Astros' Altuve, Marlins' Stanton named MLB MVPs

Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton accept awardsJose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton finished their tremendous years by each taking home their first MLB MVP award on Thursday. For Altuve, the award caps a championship season with the Houston Astros, where Altuve developed into the American League batting champion over the last seven years. For Stanton, the National League home runs leader, winning MVP provided a more bittersweet moment in the wake of reports the lowly Miami Marlins are looking to trade him.

Altuve was the runaway winner in AL voting, earning 27 of a possible 30 first-place votes. He paced the best offense in baseball with a .346 batting average, 24 home runs, and 32 stolen bases, and although it didn’t factor into the voting, his mastery at the plate continued in the postseason, where he hit another seven home runs on Houston’s championship run. Rookie of the year winner Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees finished a distant second to Altuve in the voting, while Jose Ramirez received one first-place vote and Mike Trout finished fourth in voting despite missing a large chunk of the season due to injury.

Voting for NL MVP was historically close, with Stanton edging Joey Votto by two votes. Stanton, who hit a league-leading 59 home runs, tied Votto in first-place votes with 10 apiece, but received one more vote for both second and third place, which made all the difference. The vote was the closest it’s been since 1979, perhaps because both Stanton and Votto played for teams with losing records, making Stanton only the sixth player to win the award on a losing team. Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Charlie Blackmon also received first-place votes.

For Stanton, the win comes amid uncertainty over whether he will remain a member of the Marlins. Despite having a decade remaining on his massive 13-year, $325-million contract and a no-trade clause with Miami, which was recently purchased by an ownership group that includes former Yankees star Derek Jeter, Stanton represents the easiest way for the new owners to cut the Marlins’ already-low payroll and receive a hefty return in a trade. Although it doesn’t seem like Stanton wants to play elsewhere, he is interested in playing for a winning team, and he has expressed doubts about Miami properly addressing its most pressing problem: pitching.