The 2008 season was Gary Sheffield‘s second-to-last in Major League Baseball, and it wasn’t one of his finest. Sheffield was 39 during the campaign and struggled to a .725 OPS in just 114 games for the Detroit Tigers.
But that isn’t stopping Sheffield from disparaging that year’s MVP — Dustin Pedroia.
“Those numbers [Pedroia put up], we put up in the first half [of the 2008 season],” Sheffield said recently, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. It’s unclear exactly when or why Washburn was speaking to Sheffield.
Quite frankly, this quote demands further context. Washburn makes it clear that Sheffield says he believes Pedroia should not have won the MVP award that year. However, out of context, Sheffield’s quote looks utterly delusional, especially if he’s counting himself among the “we.”
During 2008, Pedroia’s OPS was .144 points higher than Sheffield’s, and Pedroia beat Sheffield in just about every major offensive statistical category except for home runs (19 to 17). But, even if we assume Sheffield wasn’t talking about himself, his argument still doesn’t hold up.
While it’s true that Pedroia was nowhere near the top of the American League in home runs or RBIs, nowadays we should know better than to judge a player’s value on such archaic stats. (Moreover, Pedroia led the league in doubles and hits and was second to Joe Mauer in batting average.)
The only player who might have a legitimate gripe against Pedroia’s MVP award may be Nick Markakis, who owned a 7.5 wins above replacement (WAR) as compared to Pedroia’s 6.9 total. But even discounting defense, Pedroia was fifth in the AL in offensive WAR with a mark of 5.5.
Sorry, Gary Sheffield. You are completely full of it.