(Image: AP/Morry Gash)
JSOnline’s Poll of the Day yesterday was “Who is the Brewers’ MVP this season?” The options were, in this order: Carlos Gomez, Jim Henderson, Kyle Lohse, Jonathan Lucroy, Jean Segura, and “someone else.” As of the start of last night’s game against the Cubs, Gomez was far and away the leader with 45% of the vote (over 2,100 total responses at the time). Although one has to wonder if Segura or Lucroy might have done better if they were listed higher on the ballot, it’s not hard to understand why fans think Gomez is the clear MVP. Still, when you try to really make the case for Gomez over the other two, it’s an argument of intangibles and nuance.
Segura has had a breakout season, making an All-Star Game appearance, currently leading the league in stolen bases and triples, and he’s been batting over/around .300 most of the year. He plays great defense, and hopefully has a long, bright future in Milwaukee. Frankly, it’s hard to argue he isn’t the 2013 MVP. Although this shouldn’t matter, the fact that it’s just one great season and there’s no way to predict where Segura goes from here probably hurts him a bit.
It might be even harder to argue Lucroy shouldn’t be MVP. This is his probably his best season – he will have appeared in more games than any other previous year, he’s the team leader in RBIs, and he’s earned plenty of goodwill by signing a club-friendly contract. If that’s not enough, Lucroy has played passably at first base despite having no experience, and he’s big on giving back to the community. He also seems like a real nice guy.
How would you argue against Lucroy being MVP? Is it that he seems a little too nice? Is it that cringe-worthy Robert Haack Diamonds radio ad where Lucroy loses his train of thought because the jewelry deals are so good? Maybe it is that spot, it’s so awkward I hit “mute” when it comes on. Lucroy is a great player, but that radio ad regrettably captures his lack of swagger.
Gomez got swagger, and maybe that’s why he feels like the real MVP. When he whiffs on a hittable pitch and swings out of his helmet, somehow Gomez doesn’t look like a chump – he looks like he’s got great hustle. Who else in MLB can make a swing-and-miss look sexy?
Gomez has also established his reputation as a defender who is willing to risk injury to make a play. It may not be smart, but it’s admirable as hell. The fact that Gomez is following up a breakout 2012 with an even better 2013 doesn’t hurt either. And when he’s doing it right after signing a hefty contract extension and skipping the World Baseball Classic, surely it contributes to fans’ warm and fuzzy feelings about him.
Add to all that the look on Joey Votto’s face after Gomez robbed him of that home run – who else could possibly be MVP?
Even though it’s tough to argue against Segura and Lucroy on the merits, maybe Gomez makes the most sense as MVP for a simple (if subjective) reason – he’s just a big old pimp.