As I sit here on one of Maui’s amazing beaches, I got to thinking about the manager of the year voting, and who I would vote for if given an opportunity. There are certainly a number of worthy candidates with the favorites falling into two camps: the managers leading upstart teams on surprising runs, and those whose teams consistently deliver year after year. I tend to favor the former category in MOY voting…there’s something to be said for teams that defy expectations and go on incredible runs deep into the regular season, but you can’t ignore managers that deliver contenders seemingly every year.
Finally, since I’ve tried to write this with minimal computer time, please excuse the lack of numbers…gotta get back to the beach and continue working on my playoff tan! With that said, here are my votes:
3rd Place: Tony La Russa
Sure, La Russa has the best player in the game in Albert Pujols and a stacked lineup. But once the Cardinals added Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and others, he deftly put the pieces in place (including moving Skip Schumaker to second base from the outfield) to lock up the division early. They did struggle down the stretch, but the competition was non-existent. He deserves third place.
2nd Place: Joe Torre
Like La Russa, I feel Joe Torre had a very strong lineup to start the season, but in my opinion, Joe deserves consideration for manager of the year due to how he handled the Manny Ramirez situation, and specifically his use of Juan Pierre. In addition, he managed a shaky starting pitching roster that had to overcome numerous hurdles. In the end, they finished with some on the best numbers in the National League. And like Toy La Russa, Torre has proven he can deliver a contender year after year, seemingly with ease.
NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy
Jim Tracy gets our vote, as he literally turned this team around the Colorado Rockies after taking the reins following Clint Hurdle’s firing on May 29. Consider the numbers: The Rockies were last in the NL West with a record of 18-28. After taking over as manager, he led them to a Wild Card playoff appearance and very nearly a division title. Most importantly, Tracy gave his players (especially his bullpen) clear roles, and let them know how he intended to use them. This in turn gave them confidence and the turnaround began. Pretty incredible stuff.
So there are our votes…let us know what you think about our picks, or feel free to make a compelling argument for another manager.