As being a member of the BBA I have an annual vote in the Manager of the Year category. Last year I kind of let it go to waste, simply because I was lazy. I’m deciding not to allow that to happen this year. Though– it kind of helps that I’ve already had time to give it a great deal of thought.
This year Fansided decided to host their own set of awards among staff members. American League sites would vote for the American League awards and the same for those that write for the National League.
As it stands we were asked to submit our top 5 managers, rookies and relievers. Then top 10 pitchers and position players. Ranking them in the order of which we of course felt they deserved.
Yesterday, I kind of dropped the ball and forgot to put out a link to the Fansided announcement of our selection of Manager of the Year.
For my take on who should be Manager of the Year and how I voted check it out after the jump.
This was taken as of 27 Sep, just so you know this wasn’t about the last day of the season and it wasn’t about the playoffs.
Since we used the top-5 I’ll count down from 5.
5. Manny Acta – Cleveland Indians – 80 wins
When Acta got fired or stepped down … or whatever he left the Nationals organization I was too high on him. But I’ve really come to appreciate what he did with the Indians team this year and not only that but what his coaching staff did.
Yes, a large percentage of their win total was based upon that early start and I was a huge fan of their going after Urbaldo Jimenez. Not to say that I don’t think he’s a good pitcher but the price the y paid was extensive and I never thought it was going to get them to the playoffs. That said the young pitching staff certainly took off and managing vet’s on a team that is constantly getting young AND still be somewhat successful is a task. Just ask Eric Wedge. This is why I thought Manny Acta was the 5th best manager in the AL this past year.
4. Ron Washington – Texas Rangers -96 wins
Let’s get one thing straight. I seriously dislike how Washington manages his pitching staff. My brother, as you may or may not know, is a huge Ranger fan. He and I have plenty of discussions on the organization as a whole. I have a love/hate thing going on with what Nolan Ryan is doing with the young arms in the organization. But, then you have Washington with Alexi Ogando pitching in the rotation to start the season while Feliz and Holland started in the bullpen. ID-I-OT-IC.
I hold it to Washington because it ultimately he makes that decision. How he’s going to use players. Holland eventually moved to the starting rotation, and while Ogando was good, he was inconsistent at times.
I personally would have had Ogando close and put Feliz in the rotation.
But, it all worked out. The thing that I can’t get over is C.J. Wilsons’ rise and then even Matt Harrison’s come back. This coaching staff has finally got three decent pitchers and while I don’t believe that Wilson will be back this off-season. What Washington did with the help of his pitching coach with this rotation has to be recognized as it is a difficult thing to do in a park like the one in Arlington.
The other thing about Washington is he doesn’t just sit on his hands. His ball players are aggressive on the base paths. With few exceptions (Josh Hamilton and your stupid bunt) they don’t waste at bats and rarely do they steal a base at an inopportune time. They weight the odds and play aggressive but in a smart manner.
Despite having injuries and having guys “under” perform. He has an understanding of players and their value and played them regardless of how much the media down in Dallas criticized him. I really respect that I can appreciate it.
3. Jim Leyland –Detroit Tigers – 95 wins
Most people probably have Leyland a lot higher and then some I think left him off entirely. I don’t care too much for his managerial style and I think to be honest sometimes his overall managing of the team and its players was, at times, hurtful overall to their cause.
That said, I look at the Manager being responsible for two things.
1) Filling out the line-up card competently.
2) Control and keep the guys in the locker room.
I will acknowledge, much like Ron Washington, he also influences the play style a bit but, I hardly see the
As I said, I’m not exactly in love with how Leyland managed the line-up.
But the biggest thing that I really hold him to is Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera had the best year of his career, a season that opened with yet another DUI. Cabrera has seemingly matured this season and he’s managed to keep a solid locker room all season. In my mind this is the purpose of a manager.
While Leyland isn’t my ideal manager I certainly respect what he did for the Tigers players this year. Especially when you think about the fact they were as far back as 8 games in early May.
Thinking about all the early injuries, off-the-field issues and their early record it’s easy to see how things could have compacted and they could have had a poor season. But it takes a leader to really rally the guys and help keep focus on the full season.
2. Joe Girardi – New York Yankees – 97 wins
I said at the beginning of the season, when we were predicting our play-off predictions and just season predictions in general. That the Yankees would miss the play offs and finish 4th overall in the AL-East.
I thought that with pitching staff in place, they would fall and fall hard.
Who knew Bartolo Colon would be a pretty good pitcher again, same with Freddy Garcia. Then you couple that with Ivan Nova not being terrible. And the Yankees didn’t turn into the pumpkin I thought they would be.
Their bullpen was easily one of the best in all of baseball and then their offense was so good that at times it didn’t matter how many runs the other team came up with.
All that said, Girardi knows how to manage a team, and not just a team of players but a team of ego’s.
He made some big (not to mention, hard) calls with Posada and he had to deal with a struggling A-Rod at times this season. A few guys that are owed a lot of respect, prestige and not to mention money, yet the team just consistently played extremely well all season. Forget all those fans calling for Girardi to get fired. That’s just stupid, he’s easily in the better half of managers in the game. Day in, day out.
1. Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay Rays – 91 wins
There is no other manager in all of baseball that I would rather have at the head of my team, than that of Joe Maddon. He’s one of the smarter managers in the game, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and yet he is more than willing to go to bat for any player and take on the umpire when needed.
He is active in the game but not to an extent that he completely takes away outs. His management of his pen and rotation is acceptable. I think the only thing you can really ding him for is riding The Legend of Sam Fuld for too long this year.
Then you look at the hand he was given and even with how much I love the Rays I thought they were going to take a step back too. But, they gave us an incredible September and really a fun season.
Maddon is easily the Manager of the year in my mind.
I think this is really the hardest award to really vote for. I mean how much does a manager really influence. How much does he hurt the ball club, how much does he help? These are ambigious questions, ones that we just can’t know. We can judge his management of the 25 guys….and that’s about it.
I like to look at how a club house is also managed. Guys taking step forward such as a Miguel Cabrera, Doug Fister or even Bartolo Colon. You can’t credit every player’s asscension to that “next level” as the manager’s doing but he certainly has a part in it, if only it’s ever so small.
Just my thoughts.