A couple of Tigers won awards yesterday, one of them was about as obvious as it comes, and one wasn’t even a player. Justin Verlander and David Dombrowski each took home some hardware yesterday. Verlander, was the no-brainer winner of the Cy Young Award as voted by the Basbeball Writers Association of America, and David Dombrowski won co-Executive of the Year by the Sporting News. Dombrowski shared the award with the Brewers Doug Melvin.
The Cy Young Award for Verlander was about as anti-climactic as they come. Verlander dominated from start to finish in 2011, notching his 2nd career no-hitter along the way, and he also had several others that he took late into ball games. His pitching triple crown of 24 wins, an ERA of 2.40, and 250 strikeouts, made the decision for the award for Verlander unanimous. Verlander garnered every first place vote. Closer Jose Valverde finished 5th in the voting.
The other award on the day went to Tigers GM David Dombrowski. Although it is less prestigious, the award given out by the Sporting News is some recognition for the sterling job that Dombrowski did in the past year. As someone who has been often critical of the moves Dombrowski has made over his tenure with the Tigers, even I can admit that he pushed pretty much almost all the right buttons, beginning with the Victor Martinez signing last off-season. He correctly identified Martinez as the proper offensive player instead of Adam Dunn.
Signing Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit turned out to be two critical moves in helping the Tigers win their first division title since 1987. Those two moves, along with mid-season acquisitions of Delmon Young, Wilson Betemit, and Doug Fister helped propel the Tigers into an easy division win, after battling with the Cleveland Indians much of the summer. Dombrowski did a masterful job acquiring those 3 players while giving up really only one of the Tigers prospects in Francisco Martinez in the Fister deal. I suppose one could argue that Chance Ruffin was also a top prospect, but that might be more a reflection of the Tigers system than Ruffin’s value overall.
Dombrowski should also get some credit for the Jhonny Peralta extension as well. Peralta went on to have his best overall year of his career, while many of us were skeptical of re-signing Peralta so quickly. Also handing the job of catcher full time to Alex Avila worked out as well. There were some minor mistakes as well, but nothing that isn’t going to be on a GM’s resume on a yearly basis, especially one that is trying to make moves to get an aging owner a World Series ring.
Congratulations to both Justin Verlander and David Dombrowski on their tremendous seasons.