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Who is the Tigers' MVP? YOU make the call

Yesterday, between writing posts for BYB and for my own blog (Self promo warning! Visit the The Wayne Fontes Experience for all things Lions), I had ESPN playing in the background. What suddenly caught my attention on Sportscenter was their discussion, if you can call it that, as to who should win the AL MVP award.

I'll let Rogo of Designate Robertson take over from here:

So they say they have six candidates for the MVP in the American League to discuss. Sadly, I can't remember which talking heads were babbling about all of this. Anyway, they actually brought up Miguel Cabrera’s name, but immediately dismissed him saying "all he does is hit, nothing else". Whatever. The others? Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, and Verlander.

Tex and JV were cut and they spent the rest of the time promising free bj’s to any Yankee or Red Sox player that would stop by the studio. Something like that. Ellsbury ended up being their winner.

Personally, I treat ESPN as a necessary evil. The network is a shadow of it's once great self, but you're stuck viewing because they own the broadcast rights to damn near any sport worth watching. Much of my disgust comes from the fact the 4 Letter is shameless when it comes to self promotion (leading off the 1AM Sportscenter with Little League World Series highlights because they own the rights), and clueless in other matters (for example, keeping Skip Bayless and Woody Paige on the payroll). Honestly, the MLB Network is a far better option for news and analysis, but depending on the TV I'm using, it's not always available. But I digress...

Odds are ESPN eliminated Verlander and Cabrera because they play for a fly over city, not for the east coast axis of evil. Or maybe they're just dumb. But their discussion did get me to thinking...

Pretty much everyone acknowledges the Tigers have a pair of legit AL MVP candidates. But when other circumstances are factored in, would either Verlander or Cabrera be the Tigers' MVP, hands down? If not, who would? Why or why not?

With five weeks left in the season, the list of candidates could change. But to this point of the year, there are five serious candidates, listed in alphabetical order:

Alex Avila

Pro: Alvia's having an August for the ages offensively, become an iron man, never missing a start while taking a beating behind the plate (this in an age where players will miss time due to moths flying in their ear), and in only his 2nd full season, he just may have become be the best all-around catcher in baseball. Avila is an elite player at a difficult position.

Con: Save for having an awful July, if's hard to think of one. Avila has been that good.

Miguel Cabrera

Pro: Having another typical, highly productive season in his HoF quality career. Miggy is all over the AL's top ten in every important offensive category - 2nd in the AL in OBP, OPS and BB, 5th in BA, 6th in SLG and R, 7th in RBI, 8th in 2B, 9th in H, 10th in HR. Cabrera not being an AL MVP candidate in any season would be a surprise.

Con: As a 1st baseman, Cabrera does not play what would be considered a vital defensive position, his greatness is overshadowed by Verlander's breakout year and Avila being so damn hardcore, tends to be taken for granted by the fans due to his awesome consistency.

Victor Martinez

Pro: Leads the Tigers in BA, is playing through injuries, has given Cabrera the lineup protection he has long needed, provides excellent offensive production from a position the Tigers have ignored in the past, DH. Just imagine the fallout if the Tigers had not signed Martinez, and had gone with one of the other big name free agent bats...say Adam Dunn?

Con: V-Mart was singed to split time with Avila, yet has played very little at catcher (though it's due to his knee and back injuries). Can a one dimensional player really be considered team MVP?

Jhonny Peralta

Pro: Having a career season offensively, leads AL SS in BA, OPS, is 2nd in SLG and OBP, has given the Tigers elite production at a position where they have been getting zilch offensively since Carlos Guillen's glory days ended.

Con: Peralta is an average defender, with little range. But much like Avila, there's really nothing bad to say about Peralta's season.

Justin Verlander

Pro: The favorite to win the AL CY Young award, and could win the AL pitching Triple Crown. Verlander leads the AL in W, IP, K, BAA, WHIP, GS, and is 2nd in ERA. Tossed his 2nd career no-hitter, has flirted with another no-no in three other starts. If he's not the best starting pitcher in baseball, Verlander is on the very short list.

Con: This is, as the Brits say, the sticky wicket, and may derail Verlander's chances at the AL MVP. Despite his undisputed dominance, can a pitcher who only starts 35 or so games be more valuable than an everyday player?

I'm sure I've missed some other pros and cons, or even another player who deserved consideration, such as Jose Valverde. I'd like to get your thoughts in the comments, and of course...I've added a poll!