- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2008

POINT-COUNTERPOINT

Each week Nationals beat writers Mark Zuckerman and Ben Goessling debate a baseball issue. This week’s debate: Who’s your American League MVP?

MARK ZUCKERMAN: As is the case in the NL, there’s no clear-cut choice here. Chicago’s Carlos Quentin looked like a good bet, but he’s finishing out the year on the disabled list. Texas’ Josh Hamilton had an incredible first half, though he has regressed some since the All-Star break and plays for a losing team. Alex Rodriguez is doing his usual thing, but is he really having an MVP season? So perhaps the choice is Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, an unlikely candidate who is earning support around the league. What do you think?

BEN GOESSLING: Boy, this is a tough one. You could make a case for Quentin; even though he’s on the DL, he has a big part of why the White Sox are in first place. Pedroia, Hamilton and Milton Bradley are all worthy candidates, as is Justin Morneau. There’s also a compelling argument for Kevin Youkilis. In the end, I think it goes to one of those Red Sox players. Good thing the AL Cy Young won’t be this difficult.

MZ: What’s amazing is that the league’s two best teams (the Rays and Angels) don’t have any logical candidates. Evan Longoria? Vladimir Guerrero? Sorry, but they don’t have strong cases. So that leaves either a good player from a bad team like Hamilton or someone from the most visible team: the Red Sox. I guess I’ll predict Pedroia because he’s such an atypical MVP candidate.

BG: I couldn’t find one player from either the Rays or Angels that deserved a mention. It’s such a wide-open year that I could see a surprise candidate winning it on a split vote. I’d have to agree with you that Pedroia is the favorite because he’s part of the reason the Red Sox were able to trade Manny Ramirez and survive an injury to David Ortiz without slipping in the standings. But Youkilis or even J.D. Drew could steal votes from him. Pedroia would make the most sense, but in a year like this, that doesn’t mean much.

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