St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols won his first National League MVP award, beating Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones in a close vote on Tuesday.
Pujols was second in the NL with a .330 average, five points behind Lee, and hit 41 homers, trailing only Jones (51) and Lee (46). Pujols tied for second in RBIs with 117, 11 behind Jones.
Pujols, a 25-year-old Dominican, has put up remarkable statistics in his first five major league seasons, averaging 40 homers and 124 RBIs to go along with a .332 average.
He was third behind Barry Bonds and Adrian Beltre in last year's MVP voting after finishing fourth as a rookie in 2001 and second to Bonds the following two seasons. Bonds missed most of this year with a knee injury after winning the award four straight times to increase his total MVPs to a record seven.
Pujols, who gets a US$200,000 bonus, won the 15th MVP award for the Cardinals, the first since Willie McGee in 1985.
Alex Rodriguez won the American League Most Valuable Player award for the second time in three seasons, beating David Ortiz on Monday in a vote that rewarded a position player over a designated hitter.
Rodriguez, in his second season as the New York Yankees' third baseman, received 16 first-place votes, 11 seconds and one third for 331 points from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Ortiz, the DH for the Boston Red Sox, got 11 firsts and 17 seconds for 307 points. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero received the other first-place vote and was third with 196 points.
Voting was done before the postseason, when both the Yankees and Red Sox were eliminated in the first round. Rodriguez hit only .133 with no RBIs in a five-game loss to the Angels while Ortiz batted .333 with a home run as the Red Sox were swept by the Chicago White Sox.
Rodriguez hit .321 with an AL-high 48 homers and 130 RBIs, breaking Joe DiMaggio's 68-year-old Yankees record for home runs by a right-handed hitter (46). A-Rod also won the award in 2003, his final season as the Texas Rangers' shortstop before he was dealt to the Yankees.
Ortiz batted .300 with 47 homers and a major league-leading 148 RBIs. Big Papi had 34 RBIs that put his team ahead, the most in the AL, and had eight RBIs from the seventh inning on that put Boston ahead to stay.
Rodriguez became the first Yankees player to win the award since Don Mattingly in 1985, and only the fourth player to win an MVP with two teams.
A-Rod also is the fourth to win at two positions, following Detroit's Hank Greenberg (first base and left field), the St. Louis Cardinals' Stan Musial (outfield and first base) and the Milwaukee Brewers' Robin Yount (shortstop and center field).
Rodriguez gets a US$1 million bonus for winning the MVP for the second time during his record US$252 million, 10-year contract. With Ortiz's second-place finish, the price of Boston's 2007 club option increases by US$400,000 to US$8.4 million.
Hideki Matsui and the Yankees agreed Tuesday to a US$52 million, four-year contract that will keep the popular outfielder in New York.
Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met the Nov. 15 deadline contained in Matsui's first contract with the team. That deal stated that if there was no agreement by then, New York would have to place the outfielder on unconditional release waivers, which means the Yankees could not have re-signed him until May 15.