I'm not sure what is more ridiculous, the MVP award winners or the insane contracts being handed out recently. Since the voters get it wrong more often than not, I'm going with the cash giveaways. Let's start with the awards:
Ryan Howard beats Albert Pujols for NL MVP – Howard did play in 16 more games, but how obsessed are people with home runs? Pujols beat him in average, OBP and slugging percentage, while striking out 131 fewer times. He plays a far superior defense, is more of an asset on the basepaths, hit in the weaker lineup and led MLB in game-winning RBIs by a sizeable margin. With RISP, Pujols had a 1.337 to .942 OPS advantage. Everyone says Howard carried the Phillies' lineup, but that's exactly what Pujols did into the playoffs.
Justin Morneau wins AL MVP – I actually don't have as big of a problem with this one as most, mainly because I didn't love any alternatives. Sure, Morneau was only the third most valuable player on his own team, but it's not like Derek Jeter had an overwhelming case; after all, the Yankees would have easily made the playoffs without him.
Juan Pierre signs a 5-year, $44 million contract – He has a .328 OBP and five home runs over the last two seasons. If you take the 37 times he was caught stealing into account, his OBP becomes even more intolerable. This isn't fantasy baseball – his steals aren't all that valuable in real life. No one in baseball produced more outs last year than Juan Pierre.
Gary Matthews Jr. signs a 5-year, $50 million contract – Someone did tell the Angels that he's 32 years old and coming off by far his career-year, right? By the way, he did it while playing in Ameriquest Field. He does play good defense, but A's fans are rejoicing.
Carlos Lee signs a 6-year, $100 million contract – I guess sabermatricians underrate the ability to knock in runs at times, and this is something Lee has a knack for. Still, he's never even posted a .900 OPS, and his body type doesn't exactly point to him aging gracefully. I get that there is a lot more money to throw around in MLB these days, but these signings just aren't very smart - especially long-term.