How The Top AL MVP Finishers Were Acquired

None of the top ten finishers in this year’s AL MVP balloting joined their teams via the free agent market. Five were obtained in trades, four others were drafted and one was signed as an international free agent. Here's a look at how teams around the American League originally acquired the top ten finishers in the 2011 AL MVP voting (some have since signed extensions):

  • Justin Verlander – Draft – The Tigers selected Verlander with the second overall pick in 2004 and signed him to a five-year extension before the 2010 season.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury – Draft – The Red Sox selected Ellsbury with the 23rd overall pick in the 2005 draft and held onto him after a lost 2010 season despite trade interest from other clubs.
  • Jose Bautista – Trade -The Blue Jays acquired Bautista from the Pirates for Robinzon Diaz in 2008. Before the Blue Jays acquired him, Bautista suited up for the Pirates, Royals, Devil Rays and Orioles.
  • Curtis Granderson – Trade – The Yankees acquired Granderson from the Tigers in the three-team trade that sent Ian Kennedy to Arizona and Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer to Detroit. The Tigers originally selected Granderson in the third round of the 2002 draft.
  • Miguel Cabrera – Trade - The Tigers acquired Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins for a group of players led by Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.
  • Robinson Cano – International Signing - The Yankees signed Cano out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent in 2001. 
  • Adrian Gonzalez – Trade – The Red Sox surrendered a trio of top prospects to obtain Gonzalez from the Padres a year ago.
  • Michael Young – Trade – The Rangers, then under GM Doug Melvin, acquired Young from the Blue Jays for Esteban Loaiza in the summer of 2000.
  • Dustin Pedroia – Draft – The Red Sox selected Pedroia, the 2008 MVP, in the second round of the 2004 draft.
  • Evan Longoria – Draft - Tampa Bay selected Longoria with the third overall pick of the 2006 draft and he's been playing at an elite level since his 2008 rookie season.

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61 Responses to How The Top AL MVP Finishers Were Acquired Leave a Reply

  1. Jamie Sayer 4 years ago

    Bautista’s emergence still makes me feel all warm n’ fuzzy inside. He deserves everything he’s getting right now, year after year of being an utility player. Then the Jays give him a chance and the rest is history.

    • Wainwrights_Curveball 4 years ago

      It’s because he finally listened to what people were telling him – “stay back on the ball.”

      Glad the Jays were able to finally get him to do it.

  2. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    It’s kinda funny how the organization was jerking Young around in the off-season prior to the 2011 season, and goes on to have a solid offensive year. Shame he’s awful defensively.

    • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

      but teh gold gloves

      • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

        Michael Young is a member of the “Gold Glove Hilarity Club,” and Rafael Palmeiro is their leader.

  3. Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

    So basically dont sign anyone. Really puts all those 100+ mil contracts in perspective.

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      One problem with that logic. Gonzalez and Cabrera are making $100M contracts, Verlander probably will sign one, and Ellsbury and Cano could potentially get one.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        Faulty logic for sure.. its not that MVP candidates don’t come out of free agency, its that usually they never make it to free agency, they are near impossible to acquire especially in their prime.

  4. Jamie Sayer 4 years ago

    I just looked back and read this (different website): “The Pirates have acquired 24-year old righty swinging catcher Robinzon Diaz from the Blue Jays for Jose Bautista. This was a great haul for
    the overrated Bautista as Diaz was the #13 prospect in the Blue Jays’ minor league system coming into this season. Diaz has played in 55 games in rookie + A + AAA ball this season and he is 54 for 192 (.281 avg, .712 OPS) with 19 runs scored, 4 homers and 24 RBIs. Diaz also appeared in 1 game for the Blue Jays this season and he was 0 for 4 with a strikeout. What a good move for the Pirates as they had seen enough of Bautista to know that he would probably never amount to much.”

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      I second the HAHAHAHAHA. The trade will probably be remembered as one of the most lopsided in recent history.

    • Bluejaysnation 4 years ago

      LMAO!! Check this article out too!!!
      Robinson Diaz for Jose Bautista a bad move for Jays……
      When the Jays acquired Jose Bautista last week from the Pittsburgh Pirates I was happy that Ricciardi made a move to pickup a serviceable third baseman who could help fill in with Scott Rolen on the DL. Today when I learned that Robinson Diaz was the player going the other way I was left dumbfounded by why Ricciardi would make such a deal. It is clear that Diaz has hit a bit of a roadblock in his development, his .242 average this year in AAA leaves much to be desired, but Diaz surely is more valuable to the organization than Bautista is. The Jays are pretty much finished this year if you ask me. Bautista is clearly not going to make the difference between making the playoffs, and a fourth place finish in the AL East this year. For the Jays to make the playoffs they will have to win around 25 of their remaining 32 games, that would give them 92 wins, and even that would not guarantee them the wildcard. It might be possible to make it in with less than 92 wins but that would require the Red Sox, Yankees, and Twins all taking major nosedives in the last month of the season.
      With the Jays essentially playing the roll of spoilers for the rest of the season it makes no sense to trade a player like Robinson Diaz, who still has some limited upside, for a player like Jose Bautista who is at best a quality utility guy. It does not make much sense to fire Ricciardi this late in the season, but if it means keeping him from making any more bad moves before August 31st then I would cut him lose now. For two seasons in a row now Ricciardi has been saying that if not for some key injuries the Jays would make the playoffs. The reality is that Ricciardi has not drafted well, and the veterans that he has brought in have not produced well. The Jays should shut Scott Rolen down for the rest of the season and hope that he can heal completely over the off-season and have a decent 2009. Marcum should be given one more chance to show that he is over his arm strain, but if his command does not return then they should shut him down as well. Purcey, Parrish, and Richmond could all use some starts in September.

      • dethonthestairs 4 years ago

        In all fairness, Bautista *hasn’t* made the difference between making the playoffs and a 4th place finish.

        • Bluejaysnation 4 years ago

          True enough but not the point here for our gloating.

    • JP Brooks 4 years ago

      Also, Bautista found the juice after he left the Pirates.

  5. Not just the Pirates. A whole bunch of teams gave up on Bautista. There are a lot of lopsided trades in there. Though Miller and Maybin were top prospects, the Marlins got absolutely hosed in the end. 

    • Jamie Sayer 4 years ago

      Yeah, I was looking at that trade and was like, “who did the marlins get?”

    • tycobb 4 years ago

      Even the way D-train fell apart. Detroit still made out very well.

  6. Flharfh 4 years ago

    Interesting that their are no free agents. Just a coincidence, or evidence that 1) teams only rarely let MVP caliber players leave via FA and/or 2) most players’ best years are behind them when they reach FA?

    • Maybe because teams are less likely to lose their best players to FA.

    • Only one player since 2004 has won MVP after signing as a free agent (Alex Rodriguez). The NL winner has been drafted by their team every year since 2004 (that will likely continue for whoever wins tomorrow since Braun, Kemp are the favorites). Other than A-Rod, the AL has had 3 players drafted by their team and one player traded (Hamilton). Take note GMs. Spend on the draft.

      • start_wearing_purple
        start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        It’s 3 players if you include 2004.

      • Jamie Sayer 4 years ago

        THANK god the Jays have done this recently.

      • sports33 4 years ago

        Bud Selig would like to inform you that you can no longer spend on the draft…

      • MB923 4 years ago

        A-Rod won his MVP’s with the Yankees but both were when he was under his original contract from Texas. So his acquisition at the time was still via trade. He opted out after the 2007 season (or I can say during it since he did it during the WS).

    • monkeydung 4 years ago

      Cano was an international free agent. I know he came up through the Yankees system, but he technically wasn’t drafted or traded for.

      • Personally think draft and international signings go hand in hand. It’s all about scouting and paying for young talent. Cano’s signing wasn’t a team going out there and signing an already established player.

  7. EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

    Hey Verlander! You’re awesome!

  8. j6takish 4 years ago

    How did the Padres have the first overall pick over the Tigers? Detroit went 43-119 in 2003

    • shockey12 4 years ago

      The first overall pick used to alternate between AL and NL teams.

    • Patrick the Pragmatist 4 years ago

      The even years worst A.L. team picked first in the following odd year and the odd year’s worst NL team picked first in the following even year.  This happened no matter what, even 119 losses didn’t help.
      But the Tigers came out just fine anyways.

      The Mariners sure did benefit from that system.   They were not the worst team in baseball in either 1986 or 1992 although they were way bad,  worst in the A.L.
      But they got the #1 picks in 87 (Ken Griffey jr) and 1993 (Alex Rodriquez) anyways.

  9. NomarGarciaparra 4 years ago

    “Yo Justin, I’m really happy for you…Im’ma let ya finish. But Pedro had 2 of the best seasons of all time….OF ALL TIME!”

  10. vtadave 4 years ago

    Love seeing the tool Evan Grant giving Michael Young a first-place vote.

    Young was probably the least valuable infielder on his own team. MVP?

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Still waiting for that explanation he promised. It’s a joke.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        I saw the explanation.. he mentions how he helped keep guys fresh by playing multiple positions, and how he helped holland after starts.. its complete fluff, he should be banned from baseball

  11. Chris_RG 4 years ago

    That Cabrera trade looks better and better as time goes on. The Tigers got one of the top players in baseball for Cameron Maybin and a pile of junk. Safe to say the Marlins got hosed big time.

    • Yea after the 03 championship team the Marlins use to come up big in trades…they got Hanley and Sanchez for Beckett…But they screwed the Cabrera & Delgado deals big time

    • You can pretty much say got one of the top players for a pile of junk. Not Maybin and the pile. Maybin did nothing for the Marlins before having a nice, but unspectacular year with the Padres.

  12. grownice 4 years ago

    How much better does Bautista need to be to get the mvp he deserved? Shame on you voters, SHAME!

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      I think they need to have an award solely for offensive production. The Cy Young Award can be won by ANY pitcher on ANY team as long as they are deemed to have performed the best. For the MVP award there are just too many variables to consider and it’s not fair to a guy like Bautista. HOWEVER, when you have a great hitter on a winning team you can really take away from them either. In Bautista’s case his chances of winning the MVP were tied to the performance of his team, which he doesn’t really have any control over. 

      • grownice 4 years ago

         I hate the “his team made the playoffs” argument, it just doesnt fly with me. Bautista had a Phenomanl year, even better that last and yet voters get enamoured with the win loss total of verlander, its sad. Dont get me wrong verlander was great but if he was was like 18-10 do voters still give him this mvp? Somehow i dont think they do, and then Ellsbury would get it over Bautista!? I dont get it.

      • It’s called the Hank Aaron Award. I have no idea why it’s not as high profile as the Cy Young and MVP, but it’s there.

        • MB923 4 years ago

          Probably because it’s an award voted for by the fans and media. I think it’s an award the BBWAA should vote for, then it would be as high profile as the Cy Young Award.

          • Of course it would. There’s no way the media wouldn’t hype up their own decisions.

            Baseball writers live for the spotlight.

  13. ltdibo020 4 years ago

    Doc Gooden…1985..24-4 with a 1.53 ERA and didn’t finish in top 3 for MVP….wow

  14. tdot32 4 years ago

    I find it funny that there are 3 Boston players in the top 10 for MVP voting and they didn’t even make the playoffs.

  15. TheDukeAbides 4 years ago

    I had just about forgot about the Jays giving up Young for Loiaza…thanks MLBtraderumors.

  16. pmc765 4 years ago

    All 30 GM’s should hang a sign in their offices…..with the first sentence of Ben’s post.

  17. Michael Young for Esteban Loaiza.  Worst trade in Jays history forsure.

  18. iheartyourfart 4 years ago

    he didn’t fit in with their organizational strategy.

    “continue to lose.”


  20. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    chances are if he wasn’t traded, he wouldn’t be who he has been..

    Murphy and Cito have a lot to do with the changes that have made him who he is.. If he stays on the pirates, this isn’t a convo

  21. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    but they got Robinzon with a Z!

  22. Bautista didn’t become the homer hitter he is until Toronto. It was Vernon Wells who taught him how to hit the inside fastball and to add a high leg kick

  23. John 4 years ago

    Yea it is.

  24. It was who and what??? Maybe Vernon better take some of his own advice because it doesnt seem to be working for him.

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