aNewDomain — Someone call the Baseball Cops. There has been a robbery in the National League Cy Young Award voting. Zack Greinke’s been ripped off big time.
Jake Arrieta, the best pitcher in the game after the All-Star break, has defeated Greinke, the best pitcher over the entire season, to win the award, according to voting data Major League Baseball released on Wednesday.
It’s not so much that the Cubs’ Arrieta topped the Dodgers’ Greinke to win his first Cy Young.
A strong case could be made for a pitcher who posted a league-record 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break.
And of course, Greinke’s 1.66 ERA over the entire season was the best in baseball since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux put up a 1.63 in 1995.
It was the fact that Arrieta pulled down 17 first-place votes to Greinke’s 10, a true sign of — all together now! — East Coast Bias!
Clayton Kershaw, the 2014 Cy Young winner and Greinke’s teammate, finished third.
This race was supposed to be a lot closer with Greinke coming out with his second Cy Young Award. He earned the American League’s version with the Kansas City Royals in 2009, when he won 16 games and posted a 2.49 ERA. All he did this year was win 19 games and lead the league in ERA. He easily could have picked up at least five more had the Dodgers’ offense produced more often when he was on the mound. Greinke allowed one run or less in 21 of his 32 starts.
Arrieta was almost untouchable in the second half. He led the league with 22 wins, posted a 1.77 ERA and threw a no-hitter against Greinke and Kershaw’s Dodgers on a Sunday night game in late August.
It was the second of two no-nos thrown against Los Angeles this season, a rare dubious accomplishment for a team that won its division.
Arrieta’s award continues an amazing awards run for the Cubs in the offseason. Kris Bryant was named NL Rookie of the Year on Monday, and Joe Maddon picked up the league’s Manager of the Year honors on Tuesday.
All the Cubs did this season was win 24 more games than they did in 2014 and make the postseason for the first time since 2008, when they lost in the first round to the (ahem) Dodgers.
But the Baseball Writers Association of America got this one wrong. Dead wrong.
Greinke emerged from a shortened spring training, caused by a persistent elbow issue, to put up one of the best seasons in the game’s history. His season was so epic (dare we say historic? Yes!) that he opted out of the remaining three years of his $71 million contract to try free agency.
Imagine walking into your boss’ office and telling him or her that you’re giving up a guaranteed almost $24 million a year to try to find another job.
Not gonna happen.
Greinke will have trouble finding suitors at age 32. Although the Dodgers are talking about paring their payroll back to somewhere in the vicinity of a “mere” $200 million next season, Greinke will land with a team that might sign his new contract in sweat given the nine-figure commitment it will require.
The Cubs, Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers are thought to be among the leaders for his services. Chances are he’ll stay with a National League team since he loves hitting and the American League, of course, uses the designated hitter.
He has a .220 career average and six career home runs, numbers that 99.9 percent of pitchers would love.
Actually, if anyone should feel ripped off this season, it’s Kershaw. The defending Cy Young winner would have added a fourth such award to his resume just about any other year. After getting off to what would be considered a rough start by his standards, the left-hander won 16 games, led the league with 301 strikeouts and posted a 2.13 ERA.
For all that, he finished third in the voting.
All three pitchers had extraordinary seasons, just like AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel of the Astros. Keuchel won a league-best 20 games and easily beat the Blue Jays’ David Price to win his first Cy Young.
I just don’t get the margin of victory in what should have been the closest race in Cy Young history.
As it turns out, Greinke was probably hurt by Kershaw’s success. Kershaw’s three first-place votes means the Greinke probably finished third on at least one voter’s ballot. Absurd.
As the Cubs are accustomed to saying, “Wait ‘til next year!”
Even though Greinke’s this year was as good as it gets.
Cover photo of Zack Greinke: USAToday.com, All Rights Reserved.
Inside image of Greinke: FoxSports.com, All Rights Reserved.
Image of Jake Arrieta: Keith Allison, All Rights Reserved.