Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Giants catcher Buster Posey were announced as the winners of the Most Valuable Player Awards in the AL and NL, respectively, the Baseball Writers Association Of America announced tonight. Full results of the voting both the AL and NL can be found on the BBWAA's website.
Posey and Cabrera become the first batting champs to both win MVP awards in the same season since Ernie Lombardi and Jimmie Foxx in 1938, and also are the first pair of MVPs whose teams squared off in the World Series since Kirk Gibson's Dodgers and Jose Canseco's Athletics met in the 1988 Fall Classic.
Cabrera became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown, leading the AL with 44 homers, 139 RBIs and a .330 batting average (Cabrera's slash line also included a .393 OBP and a league-leading .606 slugging percentage). This is Cabrera's first MVP award, having been a top-five finisher in the voting five previous times in his career, including a second-place finish behind Josh Hamilton in 2010. Cabrera becomes the first Venezuelan-born player to win an MVP and the second Tiger to win an MVP in as many years, following teammate Justin Verlander's MVP/Cy Young double in 2011.
The AL MVP race was seen as a tight battle between Cabrera and Mike Trout, but Cabrera ended up with 22 of 28 first-place votes, while Trout collected the other six first-place votes and ended up a distant second. Trout narrowly missed joining Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) as the only players to win Rookie Of The Year and MVP awards in the same season. Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Hamilton and Adam Jones round out the top six players on the AL ballot.
After missing much of the 2011 season due to a broken leg suffered in a home plate collision, Posey roared back in the best possible way, posting a .336/.408/.549 line, 24 homers and 103 RBIs. Posey's .336 average led the Majors and earned him his first batting title, making him the first NL catcher to win a batting title since Ernie Lombardi in 1942.
In three years as a regular, the 25-year-old Posey has now won an Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP and two World Series rings. Posey will receive a big raise this winter in his first trip through the arbitration process, as MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Posey will receive $5.9MM in 2013. Since Posey has four arb years as a Super Two player, the Giants could save themselves some money by locking Posey up to a multiyear contract. Back in August, I thought Posey could get a seven-year, $84MM extension, but in the wake of his great postseason performance and his MVP award, a $100MM+ extension wouldn't be out of the question.
Posey received 27 of 32 first-place votes, easily outpacing Ryan Braun (three first place votes), Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina (two first place votes) and Chase Headley on the ballot. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was the finished in eighth place and garnered the most votes of any pitcher, also earning a second-place spot from one voter that made Kimbrel the only player beyond the top four to receive a top-three vote.