Manager of the Year, Part Two

Manager of the Year, Part Two

Twins

Manager of the Year, Part Two

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In the wee hours of the morning, Ryan posted how preposterous it was that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire got a first-place vote for Manager of the Year. This is mostly going to be devil’s advocate, because I can. I really believe that Gardy should’ve gotten second-place votes, but the {Devil} Rays’ Joe Maddon truly deserved the award he won. That said.

Maddon was a surprise to many people, but looking at his roster, there were many hints to a great team. The trade for a reportedly solid shortstop (Jason Bartlett) and a known excellent, if emotionally-challenged, pitcher (Matt Garza). A lad whom was so well-trusted to be awesome he was given a six-year contract after six days in the major leagues–the contract covers all his arbitration years, and the team has options on his first three years of free agency. This is something that’s only done with special players. Beyond that, they had some established players in Carl Crawford and Scott Kazmir. And, of course, they had Cliff Floyd. They weren’t a contending team simply because they were in the same division as the Yankees and the Red Sox, and of course they were going to win. No one looked at the Rays simply because the Rays were never competitive before.

Ron Gardenhire also brought a team wrought with youth, with a few trades made, losing a Cy Young caliber pitcher (Johan Santana) a reportedly solid shortstop (Barlett) and excellent, if emotionally-challenged, starting pitcher (Garza), while gaining two outfielders (Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez) neither of whom produced the full season (Young starting slow and picking up, Gomez starting fast and cooling off) and was slow to start hitting at all, and an adorable, but not really superb infielder (Brendan Harris). Gardy also lost the man who was supposed to be the starting shortstop (free agent Adam Everett) and the power-hitting third baseman (Mike Lamb) to injuries for more-or-less the entire year. And when they did play, their performance was much lower than expected. In a division where the Tigers were supposed to be insanely dominating, and the Indians were knocking on their door, the Twins weren’t supposed to compete. In fact, some assumed they’d be fighting with Kansas City for fourth place. (As it turns out, Kansas City won the fight for fourth place, except the fight was with the Detroit Tigers, not the Twins or even the White Sox, as some predicted). He faced having two of his better-performing starters (Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey) on the DL for

In short, both managers took fourth-place teams, and were competitive all year. The Twins were one Ji…Jim Thome home run away from being the first-place team in their division as well. That’s what pushes Maddon clearly over the edge as the manager of the year.

Was it preposterous to give Gardy a first-place vote over Maddon? Definitely. But that’s not to say that Gardy did not deserve accolades for what he did. Yet another year puts him in second place as the manager of the year.

Timberwolves update: The Timberwolves are 1-6 (14.3 win %), and there are two teams who are 1-7 (12.5 win %). Yes, folks, the L.A. Clippers have won a game! The new Oklahoma formerly-Sonic are the other 1-7 team. Washington Whatever is 1-5 (16.7 win %), so they’re aiming low, too!

Wild update: Marian Gaborik is still injured and there’s no update on his trade versus contract status. And Mikko Koivu! is still Captain.

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