Terry Francona of the Cleveland Guardians is once again up for Manager of the Year.
It can’t be stressed just how vital the Cleveland Guardians’ run in 2022 was predicated on Terry Francona managing the team. The club wasn’t too dissimilar from the 2021 team, some guys were healthier, sure and the inclusion of Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez certainly helped but the team still had the same issues.
A lack of home run threats and inconsistency from key players. The big difference was that Demarlo Hale managed two-plus months of action due to health issues facing Francona. Hale went 31-34 (unofficially) as manager, and the Guardians finished 80-82 on the season.
Keeping all that in mind, it’s fair to say that had Francona been healthy enough to manage, the team would’ve done much better. Why? Because Francona’s always able to get the most out of his team once July and August roll around. It’s kind of what he’s become known as. He’s the Second-half Savant.
To basically turn around a season from ’21 to ’22 with just two real additions to your roster is impressive and down to great managerial decisions.
Not to mention the decisions to move on from Franmil Reyes and Bobby Bradley. Those moves helped the team in ways that aren’t quantifiable.
The Cleveland Guardians are once again matched up against the Seattle Mariners
Francona deserves the Manager of the Year award, just like Kwan deserves the Rookie of the Year award. But Francona, like Kwan, will have to battle a Seattle Mariner for the award. Mariner’s manager Scott Servais and rookie Julio Rodríguez are also up for the same awards. They’re both the two names who pose real threats to the Guardians’ post-season awards.
The Orioles are also up for the same two awards, with their manager Brandon Hyde leading the team to a surprising 83-79 record, and rookie catcher Adley Rutschman having a solid year and was a key factor in the team’s turnaround.
That said, the Guardians won the AL Central on a shoestring budget, and the Mariners made the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. So that kind of trumps the Orioles’ accomplishments, as impressive as they were in a vacuum, however.
Francona deserves the award more than Servais for the sole reason that we can literally gauge the importance of Francona to a club. We know this is a .500 team, at best, with anyone else in that seat.
Did Servais ride the way of emerging talent or is he that good as well? We don’t know the answer to that question but we know the answer to the Francona one.