NEW YORK – All those who marvel at Miguel Cabrera can only wonder what he might’ve done this year if healthy.
Even so, Cabrera was a huge hit in Motown.
Despite being hobbled by all sorts of ailments, the Detroit Tigers slugger won his second straight American League Most Valuable Player award Thursday, once again beating Angels outfielder Mike Trout by a comfortable margin.
A season after winning baseball’s first Triple Crown in 45 years, Cabrera came back to lead the majors in hitting at .348 and finish second with 44 home runs and 137 RBI.
I think this year was tougher because of the injuries, he said on a conference call from the Miami area.
It was the last two months. It was tough to play through it.
The eight-time All-Star missed several games after the break because of a bad back, a sore left hip flexor, a strained lower abdomen, shin trouble and a groin tear. He recently had surgery to fix the tear and said he’ll be ready for spring training.
Still, Cabrera got 23 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He became the first player to win consecutive AL MVPs since Frank Thomas for the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 1994.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen took the NL MVP by a surprisingly wide margin after leading a baseball revival in Pittsburgh.
McCutchen drew 28 of the 30 first-place votes to finish far ahead of Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina.
I’m floating right now, McCutchen said in Pittsburgh. But I definitely didn’t expect it to be a landslide with those other guys – Goldschmidt and Molina. They were great candidates and I didn’t know what to expect.
McCutchen, 27, ranked among the NL leaders by hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI. He also scored 97 runs, stole 27 bases and had a .404 on-base percentage.
He helped the Pirates stop a record streak of 20 losing seasons and make the playoffs for the first time since 1992.
Cabrera finished with 385 points, while Trout got five first-place votes and 282 points. The difference was 81 points last season, when Trout was AL Rookie of the Year.
Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBI, was third.
I think all three guys deserve this trophy, Cabrera said.
Cabrera took his third AL batting title in a row. He also drew a $1 million bonus for winning a second MVP during his current contract with the Tigers.
The Tigers have virtually owned the major postseason awards during a three-year run of success. Justin Verlander was the MVP and Cy Young winner in 2011, Cabrera took the MVP last season and Detroit ace Max Scherzer won this year’s Cy Young Award on Wednesday.
I’m on the right team, Cabrera said.