Cards Can’t Live Without Yadi
****By this time you know Yadi Molina lost the MVP to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen. So what? Here is a blog I posted on Arch City Sports today. My reasons for Yadi being the most valuable player in the National League. Read it and weep.
Look, I am not going to overload your brain with stats, delicate details and other factors here in telling you why Yadi Molina deserves to be named MVP for 2013. If you are a baseball fan or a devoted Cards fan, you know those numbers like they are written on the back of your hand. If you are a Pittsburgh fan reading this setting up to defend your pick, Andrew McCutchen, be prepared to be disappointed and shown the door. There are so many writers and voters out there who get wooed by a narrative(Pirates comeback season) or the showy stats(home runs and RBI) and forget what the real meaning behind the Most Valuable Player Award. Call me a homer if you want but there isn’t a player more valuable to his team in baseball than Yadi Molina is to the Cardinals. This isn’t calculus. This is pure logic.
Take Molina away from the Cardinals and what kind of team do you have? When Molina went down in August, the Cards nose dived out of first place and nearly lost their grip on the season. When he came back, they regained control and got back in the race. There’s a quick reason. Could any other player help guide this young pitching staff that saw 36 wins produced by rookie pitchers along towards a National League pennant? How many teams have a pitching staff that includes maybe one pitcher who is willing to shake off their catcher?
Molina is integral to the Cardinals success because he isn’t just the best defensive catcher in the game, he is also one of the smartest hitters in the game. Molina doesn’t just control the running game. He shuts it down. He doesn’t just produce a problem for other teams. He forces other team to draw up a different game plan when facing him. When Carlos Martinez loses his shit on the mound and needs a kick in the ass, Yadi gave it to him countless times in September and October. When Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller needed a voice of reason in the middle of chaos, Yadi was there. He is a leader on the field every time he steps on it and is as vital to the Cardinal Way as anyone in red and white.
The most amazing things about Molina can’t be found on a stat sheet. They can only be found and understood by people who know, love, live and breathe baseball. The same player who hit .216 in his third year now hits .300 easy every season and usually finishes around .317. Players hurt their teams by striking out a lot. Yadi struck out 55 times in 505 at bats in 2013. Along with 12 HR and 80 RBI, Yadi banged 44 doubles around the field and compiled a .359 on base percentage. Sure, those aren’t monstrous Miguel Cabrera like stats. Voters are blinded by long balls and bats chasing the triple crown. As I said, the things that Yadi does day in and day out can’t be found on a stat sheet. He is a special player.
He is the oil to this team’s engine. Take it away and it will dry out before it makes the six month trip. He is the backbone of the pitching staff and the sniper in the lineup waiting to spray the ball to any part of the field. His stare makes runners stay close to the bag and make hitters nervous at the plate. He is a quietly intense competitor and a man who probably played half the games this season on one leg. Take him out of the lineup and face his wrath. Just ask Mike Matheny. Yadi took his job and now demands playing time under his watch even when he isn’t at his best.
The most valuable player isn’t the person who hits the ball the farthest on a baseball field. This isn’t the silver slugger award ceremony. The MVP goes to the player a team can’t do without. If Andrew McCutchen went down during the stretch run, the Pirates could have slipped Marlon Byrd into center field and moved Garrett Jones into right field. If the Cards lose Molina, they have to turn to Tony Cruz or Rob Johnson in 2013 with the season on the line. Do you see where I am getting at? Without Molina, the Cards wouldn’t have made it to October in the first place. He is their heart and soul. Everybody knows it. Isn’t it time for the man to be crowned with the right award after 10 years of transforming himself into the Most Valuable Player? My answer is yes. Sorry Pittsburgh. You can’t have all the year end awards.
That’s all I got.
Dan L. Buffa
@buffa82 on Twitter