Debate: Should The MVP Come From a Playoff-Bound Team?

D.A.Senior Writer IAugust 11, 2009

"I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP"—Albert Pujols in 2006, after losing out on the MVP to Ryan Howard

The Machine promptly took those words back after beating out Ryan Howard in 2008, despite not taking the Cardinals to the playoffs. "You have to consider everything. You have to put all the numbers together," Pujols said.

So the question I pose to you, Bleacher Creatures, is should a player be in the playoffs in order to win the Most Valuable Player award?

In this decade, it's happened five times: Barry Bonds in 2001 and 2004, Alex Rodriguez in 2003, Ryan Howard in 2006, and Albert Pujols in 2008.

My opinion is that the best player should win. Not the best player from a playoff team. It unfairly eliminates 12 teams of players in the American League and 14 teams of players in the National League.

1. One player can't control a team's destiny.

Baseball is not basketball. There are no Michael Jordans that can carry an entire team on his back. Take for example Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins, he was arguably snubbed last year because his Twins did not make the playoffs.

However, he did as much as he could. He was an offensive stud (.302 avg/28 HR/91 RBI) and his team even went the distance—163 games—but just fell short. I fail to see why players who are the best should be snubbed because the pitching staff and defense on their teams let them down.

2. The player could still be the "most valuable."

Adam Dunn is having a brilliant year. Keep in mind that Pujols is the obvious, and deserved, runaway candidate for the MVP this year. But Dunn won't get a lick of consideration because he plays for the Nationals.

Now you're thinking, the Nationals...really? Nobody on that team is valuable. False, the Nationals have in fact one of the best offenses in the National League. The reason? Adam Dunn. He's projected to bat .281 with 44 home runs and 122 RBI. That's absolutely valuable. Dunn's not the best fielder, but he's provided depth (playing left, right, and first).

Once again, Dunn cannot control that his pitching staff is one of the worst in baseball. However, he should be in MVP talk because he has made the Nationals one of the best offenses.

3. Playoffs? Who cares?

Albert Pujols and Justin Morneau had their teams on the fringes of the playoffs race last year. Alex Rodriguez was on a last place ball-club in 2003 when he won the award. Why do the playoffs matter in determining the Most Valuable Player? If they do, why not wait until the World Series champion is crowned and pick the best player from that team?

Making the playoffs seems like an arbitrary bright line to be considered the most valuable player in the league. You could enter the playoffs and be swept out (Jimmy Rollins in 2007)—that doesn't seem to be any more valuable than a player whose team didn't make the postseason.

I hope this turns into a good debate. Please comment with your thoughts on this issue.


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