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Thursday, November 10, 2005

BTF Awards - 2005 NL Manager of the Year

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox is the BTF 2005 Manager of the Year, garnering 14 of 19 possible first place votes, 2 second place tallies, and 2 thirds (78 points total.)  The naked partisan who left Cox off of his ballot entirely is in the process of being dragged into the street and shot.

Cox managed the Braves to their 14th consecutive division title, scraping together a winning club with much of what projected to be the starting lineup of AAA Richmond.  Patching lineups together from a collection of 18 rookies Cox once again led Atlanta to their now-routine post-season appearance.  Cox is a lot like Joss Whedon.  Both lull you to sleep with their casual genius.  Their brilliance often becomes routine.  After two or three seasons you almost forget you’re watching genius at all, until they throw a Once More With Feeling, or a Jaynestown, or Jorge Sosa’s 2005 at you, just to remind you of their superiority.

Houston’s Phil Garner came in a distant second with 46 points, including 3 first place votes.  Garner managed the Astros to their second consecutive wild card berth, culminating with the franchise’ first National League Championship pennant.  Garner’s Astros featured the leagues preeminent rotation, including three Cy Young mentionables, as well as one of the league’s most dominant bullpens.  Garner’s leadership guided Houston through injury plagued seasons by franchise-face Jeff Bagwell and offensive powerhouse Lance Berkman while working standout rookie Willy Tavares into the everyday lineup.

St. Louis skipper Tony LaRussa was the only other candidate to receive first place votes.  His total of 21 points landed him third in the voting.  LaRussa’s Cardinals battled through the loss of star third baseman Scott Rolen and a series of injuries to outfielder Larry Walker to once again take the NL Central crown, further cementing his eventual plaque in Cooperstown.

Washington’s Frank Robinson came in fourth (15 points) after keeping the Nationals in solid contention for a playoff spot well into August.  Milwaukee’s Ned Yost was fifth in the voting, receiving accolades for the Brewers slow but steady transformation into a real major league baseball team.  Rounding out the ballot was Philadelphia’s Charlie Manuel who tallied 3 points from a sole third place vote.  Manuel was best known for not being Larry Bowa.


RK     Player       PTS Bal   1 2 3
————————————————————————————————————————
1     Cox, Bobby     78   18 14 2 2                      
————————————————————————————————————————
2     Garner, Phil     46   16   3 9 4                      
3     LaRussa, Tony   21   9   2 2 5                      
4     Robinson, Frank   15   9     3 6                      
5     Yost, Ned       8   4     2 2                      
6     Manuel, Charlie   3   1     1                        
Ballots Cast: 19

Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: November 10, 2005 at 03:30 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. sunnyday2 Posted: November 10, 2005 at 03:53 PM (#1726235)
>Houston’s Phil Garner came in a distant second with 46 points, including 3 first place votes.

I assume the voting came before the playoffs.
   2. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:04 PM (#1726255)
Voting occurred during the WS, as I recall the timing correctly. I don't think the playoffs had much impact on people's voting.

Also, Cox outmanaged Garner in the NLDS, for the record.
   3. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:10 PM (#1726262)
Sure he did.
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:18 PM (#1726268)
Let me start by saying this is a well deserved award for Cox. He did an outstanding job blending all the new faces in and juggling his lineup and keeping his team focused.
We hear about these 18 rookies and that is a startling number. But if you look at the numbers (summed in my head), there were 2+ positions worth of Plate Appearances (~1400) and a 5th starter + reliever number of innings pitched (~240). It's not like there were 5 rookies playing every inning of every day. And it is a particulary fertile time for the ATL pipeline. We've been hearing about some of these guys (Betemit, Johnson, Langerhans) for years now and some of the others are very good prospects, such as McCann and Francoeur. Oh, and that 3B guy, he's supposed to be good too.
And it's not like there isn't a core of players to stabilize around, Jones, Giles and Furcal and Larry when healthy. And the front-end horses of Hudson and Smoltz are pretty outstanding too.
I guess what I'm saying is that Cox didn't perform a miracle, which is what I think I hear all the time. He did a great (forget)ing job but a lot of those rookies were pretty d*** good and ready to play in the majors.
I think that Schuerholz (Sp?) should get a lifetime achievement award for Executiving. HOF for him some day?
   5. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:18 PM (#1726269)
Also, Cox outmanaged Garner in the NLDS, for the record.

Yeah, too bad he couldn't get Ausmus's obvious homer changed to a double or something. *ducks*
   6. Guapo Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:23 PM (#1726272)
I'm surprised there's no love for Bob Melvin. 25 game improvement to 77-85 (with a 66-96 pythagorean record)... OK, that's not necessarily a reflection of managerial skill, but keeping that team on the fringes of contention was quite a feat.
   7. Guapo Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:25 PM (#1726273)
Oh, incidentally- anyone who voted for Frank Robinson- you're insane.
   8. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:27 PM (#1726279)
I guess what I'm saying is that Cox didn't perform a miracle, which is what I think I hear all the time. He did a great (forget)ing job but a lot of those rookies were pretty d*** good and ready to play in the majors.

Aside from Betemit and maybe Blaine Boyer, I can't think of a single rookie that performed "as expected." Maybe Langerhans. Kelly Johnson wasn't on the radar of potential outfielders in April. (Billy McCarthy was.) Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur were doing yoeman's work at AA Mississippi until they arrived in Cox' clubhouse. And really, that doesn't even begine to descirbe the surprise of Jorge Sosa and Roman Colon.

As for Ausmus's double, it's clear the league wanted Houston to win.
   9. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 10, 2005 at 04:36 PM (#1726290)
As for Ausmus's double, it's clear the league wanted Houston to win.

You have to look at the big picture, Mr. Hutcheson; they needed a patsy that would roll over for the large-market AL team.
   10. _ Posted: November 10, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1726583)
Do you actually send Cox something for this? A MBS t-shirt? A bronze Primer chimp? Maybe a thong?
   11. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: November 10, 2005 at 08:25 PM (#1726701)
Do you actually send Cox something for this? A MBS t-shirt? A bronze Primer chimp? Maybe a thong?

Brilliant! I shall send him a Baseball Primer t-shirt and request that he wear it in public.
   12. WillYoung Posted: November 10, 2005 at 11:22 PM (#1726994)
I don't understand how just three other people could vote for Ned Yost.
   13. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: November 10, 2005 at 11:33 PM (#1727019)
I think it's the Milwaukee radar issue. I.E., they're not on anyone's. I mean, I didn't think about Yost until after the voting was done (and I saw the other ballots.) I would have replaced my "not Larry Bowa" vote with him if there were do-overs.
   14. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 11, 2005 at 02:25 AM (#1727299)
Oh, incidentally- anyone who voted for Frank Robinson- you're insane.

Well, the Nationals were in the WC race until September, and I don't know that anyone expected that going into the season. They did it while juggling the roster all season trying to find a bullpen and a middle infield - Washington used 55 players, more than anyone else in the majors. The manager deserves *some* credit for that, wouldn't you think?

-- MWE
   15. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 11, 2005 at 02:27 AM (#1727304)
I should read my own stuff occasionally before posting it. The Nats did have a bullpen at the back end, of course - Cordero was brilliant, and Majewski was a capable setup guy - but getting to the back end was a problem all season.

-- MWE
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 11, 2005 at 02:57 AM (#1727345)
Mike I disagree, I thought the bullpen was great top to bottom, all year, I got out to about 15 games, I saw them a fair amount.

It seemed like whoever he stuck in there was great, Ayala, Carrasco, Eischen. I thought it was the best bullpen in baseball, except for maybe Houston's (but that's just from observation, I didn't look at everyone systematically). Even Stanton pitched well. There were no issues with anyone who had significant innings out of that bullpen all season.

The only issues with the pitching were the back of the rotation, which struggled at times.

They had a ton of injuries. He was given the craptasic left-side of the infield of Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman by his GM. Vidro and Johnson missed 106 combined games.

He had some issues, like not benching Castilla the minute Zimmerman was called up. He overworked Livan (I know he's a horse, but Robinson took it too far, especially considering how fantastic the bullpen was). But overall, I thought he did a great job this year.
   17. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 11, 2005 at 03:02 AM (#1727352)
Oh another overwork story on Frank - Patterson hadn't been off the DL 2 or 3 weeks with a back injury and there was a 2-hour rain delay in like the 3rd inning (going from memory here). Patterson had to go into a full warmup again, long-toss in the outfield, the whole thing. But he came back out and threw another 3 innings, I believe the total for the day was 6 innings, 106 pitches, or something to that effect. I don't know how he pitched after that, but that's not a risk I would have taken.
   18. Guapo Posted: November 11, 2005 at 06:05 PM (#1727854)
Mike and Joe,

"insane" was a little strong- engaging in a little internet hyperbole. I agree with Joe- I thought the bullpen was a strength. I would give Robinson credit for the way he handled the bullpen- he doesn't reflexively change pitchers in an obsessive quest to get the platoon advantage, he did a pretty good job of defning roles. I was worried he was overworking Cordero, but they were in so many close games his hands were tied a bit.

As for the rotation, I have two pet peeves. One was overconfidence in Livan. I have new respect for Livan- having an inning-eater like him in the rotation is incredibly value. But I felt like there were a number of occasions where Frank left him in to try and get out of jams in late innings when he was gassed, which was frustrating.

Second was the back of the rotation. Robinson didn't get along with Ohka or Day, leading to their exodus and (at least indirectly) to the shorthanded rotation by the end of the year. It's hard to know who to blame in this situation- maybe Ohka and Day are just jerks and there was no way Robinson could have worked with them. But you have to wonder if Robinson was at least part of the problem.

My real issue with Frank (leading to the insane comment) was the way the offense was handled. Check out that 45 SB, 45 CS ratio. All the bunts, even in the early innings, for a team that didn't need to be giving up outs. Jamey Carroll batting second. Ryan Church, who finished with the team's 2nd highest OPS+, buried in the second half.

I think the world of Frank Robinson- one of the true great personalities in the game's history. I don't think he was a very good manager last year.
   19. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 11, 2005 at 06:18 PM (#1727879)
Ryan Church, who finished with the team's 2nd highest OPS+, buried in the second half.
Wasn't Church hurt most of the 2nd half?
   20. Guapo Posted: November 11, 2005 at 06:31 PM (#1727910)
Church was on the DL from June 23 to July 14 and August 25 to September 10.

Here's his gamelog:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?playerId=6078
   21. Brickman Posted: November 13, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1729889)
Cox deserved this without a doubt. He won with a bunch of rookies, an OK rotation and a terrible bullpen. They had three different closers through the season(Kolb,Reitsma and Farnsworth).

Hudson, Thomson and Chipper all missed some time and Hampton basically missed the whole year. Kolb was terrible. Jordan and Mondesi were as bad as we all thought they would be. LaRoche was the worst everyday 1B in all of baseball offensively. Estrada didn't even come close to repeating his 2004 performance. Credit has to go to the Braves' player development people as well but Cox always seems to get his teams to come together around the end of June.

October?...well that is another story.
   22. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: November 14, 2005 at 05:02 PM (#1730913)
If I had a vote, my first 2 votes would go to the manager(s) who had a perceived "weak" team either in the race or winning the division. A guy like Yost would be a good 3rd place vote, but probably not in the top 2.

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