The MVP debate: Ortiz vs. Jeter
David Ortiz: "They're talking about Jeter a lot, right? He's done a great job, he's having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy," Ortiz told the Boston Globe. "It doesn't matter how much you've done for your ballclub. The bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that's the guy you know helped your team win games. Don't get me wrong: (Jeter) is a great player, having a great season. But he's got a lot of guys in that lineup. Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."
Derek Jeter: "I don't have to do it in his lineup," he said. "I'm not thinking about winning the MVP. We're talking about winning the division. No one's focus here is on individual awards. We still got something to play for this season."
Any shot that Red Sox slugger David Ortiz had at winning the AL MVP just went right out the window with his comments about Yankoffs' Captain Derek Jeter. Ortiz, whose comments could normally be written off as a man struggling with a second language, can't hide behind the fact that he didn't think Jeter has the numbers to be the 2006 MVP. So what are the numbers as of yesterday:
- Ortiz is hitting .288 with 48 homers and 127 RBI.
- Jeter is hitting .346 with 13 homers and 91 RBI as a No. 2 hitter. He is also having one of his best seasons at shortstop.
So Jeter (who completely bitch-slapped Ortiz with his comments) wins he batting average battle, while Ortiz dominates in home runs and RBIs. In the mind of most MVP voters, however, the defining stat will be Jeter's play at shortstop and Ortiz's groove on the bench. UB won't even get into whether a DH should be MVP (Of course they should. In the AL those are the rules. If Ortiz spent the year playing average or below average 1st base last season he would have beat A-Fraud out for MVP...That's ridiculous.) but in the minds of voters, who already have a track record of ignoring DH candidates, Jeter will be the clear cut winner. There is no head and shoulders non-DH MVP candidates out there and while Jeter does benefit from that All Star Game line up, he is also the one who stands head and shoulders above them as the team's leader.
Ortiz can only hope that voters take a look at Big Papi's big game production, especially game winning hits when they cast their ballot. As for the comments between the two (of which Ortiz has already back tracked from), Ortiz needs to keep his mouth shut and get hot if he wants to win the MVP, while Jeter is nearly a lock already.