My MLB Awards: Managers of the Year

I like this award this year because in one league, the choice is simple and should be unanimous.  In the National League, it’s a bit of a crapshoot.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays. I can’t think of much else to say about this man because I think he is a genius.  There is no one that has worked harder to instill a sense of dignity in an organization than Maddon and his 9=8 mantra for 2008.  I think he’ll be more of a genius if he can take the Rays back to the postseason in 2009 since they can’t really sneak up on anyone anymore.  I’ll be the first to tell you that back in April, May, June, or ever July that the Rays’ collapse was imminent.  With a team short on veterans, but high on talent, Maddon kept the Rays focused for 162 games.  He’s intelligent and he sounds intelligent.  I could give Ron Gardenhire consideration for making the one game playoff with no Torii Hunter, no Johan Santana, and no Francisco Liriano for most of the year, but this one goes to Maddon, hands down.

NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, Florida Marlins.  Wow, this one is really up in the air.  A popular choice would be Lou Piniella, who will likely receive the award, but I’m not going to go that way.  He had a ton of talent on that team and I know you’re not supposed to take the postseason into consideration, but they were terrible.  When I look at the standings this season, I look to several candidates: Fredi Gonzalez in Florida, Ned Yost in Milwaukee, Cecil Cooper in Houston, and Joe Torre in LA.  We can eliminate Yost because he was fired, but he did a hell of a job with those Brewers and can take some credit for making the playoffs.  I like Cooper because no one saw the Astros coming and their team was… well… just average.  BUT he won 86 games with that average team.  Personally, and maybe it’s my New York bias, but I think Joe Torre did a great job in LA and they wouldn’t be near the playoffs without him.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be there without Manny Ramirez.  I went wth Fredi Gonzalez for the Sunshine State sweep because outside of their fan base, can anyone name five players on their roster?  Who was their closer?  Who hit clean up?  Who started? Up the middle the Marlins are second to none with Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez (who is one of the top players in the game). Jorge Cantu, an ex-Hudson Valley Renegade, revived his career with 30+ home runs and we got a glimpse of the future with Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.  Here’s the real shocker: THE MARLINS WON 84 GAMES IN 2008!  I didn’t expect them to win 64, let alone 84.  They were in it until pretty much the end in the NL East and were 7.5 out in the end.  I highly doubt the voters will give it to anyone but Piniella, but I’m going with Gonzalez.

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