Just recently MLB has released its list of candidates to be named Comeback Player of the Year. There are 6 players eligible in the National and American Leagues, with a player in each league receiving the award. Lets focus on the NL, where our very own Todd Jones is vieing for the honor.
Ken Griffey Jr-Reds
I'll start off my plea for Todd Jones by saying that the odds are stacked against him, as he may be the only person on this list without nation-wide notoriety, but big names aside, Todd has mustered up the type of year that would garner this award.
Let me offer you my definition of what type of player should be eligible for this award. Someone who is named the Comeback Player of the Year has to be a player who was very good/great at one point in their career, slumped into an horrific down streak (minimum of 1 year), and then revived their careers to become ELITE players at their position. I refuse to consider a player who slumped due to injury becuase it was not in their control that they were not performing. Those who had down points in their career without injury and then rebounded to greatness are more impressive because those players actually had to deal with losing their talent and then learning to regain it and put it to incredible use.
Therefore, Brian Fuentes (because he was never very good/great so he has nothing to come back to), Andy Pettite (injury), Ken Griffey Jr (injury), Cliff Floyd (injury), and Troy Glaus (injury) should not be eligible for the award. Dont get me wrong, those who have horrific injuries must work extremely hard to regain their playing shape, but they also never lost their gifted abilities and thus never had to comeback from anything except a plague of injuries, while players like Todd Jones had to rebound from a series of dissapointing years caused by lack of talent.
Todd Jones had 42 saves for the Detroit Tigers in 2000, but since that year he spent 4 years (2001-2004) with 6 teams where he compiled 15 saves out of 38 chances and an ERA of up to 8.24. So, my final case for Todd Jones is that of all the nominees for the NL award, he means the most to his team than any of the others. He, Andy Pettite, and Cliff Floyd are the only players that are legitimately in playoff races and Pettite loses importance with Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt also being in the Astro rotation and Cliff Floyd losing votes due to his bat that is combined with Beltran, Piazza, Cameron, and Wright in the Mets lineup. Jones came into this season just trying to make the Marlins staff and has arguably turned into the most lights out closer in the National League. His ability to step into the closer role with his team was desperate for a stopper was huge for the Marlins chances in the playoff race. He was the most consistent arm in a borderline pathetic bullpen that has served as the major pitfall for our Marlins since day 1.
Oooo yeah...and he has a really cool handlebar mustache!