Since June 16, Matt Holliday has hit well enough to put up the following numbers -
.351/.416/.612/1.028 with 13 home runs and 54 runs batted in.
<<<Not quite MVP numbers but I mean he's gotta be close.>>>
He has a shot at it if he finishes strong. I haven't checked McCutchen's numbers for a while but I know he's been struggling during the Pirates mini-slump. That might hurt his chances. Melky and Votto are obviously out of the conversation right now, too. Holliday is very much in the hunt. I wouldn't shake a stick at Yadi, either.
I think defense helps more than you're making out. How else can you explain Pudge's MVP over Manny Ramirez, who had 50some more RBI?
A month or so ago I posted my Top 5 MVP candidates. I think I had McCutchen, Cabrera, Holliday, Votto, and Braun in that order. I don't think it's a stretch to have Molina on that list now.
How many years ago did Pudge beat out Manny? Had to be close to 10. Since then, I highly doubt if any premier defensive player has placed in the top 3 or even 5 of any MVP race. Yes, part of that is that many premier defensive players don't have the offensive numbers as well. However, I think we'll really be able to tell how much weight is placed on defensive performance this season by taking a look at where Yadi winds up compared to Buster Posey.
Posey owns to lead against Yadi in pretty much all offensive categories, but I highly doubt you'll find outside of San Fran (and maybe Bristol, CT), who says Buster is the better defensive player.
I don't consider 10+ years ago to be that far back. Not far enough to erase precedent, anyway. Besides, the steroids era changed things over the past decade or so.
There are plenty of examples in post-strike baseball where defense clearly was a big factor in voters' minds. Barry Larkin is another example. A guy like Mike Piazza is the reverse-example. He probably has multiple MVP awards if he's a GG-caliber defensive player.
You make a good point regarding Posey. It will be interesting between he and Yadi.