The Manager of the Year voting is the most imprecise of all the MLB awards. There are no stats for managers so it’s a complete judgment call. The majority of the time, it goes to the manager whose team overachieves and not the manager who does the best job.
Naturally it’s subjective, but the end result winds up being cannibalistic. This is a convenient comparison to make since most of the mainstream writers appear to be the evil and unwanted offspring of the C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers).
Joe Maddon deserved to win the Manager of the Year award in the American League, but had his Rays not had that searing hot streak over the last month of the season to overtake the Red Sox for the Wild Card, my pick would’ve been Joe Girardi of the Yankees.
You can see my award winners here.
Girardi did an underappreciated and fantastic job with the Yankees this season, but came in fifth.
His pitching staff was short in the starting rotation and he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild got cheap, above-and-beyond production out of veterans Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia; they nursed along a rookie, Ivan Nova; and endured A.J. Burnett without strangling him. In the bullpen, Rafael Soriano was an injured and terribly performing nuisance; and Pedro Feliciano never threw a pitch for the team.
Giradi also navigated the difficulties of a declining megastar—Alex Rodriguez; a pair of aging and record-setting stars—Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter; and a near implosive collision with an irascible borderline Hall of Fame catcher with whom Girardi always had and presumably always will have a contentious relationship, Jorge Posada.
He handled it all and brought the Yankees home at 97 wins and an unexpected division title.
Because the Yankees have a $200 million payroll, there’s little attention given to the job the manager does; he gets the blame when things go wrong and nearly no credit when things go right.
This is where the cannibalism comes in.
Because the Rays lost their entire bullpen from a year ago; Matt Garza was traded; Carlos Pena departed as a free agent; and Manny Ramirez retired early in the season, Maddon had a lot on his desk to sift through and maintain respectability. He did.
The media at large tends to judge a manager on how the team was expected to perform…in the view of the media.
So if a voting writer picks the Yankees to win the division and they do, then Girardi isn’t going to get the credit for how it was achieved.
It’s a self-appraisal that has nothing to do with the manager’s work.
And it’s not the way to vote.
But what can you expect from a C.H.U.D.?
I suggest you be happy that they don’t drool on you and hope for the best.
Below is the C.H.U.D. trailer. The movie looks pretty bad, but then, so are most mainstream writers.