From John Harper (Daily News):
If this were the Oscars, where a long career of unrewarded greatness has been known to help put a deserving nominee over the top, Mariano Rivera would be a shoo-in this season to win his first Cy Young Award.In baseball, however, career achievement almost never factors into the voting on such awards. Furthermore, relievers have won only 11 out of 97 times the Cy Young has been awarded, so despite still another season of brilliance, Rivera is probably closer to a longshot.
The man they call Mo is deserving, to be sure. And even though a hot September from starters such as Zack Grienke, Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez or Josh Beckett could make any of them the front-runner for the award, none is having the kind of lights-out season that would all but eliminate talk of a reliever winning.
That leaves the door open for Rivera, assuming the groin tightness the Yankees disclosed Wednesday night only keeps him out a few days as Rivera says he expects. Because to this point he is not only leading the American League with 38 saves, but also pitching to a 1.78 ERA and has coverted 34 straight saves opportunities, the longest streak of his career, while blowing only one save all season.
I think Harper taps into a larger debate here—should relievers be considered Cy Young candidates?
I guess it ultimately depends on how much you value relievers. I’ve often thought that relief pitchers are generally overvalued but I’m sure many of you would disagree, especially when discussing Mariano Rivera. However, when you consider the way in which a starting pitcher can influence 200+ innings per season, I think it makes sense to view their work as “more valuable,” although that sounds rather negative.
In terms of 2009 and Mariano Rivera’s chances for the Cy Young, I believe Harper is pitching his idea from a subjective perspective—a fan’s perspective—rather than an objective one. It’s not that Rivera isn’t deserving, I just think that, contrary to what Harper says above, starters like Zack Greinke (the favorite), Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, and Felix Hernandez really do deserve the Cy Young Award more than he does. I mean, how does Harper say that Zack Greinke isn’t having a “lights-out” season? That’s just absurd.
What do you think? Does Mo deserve the Cy Young? I don’t think so—not when compared to the starters up for the award—but perhaps you can make a better argument than Harper did.
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