Legends On Deck

Roberts and Francona Win Manager Of The Year Awards

Updated: November 16:

And the winners are:

American League

Cleveland Indians – Terry Francona

National League

Los Angeles Dodgers – Dave Roberts

Original Post: November 15

Every season when the finalists for Manager of the Year are announced, I always think to myself how hard it must be to have that job.  You are put in a position to bring a team to places they have either never been, or haven’t been in a long time and everything you say and do is scrutinized by media and fans everywhere.  Sometimes you have to just make do with what you have when the organization you work for doesn’t put as much money into the product on the field.  Other times the expectations are so great because of the money spent.  You have to be able to deal with egos, cultural differences, languages barriers, media, fans, etc.. But if you win, none of that matters.  There are six finalists for this award, but you can almost make a case for all 30 MLB managers for the work they do during the grind.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jeff Banister, Rangers: Banister was the 2015 American League Manger of the Year and has a good chance to take back-to-back honors.  The Rangers won an American League best 95 games in 2016 enroute to a AL West title.  It was their second in a row and their win total was up seven from the year before.  The Rangers are loaded with talent, which isn’t to take away from the job Banister did, but I think he is going to fall short in the voting.

Terry Francona, Indians: Francona led the Cleveland Indians to game seven of the World Series for the first time since 1997.  The team was poised to bring in their first title since 1948 but fell a bit short.  One of the hardest things for a manager to do it to keep his team winning when injuries strike.  The Indians had their share with a bulk of their starting rotation being put on the shelf.  Even with that the Indians managed to win the American League Central.  Francona won the award back in 2013.

Buck Showalter, Orioles: Another former winner of the award, Showalter looks like the favorite to land it.  The Orioles battled all the way to the last day of the season earning themselves a spot in the postseason.  Showalter was able to accomplish that with a rotation that certainly wasn’t the strongest.  Despite that, the Orioles earned a Wild Card birth, but lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings.  Showalter has won the award three times (1994 Yankees, 2004 Rangers, 2014 Orioles).

Prediction: When you are dealing with Managers that have won the award previously there really isn’t a clear-cut winner.  I feel the Showalter did the most with the least and will walk away a four-time Manager of the Year.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Joe Maddon, Cubs: Last year’s Manager of the Year, Maddon is up for the award again with the job he did with the Cubs.  Now you can say that it is easy to manage a team to a World Series title when you are considered the favorite entering the season.  I feel that it is a bit harder when the expectations are so high.  Maddon managed the Cubs to 103 victories and of course the first title for the team in 108 years.  Maddon is also a three-time winner of this award.

Dusty Baker, Nationals: A team that fell a bit short of expectations but had all the tools in place was the Nationals.  Baker took over Washington and led them to the playoffs after missing out in 2015.  They fell short of their goal losing in the NLDS in five games, but overall the season should be considered a success.  Baker has three Manager of the Year titles to his credit already.

Dave Roberts, Dodgers: Roberts is a first year manager and took the Dodgers over from Don Mattingly.  He inherited a very good team that made the playoffs in 2015 so it wasn’t as if he had to start from the basement.  The Dodgers had their share of injuries including a lengthy disabled list stint for Clayton Kershaw which can be devistating.  Even with that, Roberts led the Dodgers to their fourth consecutive National Leage West title and made it all the way to the NLCS.

Prediction: This one isn’t easy to predict either.  All three teams had terrific years, but I think Dave Roberts holds the advantage as a first year manager.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com