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DHL Delivery Man of the Year: Mariano Rivera
By mvyb, 25.10.2006, 10:21

For the second consecutive year ( and the only two years of its existence), Mariano Rivera has taken home the DHL Delivery Man of the Year award. The award,  now officially sanctioned by MLB, is given to the most "outstanding relief pitcher in baseball." 
Rivera had 34 saves and a crisp 1.80 ERA in 63 appearances this season.

This year, the field of nominees was very strong. Just take a look at the runners-up: Jonathan Papelbon ( 35 saves; 0.92 ERA), Trevor Hoffman ( 46 saves; 2.14 ERA), Bobby Jenks ( 41 saves; 4.00 ERA), Joe Nathan ( 36 saves; 1.58 ERA), Francisco Rodriguez ( 47 saves; 1.73 ERA), B. J. Ryan ( 38 saves; 1.37 ERA), Billy Wagner ( 40 saves; 2.24 ERA), J.J.Putz ( 36 saves; 2.30 ERA), and Joel Zumaya ( 97 Ks, 1.94 ERA).
This award is voted for by fans, so I can't help thinking "Rivera won a popularity contest, that's all." I'm not saying he had a bad year, but his numbers are not quite as good as Papelbon's, Ryan's, Nathan's, Hoffman's, or Rodriguez'. Plus, Rivera missed an entire month with an elbow injury.
In my opinion, the "Delivery Man of the Year" was Joe Nathan, a guy who was a rock at the back of the Twins' bullpen. His 36 saves were part of the reason the Twins were able to climb out of that 11 game deficit, and actually win their division. And you have to admire his 1.58 ERA, when you remember he had to face the tough American League lineups every night. Very impressive.
Jonathan Papelbon's numbers are probably the prettiest, but I don't think he deserved the award for two reasons: his team went no where and he missed alot of time near the end of the season.
Who's your pick for this award? Remember, it doesn't necessarily have to be a closer, it could be a setup guy like Joel Zumaya, or maybe even a 7th inning guy like Scott Proctor.

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