FanDuel - WFBC

November 17, 2010

Black, Gardenhire Win Manager of Year Awards: Black wins by one point over Dusty Baker, while Gardenhire finally gets his first award after being runner-up five times in the past eight years.

posted by TheQatarian to baseball at 08:04 PM - 15 comments

As a Twins fan, I have to be honest: I thought Ron Washington deserved the AL MoY this season over Gardy, though it is by no means a travesty. I think a lot of the reason Gardenhire got it was more for his work the last decade as opposed to this year. The Rangers came from nowhere, while the Twins were the pick to win their division at the start of the season. Though Gardenhire should get some credit for navigating through losing Morneau in early July and Nathan in spring training.

Of course, Gardenhire should have won it in 2006 (Leyland got MoY and Terry Ryan got Executive of the Year, which was absolutely backward if you look at those two teams) and 2009 (when Mike Scioscia got it in large part because of Nick Adenhart's death), so it's good that he finally got one this year.

posted by TheQatarian at 08:09 PM on November 17

The Rangers came from nowhere

I wouldn't say nowhere. Most seemed to pick the angels, but the rangers were mentioned quite a bit. 5 of 13 SI 'experts' had the rangers winning.

Biased or not, I think terry francona was deserving this year. 2/3s of their outfield basically missed the entire season. Pedroia and Youk missed about half. That's 4 starters and 3 of the their first 4 hitters gone for most of the season. They lost both catchers for a significant amount of time. The ace of the staff had a 5.78 ERA.

Despite all that (among other injuries) they were a game back in the AL East in July, and in contention until the last few weeks.

I didn't think francona had much chance after missing the post season, but I don't think any manager did a better job keeping his team in contention.

posted by justgary at 08:46 PM on November 17

I'm just happy Dusty Baker did not win. How did he get any votes? My stopped watch is right twice a day, doesn't mean I consult it.

posted by yerfatma at 08:07 AM on November 18

Case for Wash:

Had to rely on patchwork at second base for extended periods when starter injured in spring training and then again later in year.

Catchers and first basemen at start of year flamed out in first week and had to rely on patches at those positions pretty much entire year.

No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers at beginning of season crapped out. Had to create a starting pitching staff out of former relievers, Japan refugee, and a mix of players up from minors (yeh, Lee eventually came along in trade to solidfy one spot but didn't do an awful lot in regular season due to injury).

Leadoff hitter at beginning of season showed he could not lead off, and became ninth place hitter instead. Moved ninth place hitter into lead off spot.

Closer at beginning of season showed he could not close (at least this year); had to rely on rookie as replacement (became rookie of year).

Best player (Hamilton) missed pretty much entire September with injury. Second best player (arguably Cruz) had multiple trips to disabled list requiring a mix and match outfield for much of season.

Nothing against Gardenhire; pretty much expected he would get award. But I don't think Wash ever gets the credit he deserves.

posted by graymatters at 10:49 AM on November 18

in contention until the last few weeks.

Words not usually associated with manager of the year.

posted by tron7 at 11:03 AM on November 18

Words not usually associated with manager of the year.

Why not? Keeping a decimated team in contention until the very end may very well be the most impressive managerial job in any season.

Girardi won in 86 with a losing record. So while a playoff team's manager usually wins, it's certainly not written in stone.

It's simply an award that means different things to different voters.

Case for Wash

The case against? He was awful in the post season.

Yes, I know that doesn't count, and I did not follow the rangers during the regular season. It's just hard for me to believe that a manager so bad in the playoffs was supposedly so good during the regular season.

posted by justgary at 12:16 PM on November 18

How does Bruce Bochy get left out of the equation? He kept the Giants in contention all year, came back from a 7 game deficit in one month to win the NL West, then proceeded to knock off some very tough teams to get to the World Series, which the Giants won in a fashion that stunned a lot of the "experts".

Few thought they would even get past the Braves. No one thought they would get past the Phillies, and most people expected the Rangers to win easily.

posted by irunfromclones at 12:50 PM on November 18

Why not? Keeping a decimated team in contention until the very end may very well be the most impressive managerial job in any season.

Maybe, but a manager is not likely to win the award unless the team starts the year with incredibly low expectations. They could have a payroll as small as Girardi's '06 Marlins or they could simply be as lousy as the '89 Indians.

posted by tron7 at 03:17 PM on November 18

Don't forget that Wash was distracted for a large part of the season by the Ranger's bankruptcy. Not only was he severely restricted money-wise (I think the team had to borrow money from MLB at one point to make payroll), he had to go to court to testify about the effects the bankruptcy was having on the team!

posted by thewittyname at 03:51 PM on November 18

How does Bruce Bochy get left out of the equation? He kept the Giants in contention all year, came back from a 7 game deficit in one month to win the NL West, then proceeded to knock off some very tough teams to get to the World Series, which the Giants won in a fashion that stunned a lot of the "experts".

All of the MLB awards (except for playoff specific ones) are voted on before the first playoff game is played.

posted by grum@work at 04:01 PM on November 18

but a manager is not likely to win the award unless the team starts the year with incredibly low expectations. They could have a payroll as small as Girardi's '06 Marlins or they could simply be as lousy as the '89 Indians.

True, but not fair in my opinion. It's simply very difficult to win the award when coming from the AL East, as the article stated. You're suppose to win, no matter what team you actually put on the field.

posted by justgary at 04:06 PM on November 18

I think the team had to borrow money from MLB at one point to make payroll

True, but they managed to pick up cliff lee. Not bad considering.

posted by justgary at 04:34 PM on November 18

The case against [Washington]? He was awful in the post season.

Yes, I know that doesn't count, and I did not follow the rangers during the regular season. It's just hard for me to believe that a manager so bad in the playoffs was supposedly so good during the regular season.

I found this piece excerpted by Rob Neyer interesting in that it provides support for the proposition that a manager can be a great season-long manager (i.e., managing the grind of a 162-game schedule very well to get the best out of his players) while underperforming as a manager in the play-offs (where in-game managing is more important and the consequences of bad decisions are amplified). In addition to Bobby Cox, the subject of that piece, Tony LaRussa (notwithstanding his reputation as a "genius" tactical manager) comes to mind as someone who has not won the number of World Series he seemingly should have based on the number of playoff appearances of his teams. Perhaps Ron Washington fits in this category as well.

posted by holden at 05:18 PM on November 18

He was awful in the post season.

Rangers went to World Series. What about Gardenhire? Oh, that's right. Swept in three.

posted by graymatters at 11:37 PM on November 18

Rangers went to World Series. What about Gardenhire? Oh, that's right. Swept in three.

Have no opinion on Gardenhire.

Yep, Rangers went to the world series where Washington was, as I said, terrible (or 'not good'). By your logic we should just give the award to manager of the two teams in the WS.

(Washington obviously did a good job during the season. WS? Not so much... but it doesn't count, so... congrats to him.)

I found this piece excerpted by Rob Neyer

Good article, and I completely agree. The regular season and playoffs really are quite different. So a manager like Washington might be an 'excellent manager for the long haul, assembling and shaping a team, and dealing with issues in the context of the long season' but be mediocre in a 7 game series.

posted by justgary at 12:20 AM on November 19

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