Originally Posted by duncan_idaho
It's "Most Valuable Player," though. To me, that's the player who adds the most value, total. If they are so much better than everyone else with the bat, that's just fine (examples: Bonds in his roids years, Ruth, Mantle in 56, etc). But if you're talking about two guys who are very close offensively, then defense becomes a big factor.
There are lots of guys who have won it with defense being a significant positive factor for them.
Ivan Rodriguez in 99. A-Rod in 2003. Caminiti in 96, Larkin in 95. Terry Pendleton and Cal Ripken in 91.
Offense is obviously an important factor, too. But defense can be considered as well.
I think defensive scarcity is more critical than actual defensive performance. We still don't have a good way of knowing exactly what value in terms of wins defense adds.
We do know that a guy that can play an elite CF while also hitting 30 bombs is pretty valuable because it allows you to get production from a 'defensive' position and therefore end up with a much deeper lineup or perhaps give up some offense at another critical defensive position like SS in favor of a superlative defender.
And that's how I think Cabrera can help close the gap on the fact that he's clearly not as good a defender as Trout. I know you say his defense is awful, but the stats don't really support it, for whatever they're worth. His RF is just a shade below average but RF is largely a product of chances and the Tigers are an extreme
strikeout staff, so that's going to diminish his number of overall chances. And I know FLD% is out-dated, but for a 3b is still speaks to how soft their hands are and how accurate their throwing is - the two most critical elements of sound 3b defense. Cabrera is above average at his position. He doesn't do well in UZR, I'll grant you, but again I really do think that 3b 'range' is a little overrated. 3b is a read/react position. You talk range when discussing the elite guys that can allow a SS to shade up the middle, but for your average 3b, the differences in range are largely negligible.
From what I've seen, Cabrera has been a capable 3b and the stats seem to largely support that. His ability to make that transition gets him some significant bonus point is that it has
allowed the Tigers to add another dangerous hitter to their lineup. That's massive, IMO.