so.
I would be very surprised if the Tigers did not approach Cabrera about the move before going ahead and signing Fielder.
It's not a given. There are plenty of examples of superstars refusing to move (Larkin being one).
So now players should get awards for not being malcontents? If Joey Votto moves to CF next year does that automatically make him more valuable? I bet you he'd do it if the Reds asked him to. But even if we take the point, but let's be fair about. If the calculus for MVP should include how a player's playing time & position changed his team's makeup, we can't only look at Cabrera. We have do that same math for all players to make a fair comparison. We're giving Cabrera credit because it opened a spot for Fielder at the expense of some lesser player who would have been at 3B, increasing the production of the Tigers lineup (hurting their defense, but helping their offense more). Well, by Trout playing CF, the Angels gave many fewer plate to Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos. If Mike Trout hadn't been willing to play CF for the Angels, they would have given 600 PA to those two guys which would have been a massive downgrade for the Angels. By taking away plate appearances from those two (like Cabrera's move allowed Fielder to take away plate appearances from Brandon Inge or Don Kelly.
I guess I don't think Cabrera should get special credit simply because the Tigers were able to afford to replace Brandon Inge with Prince Fielder. Sure, I'm cool giving him some "good teammate" credit. But otherwise, you're basically creating value out of thin air that didn't show up in wins and losses or your giving Cabrera credit for somebody else's production. At the end of the day, value is wins. If a guy is doing something that doesn't ultimately make its way to the win column, I'm not sure why we'd call it valuable. We know how many wins the Tigers had and we can fairly accurately account for those wins based on the on-the-field production. So if you're giving Cabrera extra credit beyond his stats, you basically have to be taking them from somebody else. You can make whatever adjustment you want, but you can't act like the Tigers won more games than they actually did. Maybe we should say Prince Fielder wasn't as valuable this year because he has to give some of his to Cabrera? Man, that Prince Fielder really didn't live up to his contract this year, did he?
And once you focus on production, there really is no debate. Trout and Cabrera were comparable offensive performers once you factor in all of their batting and baserunning outcomes. Meanwhile, Trout's defensive value is leaps and bounds above Cabrera's. Leave WAR completely out of it and it's still hard to make a case for Cabrera that's not based almost entirely on AVG and RBI (while ignoring other things).
Cabrera was a very good teammate and he had an amazing year. He was easiliy the best slugger
in the American League. But baserunning matters, fielding matters, and not hitting in to double plays matters. All runs count. From a run production and prevention standpoint, Mike Trout was far and away the most valuable player in the American League -- there's no analytical argue for Cabrera from a production on the field standpoint. In my mind, Cabrera being a nice guy doesn't makeup that difference and more.