The best and the least of baseball

Oct. 2, 2010 at 5:02 a.m.

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By ken Davidoff



We have the baseball season of no excuses.

Is it harder to make a title run with a lower payroll than your competitors? Absolutely.

Is it impossible? Anything but. Just ask the Rays, Rangers, Reds and Padres.

And now, the envelopes please . . .

American League Most Valuable Player: Evan Longoria, Rays. He provided terrific play on both offense and defense. Honorable mention to Adrian Beltre of the Red Sox, the Yankees' Robinson Cano and Rangers' Josh Hamilton.

AL Least Valuable Player: Gordon Beckham, White Sox. My preseason pick for AL MVP, he had a rough year, especially in the first half. Teammate Carlos Quentin wasn't much better. Baltimore's Cesar Izturis makes the list, too.

National League MVP: Albert Pujols, Cardinals. Still the king. It's not his fault the Cardinals are going home. Mad props also to the Reds' Joey Votto, Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman and Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez.

NL LVP: Carlos Lee, Astros. If he doesn't hit, he might as well quit (his defense doesn't cut it). Let's not forget - actually, let's forget - the Nationals' Njyer Morgan and Braves' Melky Cabrera.

AL Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez, Mariners. Yes, we can have a Cy Young winner with 13 wins, and the Earth won't fall off its axis. The Yankees' CC Sabathia, Rangers' Cliff Lee and Rays' David Price put up strong seasons.

AL Belly-Itcher Award: Josh Beckett, Red Sox. A back injury limited him to 127 2/3 innings, but he did plenty of damage. The Rays' James Shields, Angels' Scott Kazmir and Yankees' A.J. Burnett also make the list.

NL Cy Young Award: Roy Halladay, Philllies. As expected, he was even more dangerous in the weaker league.

NL Belly-Itcher Award: Dave Bush, Brewers. 198 hits and 65 walks in 174 1/3 innings. Dishonorable mention to the Mets' Oliver Perez and San Diego's Kevin Correia.

AL Rookie of the Year: Austin Jackson, Tigers. The former Yankees prospect has made Detroit look good for the Curtis Granderson trade. The Rangers' Neftali Feliz and Rays' Wade Davis both get postseason showcases.

NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, Braves. The hype sort of died down, but the results didn't. The Giants' Buster Posey and Diamondbacks' Daniel Hudson make the list, too.

AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, Red Sox. Boston hung in there despite myriad injuries and a leaky bullpen. The Rangers' Ron Washington and Orioles' Buck Showalter stood out, too.

AL Mis-Manager of the Year: Don Wakamatsu, Mariners. Now unemployed, he struggled to click with the retired Ken Griffey Jr. and free-agent arrival Chone Figgins.

NL Manager of the Year: Bud Black, Padres. Forget their late-season slowdown. This team had no right being in the race in the first place. Kudos, too, to the Reds' Dusty Baker and Phillies' Charlie Manuel.

NL Mis-Manager of the Year: Jerry Manuel, Mets. You can't complain too much about your roster depth when you push for Jenrry Mejia to pitch relief, or hit Alex Cora second. The Dodgers' Joe Torre lost the clubhouse.

AL Front Office of the Year: Rangers. Just like at the All-Star break, Jon Daniels and his Texas lieutenants get the nod. The Twins and Rays also performed well.

AL "The Office" of the Year: Mariners. Seattle fell apart because of a struggling offense, and GM Jack Zduriencik drew more heat by not knowing about the negative past of Josh Lueke, a pitching prospect acquired for Lee. The Athletics had a bad offseason, importing Ben Sheets.

NL Front Office of the Year: Giants. GM Brian Sabean has made many head-scratching moves over the years, but these (Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Buster Posey) worked remarkably well. The Braves and Reds also had good years.

NL "The Office" of the Year: Brewers. Doug Melvin overpaid starting pitchers Randy Wolf and Doug Davis and relied too heavily on new centerfielder Carlos Gomez. Neither the Cubs nor the Dodgers helped themselves much.


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