After Albert Pujols won a Gold Glove quite handily, some might have thought he'd be done collecting awards this offseason.
Not so for Pujols, who, along with teammate Matt Holliday, claimed a Silver Slugger on Thursday.
Pujols claimed the first baseman's award after leading the league with 42 homers and 118 RBI. His .312 batting average was good for sixth in the league. Holliday was one double shy of league-leader Jayson Werth.
For Holliday, the award does mean something. It's his fourth, and if he wants to improve on his borderline Hall of Fame chances, piling up these awards will look good in the eyes of the voters. He missed out on the 2007 MVP award to Jimmy Rollins, so he'll need to stack up as many accolades as he can.
But for Albert, the award may have a much more immediate impact.
The one thing that Pujols's award does is gives us a clearer image of the MVP race. Pujols's main competitors for his third straight MVP are Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who also took home a Silver Slugger of his own, and Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who Pujols beat out for the Silver Slugger.
While these awards don't guarantee Pujols the Most Valuable Player crown, or even make him the favorite, it stills shows that he is a force to be reckoned with. Prior to the Silver Slugger announcement, most people had anointed Votto as the favorite for the MVP.
Now, after sweeping the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at first base, the coaches and managers who vote on the awards have shown that they believe Albert is unequivocally the best first baseman in the league.
Don't get me wrong. I know that the votes are locked in, and I know that Albert's still not the favorite. But for those who banked on Votto (myself included), this has to paint a different picture. Albert's been anointed as the best all-around first baseman in the game once again, and I don't know how you can be the best player in the league if there's a decidedly superior player, offensively and defensively, at the same position.
The winners were Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo, Braves catcher Brian McCann, Pujols, Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and Holliday, Gonzalez, and the Brewers' Ryan Braun in the outfield.