Ned Yost guided the long-suffering Kansas City Royals to the World Series this year, but he still didn't win American League Manager of the Year.
Instead, that honor went to Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Can you tell the voting was done after the conclusion of the regular season, but before the playoffs?
Based upon the regular season, Showalter deserved the award. His Orioles won 96 games, an 11-game improvement over 2013, and captured the AL East title. Until Baltimore got swept in the ALCS by the Royals, it had not lost four consecutive games since May, nor had it dropped consecutive home games since June 28-29.
Avoiding long losing streaks is a good way to win a division, and that kind of consistency always reflects well on a manager. In addition, the Orioles were without catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado for long stretches of the season, and first baseman Chris Davis was a combination of bad and suspended throughout the year. Baltimore overcame all that and won its division going away.
Showalter was rewarded by receiving 25 of the 30 first-place votes on the Manager of the Year ballot. He finished with 132 points, ahead of Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels, who had four first-place votes and 61 points. Yost finished third with 41 points.
On the National League side, Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals joined Houston's Hal Lanier (1986), San Francisco's Dusty Baker (1993)
and Florida's Joe Girardi (2006) as the only men to win Manager of the Year in their first
seasons as a major league manager.
I thought Williams inexperience showed in a four-game NLDS loss to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Some of his pitching moves didn't make much sense to me, but again, this award is based upon the regular season.
You'd have to say Williams did as good a job as any NL manager during the regular season. He guided the Nationals to a league-best 96 wins, and his club destroyed the NL East, winning the division by 17 games.
Williams received 18 first-place votes and totaled 109 points in the balloting. Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle, the 2013 NL winner, garnered eight first-place votes and finished second with 80 points. San Francisco's Bruce Bochy was third, collecting three first-place votes and 30 points.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
|Bruce "Cy" Chen|
The loathing of Chen is understandable: The veteran soft-tosser has gone 7-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) against the Sox over the last three seasons. Thinking back, it's a wonder he ever lost two games. He always seems to pitch well against Chicago.
So, when Chen hit free agency this offseason, I was dearly hoping he would sign somewhere in the National League.
He's back with a Royals, agreeing to terms Saturday on a one-year deal with worth $4.25 million.
All things considered, Chen isn't a bad option for the Royals or any other team at the back end of the rotation. Over the last three seasons, he's 32-26 overall with 4.18 ERA. Not great, but not terrible either. It just seems like the Sox have more than done their part to make sure the 36-year-old Chen hangs around baseball for another year or two.
If there's one silver lining about Chen being back in Kansas City, there's always the chance he'll lose his spot in the Royals' increasingly crowded rotation. Barring injury, James Shields, Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie will take up the top three spots. The remaining two spots in the rotation could be filled any number of guys, including Chen, veterans Wade Davis and Brad Penny and youngsters Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Kyle Zimmer.
Among that group, Chen is far from the most talented, but I'm sure quite a few Sox fans would rather take their chances against Ventura, Duffy or anybody else.
Unfortunately, Kansas City manager Ned Yost says Chen has a spot in the starting five. I'm afraid the Sox are stuck facing him, at least at the start of the year.