Monday, November 23, 2009
Joe Mauer Wins American League MVP
Mauer received 27 out of 28 first-place votes to runaway with the award.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera received the other first-place vote but the first baseman finished fourth overall.
Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees finished second and third, respectively.
Mauer finished with 327 total points, well ahead of Teixeira, 225, and Jeter, 193. Despite garner the other first-place vote, Cabrera, finished a distance fourth with 171 points.
Mauer becomes just the second catcher in the past 33 years to win the MVP.
Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers won the award in 1999 and prior to that the last AL catcher to win the award was Yankees legend, Thurman Munson in 1976.
Mauer, 26, becomes the fifth Twin to win AL MVP honors, joining Zoilo Versalles (1965), Harmon Killebrew (1969), Rod Carew (1977) and Justin Morneau (2006).
In a historical aspect, Mauer’s season may have been the most impressive of them all.
Mauer accomplished the “modern triple crown” as he led the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage with his amazing .365/.444/.587 line.
It was the first time anyone had accomplished the feat in the AL since Hall of Famer George Brett put up a .390/.454/.664 line to pace the league in 1980.
Mauer’s MVP season also saw him reach career highs in other categories including home runs (28), runs batted in (96), hits (191), and total bases (307).
Making Mauer’s accomplishment all the more impressive is that he spent the entire first month of the season on the disabled list recovering from a lower-back injury.
He returned on the first of May and made an immediate impact by hitting a home run in his first at-bat.
After his extraordinary return to the lineup, Mauer played in 138 of the team's remaining 141 games.
Despite missing a month, and starting 28 games at designated hitter, Mauer managed to catch 939 innings, ranking fifth in the American League.
The MVP is just one of many awards that will adorn Mauer’s mantle this winter as he also won his third Silver Slugger, his third batting title, his second Gold Glove, and was voted the winner of the 2009 Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Player, an award voted on by his peers.
Additionally, Mauer made his third All-Star team and lead the Minnesota Twins back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The Twins were 11-11 while Mauer was out in April, but went 76-65 after he rejoined the club. In September, Mauer played a big role as the Twins overcome a seven-game deficit to win the AL Central.
Mauer is entering the final year of the four-year, $33 million deal he signed prior to the 2007 season. He is owed $12.5 million next season.
The Twins are currently trying to work out a contract extension with Mauer and his agent Ron Shapiro to the keep the MVP in Minnesota for the long haul.
It is routinely believed that Mauer will be traded this offseason or during the 2010 campaign if the club is unable to reach an extension.