Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Joe Maddon Should Not Win Manager Of The Year

I know that AL Manager of the Year was pretty much decided back in June/July when the Rays beat everyone's expectations and had their first winning season ever. All the credit went to Joe Maddon. Nevermind that he was working with a significantly improved roster, and had players who finally lived up to expectations, instead of under performing like they had previous years.

Ron Gardenhire is simply a more deserving manager. I certainly criticize Gardy's in-game management, but his ability to motivate players is simply superior to all others. Plus, it's hard to ignore all the times he does make the right personnel decisions. Take tonight's key matchup with the White Sox.

Joe Christenson if the Strib wrote before the game, "The DH decision likely comes down to Jason Kubel vs. Michael Cuddyer. Kubel is 2-for-21 (.095) against Vazquez, and Cuddyer is 12-for-35 (.343) with two homers and six RBI."

Who did Gardy go with? Kubel. Who was the key player of the game, with 2 HR and a triple? Kubel.

I don't know how he did it, but he made the right decision. And that's the key to a great manager.

Throw in the fact that the Twins have outperformed expectations (just like the Rays) but have done so after losing the best pitcher in baseball and one of the best center fielders. The Rays didn't lose talent after last year. The Twins did. They also lost their most important right-handed hitter for a good chunk of the season, had their starting 2b go down with an injury for a while, lost their best set-up guy for the season, and cut their opening day pitcher and third baseman. Oh, and the Twins are the youngest team in baseball.

I'm not the man's biggest fan, but there's just no way that Gardy shouldn't be Manager of the Year.

You stated your case time and again
I thought about it


Mike said...

Sure, why not? It's just Manager of the Year. I never pay much attention to the awards anyway. So I'll concede it... IF the Twins make the playoffs.

Kendrick Novak said...

I'm pretty sure he went with Kubel because Cuddyer still can't run that well.

brendan said...

I have to disagree, I think Gardy should be 2nd, but Joe Maddon had taken a franchise that has never done a thing and won the division (beating two teams that spend 5 4 times as much money) You say Rays players have finally lived up to expectations, I would argue the manager often has something to do with that. The Rays have dealt with injuries, too. Crawford and Baldelli missed most of the year, Longoria missed a month, they lost their closer for an extended period of time. I'll give Gardy a lot of credit this year, despite a lot of problems I have with him, I just think winning the east (with a very impressie record) is more impressive than potentially winning the central with a mediocre one.

Quinn said...

I agree with you, Matt, and with what Brendan says. Sports reporting (journalism?) is too sensationalistic, leading to jumping all over bandwagons - look how quickly people were abandoning the Rays' ship a little after mid-year when they lost 1st place to the Sox. Gardenhire has been consistent.

Having said that, doing what the Rays did without Baldelli, Crawford, and to some extent, Longoria, is pretty phenomenal, and in the AL East, to boot! Toughest division in baseball, hands down.

Both have good cases, but Maddon's done more with historically less (poor syntax, but I hope that makes sense). Here's one left-coaster rooting for the Twins, though!

Matthew B. Novak said...

I don't think franchise history can really be relevant to the discussion, but if we want to bring in history, why not a manager's history as well? Gardy hasn't ever gotten the award. He's due. Maddon needs to put in his time.

Your point about the divisions is taken, Brendan, but in years when the Central was the toughest Gardy still didn't win. I think if the Rays had been projected to be mediocre (like they probably should have been, people gave the Yankees far too much credit coming into the year) Maddon's accomplishments would be far less impressive.

Quinn said...

Good points, again. I must say that I always tend to see the Twins as "the little engine that could"...I don't know if this is what Minnesotans like to believe, in order to make accomplishments seem better than they are, but I always got that vibe.

Even so, I've always felt that the Twins get more out of their players than most any other franchise, and on a consistent basis.

Sports folk, I gather, don't like to reward consistency too often. Sure, there are iron man records and the like, but in NASCAR, for instance, a few years ago I think it was Newman who won the Nextel Cup Series after only having one one or two races the whole year. He had the most points, though, because he finished most consistently in the top 10. After that year, pundits claimed that an inherent flaw in the system allowed that to happen...thus our 10 race "championship" these days.

The Twins just aren't flashy enough to catch people's attention...not a bad thing, just not a fantastic, reward-earning thing in this case.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Quinn -

I almost deleted your comment for talking about NASCAR as a sport. You've been warned. Don't do it again.

Quinn said...

Very fair. To be quite frank, I didn't intend on referring to NASCAR as sport, just an example. Damn shame I've made of myself.

/hanging my head

Jeff said...

Here's the thing - Gardenhire started the season with proven stars (Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer). Who in the Rays' dugout had you heard of before this year? I had heard of a lot of them from the occasional Durham Bulls game, but I don't think that counts. Gardenhire did a great job with a young bunch of overachievers, but Maddon has done more with less.