Manny Machado’s case for MVP in 2022

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Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and the Cardinals are coming to town this week, which means now is the perfect time to spark that National League MVP debate.

The Padres, of course, have a strong contender in Manny Machado. And of all the major contenders – Machado, Goldschmidt, Arenado and the Dodgers trio of Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Trea Turner – it was Machado who did it without the help of another MVP candidate in the roster. departure.

“It’s not just about the numbers,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “Just a bit of who he is – posting and playing every day, playing injured, getting big hits. … He’s probably as valuable as any player on any team.

With just over two weeks to play, Goldschmidt is the presumed favorite, and it’s easy to see why. He is having a spectacular season, hitting .322/.411/.599, while leading the NL in bWAR and fWAR.

But Machado’s case shouldn’t be ignored — especially if he can finish strong, helping lift the Padres to their first playoff spot since 2006. Machado bats .296/.365/.531 while playing his defense usual exceptional at third base. Plus, there’s another factor that Machado’s teammates want to see count towards his MVP case:

“It’s hard to top what Goldschmidt is doing, and Freddie is having an amazing year,” right-hander Joe Musgrove said. “But [it’s about] what Manny has done on both sides of the ball – attack, defense – and overcoming injuries and everything he’s had this year. It’s hard to convey all of this to the people who decide who wins the awards. But we all know and have seen what he went through.

What Machado suffered was a horrific ankle injury in Colorado in June – the extent of which he has yet to publicly reveal. The team called it a sprain. Initially, the Padres feared Machado would be out for months. Instead, he was back 10 days later.

If Machado doesn’t win the MVP title, it could ultimately be because of this injury. When he came back, he played injured. And he struggled, hitting .202 with a .694 OPS in July — easily his worst numbers for any month.

But the fact is: he played. The Padres were without Fernando Tatis Jr., and their options on the field were slim. They didn’t have Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury in the lineup yet. Frankly, the team needed every bit of Machado’s .694 OPS and his gloves in July — even if it meant his numbers took a serious hit.

“For him, it’s all about the team,” Musgrove said. “I don’t think he would sit around longer to make sure he’s 100 per cent so he can keep up his pace. It was more about coming back and helping us win games.

Jake Cronenworth said: “He’s the guy you can count on. Just like, I guess, the Cardinals have Goldy or other teams have their guys. We have Manny to lean on. When we really need someone, he’s our guy.

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