What does MVP stand for? The Most Valuable Player. Not the Most Outstanding Player.
When I think of the term valuable I think of someone who did more with less. Someone who was the primary reason why a team made the postseason that year. That describes Manny Machado, who was named an NL MVP finalist alongside Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado yesterday.
Goldschmidt and Arenado obviously had great seasons but they had each other. How can you be the most valuable player in the league when you had another MVP finalist hitting behind you or in front of you in the lineup?
Machado’s MVP finalist caliber teammate, Fernando Tatis Jr., didn’t play a single game in 2022. Yet the Padres still made the postseason in a full season for the first time since 2006 with Machado leading the National League in FanGraphs WAR (4.7) and hitting 32 home runs.
The 30-year-old suffered an ugly ankle injury on Father’s Day sprinting down the line (yes, Manny hustles despite what haters say) and missed just nine games when other players would’ve probably missed 20-30 games. He could’ve easily told the Padres to put him on the IL for a few weeks—-he did sprain his ankle after all—but he knew how valuable he was to the team so he instead chose to rehab for 14 hours a day.
Machado then drove to Los Angeles instead of flying from Arizona to keep his ankle from swelling up so that he’d be able to be the designated hitter on June 30 against the Dodgers. That’s what the Most Valuable Player of the National League does.
It’s fair to ask if the Padres would’ve even made the postseason if Machado didn’t play as well as he did or if he missed more time than he actually did in June. If Arenado or Goldschmidt didn’t play as well, they would’ve still made it to the Wild Card Series. St. Louis won their division easily by seven games.
With all this said, don’t be surprised though if Machado doesn’t win. Most writers probably voted for the Most Outstanding Player instead of the Most Valuable Player. Maybe if he loses, the award’s name should get changed.