11/12/12 10:00 AM ET
Will fourth time be the charm for Weaver?
By Tracy Ringolsby / MLB.com
2012 Cy Young Award finalists
|American League||National League|
|David Price, TB||R.A. Dickey, NYM|
|Justin Verlander, DET||Gio Gonzalez, WAS|
|Jered Weaver, LAA||Clayton Kershaw, LAD|
Weaver gets another shot with the announcement of the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. He's one of three finalists, along with Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, who already has earned the Players Choice Award.Weaver has the stats to back his candidacy, but the stats don't always matter. No award is as subjective as the Cy Young Award has been over the years. Just two years ago, Felix Hernandez of Seattle won the AL Award. He went 13-12 that season, but many sabermeticians waged a successful campaign that de-emphasized the value of wins in favor of more sophisticated statistical analysis. All of which creates the curiosity of Weaver could be to this era what Jack Morris and Dave Stewart were to the 1980s. On a disappointing Angels team, Weaver still managed to go 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA, and a 1.02 WHIP that was best in the AL. He tied with Price for the AL lead in victories. And he ranked third in the AL in ERA behind Price (2.56) and Verlander (2.64). Price, meanwhile, tied with Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox for third in the AL with a 1.10 WHIP. Verlander was second at 1.06, but Verlander tied with Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox for fourth in the AL with 17 wins. What's more, the Angels were 23-7 in games Weaver started, winning three of his five no-decisions, while the AL Central champion Tigers were 4-4 in Verlander's eight no decisions, and Tampa Bay only claimed one victory in six no-decisions for Price. It would seem that should add up to Weaver finally claim the Cy Young Award, after finishing second in the voting a year ago, and fifth in 2010. Jack Morris and Dave Stewart, however, can tell Weaver that looks can be deceiving. Stewart had a four-year stretch (1987-90) in which he won 84 games. He led the AL with 20 wins in 1987, and finished second with 21 wins in 1988 and 1989, and 22 wins in 1990. How did he do in the Cy Young voting? Well, he was third in 1987, fourth in 1988, second in 1989 and third again in 1990. Morris finished among the top 10 in wins in 10 of 12 years from 1981-92, and finished among the top 10 in Cy Young voting seven times, but he never won the award. His third-place finishes in 1981 and 1983 were his highest finishes. Morris did lead the AL in wins in 1981 and 1992. He won 20 games in 1983 and 21 games in 1986. He worked 235 innings or more 11 times, including 293 2/3 innings in 1983. He completed 10 or more games 11 times, including 20 complete games in 1983. Voters, however, always found someone else who for that one season was a bit more deserving than Morris. Four times a reliever has claimed the AL Cy Young, three times during Morris' dozen years of domination -- Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland A's in 1992, and Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1981, the two seasons in which Morris led the AL in victories -- as well as Willie Hernandez in 1984. In 1983, Morris, a 20-game winner, finished third behind 24-game winner LaMarr Hoyt of the Chicago White Sox, and Dan Quisenberry, who saved a then-record 45 games for Kansas City. When Morris won 21 games in 1986, 24-game winner Roger Clemens of Boston won. Morris finished fifth, right behind Yankees reliever Dave Righetti. Weaver has faced a similar situation the last three seasons. He was 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA a year ago, but finished second to Verlander, who won the AL pitching Triple Crown, as he led the AL with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts. In 2010, Weaver had the same 13-12 record as Cy Young winner Hernandez, but his 3.01 ERA dropped him to fifth in the voting. And despite a 16-8 record in 2009, he did not receive any Cy Young consideration. Zack Greinke, who also went 16-8 that year with Kansas City, took the honors. Will the fourth time be the charm for Weaver? He's made his case. Now he has to wait for the voting to be announced.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.