2013 Managers of The Year
In a season filled with twists and turns that one could not have scripted, it’s anyone’s guess as to who could be the manager of the year. Well, I am going to give it my best shot. The manager is a huge part of the game – whether you believe that or not, they have the biggest impact on the outcome of the game. Do you pinch hit or keep in the pitcher? Do you go to the lefty or keep the starter in the game? Baseball is a chess match with the manager at the helm. They have the ability to turn the biggest losers into winners within a single season, and we saw that in 2008 when Rays’ manager Joe Maddon led them to the World Series and became manager of the year. I am going to start in a wild American League where the games and standings were as tight as can be. My two finalists are Red Sox’s manager John Farrell and Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi. The rivals go at it again.
The 2012 Boston Red Sox were excruciating to watch, and now they are trying to finish off the season as American League East champions as they lead the division in the final month of play. In his first year as Sox manager coming over from the Blue Jays, Farrell made a big difference in the scenery in Boston. This was a no-tolerance year and he was a respected manager from day one. In a season where not much was expected from the Red Sox, Farrell has tolerated nothing but winning from his team and that’s exactly what he has got. He dealt with the antics of Alfredo Aceves about as well as that situation could be handled. He is professional and keeps any issues in-house which is what a good manager should do. He respects his players and his players respect him.
Let’s turn over to Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi, who the won the award in 2006 while managing the Florida Marlins. In a season filled with uncontrollable injuries which nobody could have predicted, Girardi has rallied around the players he has and has the Yankees within games of the last wild card spot. Between Derek Jeter refusing to get healthy, losing Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira for the year, the A-Rod situation, the rough pitching, Girardi has kept his team focused, eye on the prize! Girardi has been forced to use Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells in the everyday lineup and has gotten the most out of these players. On the field, Girardi has handled the team pitch count and rest as perfect as any manager could have! Now onto the National League. My National League finalists are Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Two months into the season, Dodger fans were looking for Mattingly to go, and now he’s in contention to be manager of the year! This season, Mattingly has handed a team with a ton of expectations and did not show that at all to start the year. With an all-star lineup and a very talented rotation they were not getting the job done and that was on Mattingly. In the middle of May, Mattingly was as close as you can be to getting fired, and fast forward to July and he’s leading the hottest team in baseball. This worst to first turnaround should get Mattingly consideration for the award. He has dealt with Yasiel Puig and had to do his best to keep him focused and mature the young phenom and the injuries of Matt Kemp. If the Dodgers finish the season strong, Mattingly is a manager of the year finalist.
Now to Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle. Let’s start the case for Clint this way, the Pittsburgh Pirates are having their first winning season in 20 years! The Pirates, known for breaking down late, have the second best record in the league with only a month to play! Clint has kept this team focused on one thing, the World Series. It is not good enough for this team to get their first winning season in 20 years, but they have to give it all they have and roll the dice in October. Fighting with the Reds and Cardinals for a division title this late in the season should be an accomplishment in itself. The Pirates have a slim lead in the NL Central so it’s not guaranteed they will win the division, but they most certainly will be playing in October under Clint Hurdle.
With the cases made and the facts out there, I have my winners for manager of the year. In the American League, Joe Girardi has done a great job with the Yankees, but they still are not even close to a guaranteed playoff spot. If you look at how bad the Red Sox were last season mentally and physically and what they are now it’s an easy winner. In the National League, Mattingly has been brilliant turning this Dodger team around but this is the way they were supposed to be playing from day 1. Clint Hurdle has led this team through heartbreak seasons and they came this year determined to prove the league wrong. My 2013 manager of the year winners are John Farrell from the Boston Red Sox and Clint Hurdle from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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