Rollins gets his due

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Of all the awards handed out by the Baseball Writers Association of America, none were expected to be as debated as much as the National League's Most Valuable Player.

As it turned out, NL Rookie of the Year turned out to be a closer vote - actually the slimmest margin ever - but the argument that will rage on will be about NL MVP.

Was Jimmy Rollins the right choice? Should Matt Holliday have won? It was easy to make an argument for both.

Rollins had one of the best offensive seasons ever by a shortstop in the National League, while playing a more demanding position at a Gold Glove level in the field. Rollins batted .296 while setting new career highs in home runs (30) and runs batted in (94). He also swiped 41 stolen bases, ripped 38 doubles, and his triple on the final day of the season gave him 20, making him the fourth player in major league history to finish a season with 20 doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases.

Holliday, though, led the league in both batting and RBI and put together just the sixth season in baseball history that included at least a .335 average, 35 homers, 130 RBI, 200 hits and 50 doubles.

Both were tremendous down the stretch too, as their teams were fighting to get into the postseason. It really was a close call.

The deciding factor could have came down to Holliday playing at Coors Field. Of his 36 home runs, only 11 of them came on the road. He also had just 55 RBI in visiting ballparks, compared to the 82 he racked up in Denver.

Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins set a new Major League record with 716 at-bats on the season.
While also playing in a hitter-friendly environment in Philadelphia, Rollins' numbers on the road were pretty much even compared to those at Citizens Bank Park. He also played in every game this season and set a new Major League record with 716 at-bats on the season.

I probably would have voted for Holliday. You look at the voting, and the Phillies had three players in the top eight. It is kind of hard to say Rollins is the MVP of the league when two of his teammates finished that high in the voting. There is no way he was more important to the success of the Phillies season than Holliday was to Colorado.

Either way, though, you can't really complain about Rollins. I don't think he meant as much to the Phils as Chase Utley, but I do know that when Utley was lost for over a month with a broken hand, it was Rollins who carried the Phillies. So I guess that has to count for something.

I also know this: I would not have given Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol a 10th-place vote. Who knew his mother had a vote?

Over in the AL it was no contest, unless you lived in the state of Michigan, apparently. Alex Rodriguez nabbed 26 of the 28 first-place votes, with the only two exceptions being votes for Magglio Ordonez from writers from the Detroit News and the Oakland Press.

These two guys should have their votes taken away from them.

It is hard to believe the Rockies came away with zero postseason awards. Ryan Braun edged out Troy Tulowitzki for Rookie of the Year, Clint Hurdle was second to Bob Melvin in the Manager of the Year voting, and Holliday came up just short.

I guess the Rockies and their fans will have to get by on that old NL championship they won.

By the way, for those keeping score I predicted five of the eight major awards correctly.


The New York Mets seemingly found themselves a starting catcher on Tuesday when they acquired Johnny Estrada from the Milwaukee Brewers for reliever Guillermo Mota.

They thought they had their backstop last week, but talks with Yorvit Torrealba apparently broke down. And despite his constant pleas to return to the team, the Mets wanted nothing to do with Paul Lo Duca.

But is Estrada any better? He hit just .254 in the second half of last season and was bad all year behind the plate, throwing out just six of 79 runners attempting to steal (7.6-percent).

Plus, he is not the best clubhouse guy either, and with the state of the Mets these days, this is the last type of guy they need.

The Brewers are probably going to sign Jason Kendall, who is coming off a horrible season, to replace him. They think Kendall will be an upgrade, so what does that tell you?

Don't be surprised if the Mets continue to shop for a catcher. They still have a few weeks before they would have to offer Estrada arbitration. Milwaukee did the Mets a big favor taking Mota's contract off their hands. Non-tendering Estrada would cost the Mets nothing.


Word out of Baltimore is that the Orioles are going to dangle ace left-hander Erik Bedard. After 10 straight losing seasons the Orioles are once again in a rebuilding mode, and it appears dealing him would be the quickest way to re-load.

Given the scarcity of starting pitchers on the free agent market, you would have to think Baltimore could get a boatload in return for a 23-year-old pitcher that has won 28 games over the last two seasons and struck out 221 hitters in 182 innings last year before a strained oblique cut his season short in late-August.

Chances are, the Orioles probably aren't going to turn it around anytime soon, so getting as much as you can for Bedard now makes some sense, I guess. But, at 23, Bedard is also the type of guy you can build your rotation around for years.

Maybe it's just me, but he seems like the type of player you hold onto.

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