Manager of the Year is an award that generally gets forgotten about by the larger public if your team didn’t make the playoffs. It’s just not as flashy as a Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, or MVP award, but it’s just as important. That’s why teams are so frantic to find a great one. Managers and Head Coaches in all sports are constantly being fired or replaced for younger minds and fresh ideas. It’s definitely not the most secure of jobs, that’s for sure. If your team is lucky enough to have your captain of the ship nominated, then you understand the importance of having an outside the box thinker.
Not to take away from the impressive season that Bob Melvin, announced winner of the AL Manager of the Year award, and the A’s had. To take a team with that low of a payroll to 97 wins and a playoff berth is truly impressive, but it’s something we’ve seen done similarly before. We’ve seen teams with low payrolls have unexpected seasons and have a chance at a playoff run. Give me something new!
Again, this isn’t to take away from how great of a job Bob Melvin did this year, but Kevin Cash changed the game of baseball so immediately that even Bob Melvin adopted Kevin Cash’s strategy to help him win.
You see Kevin Cash deserved to win the AL Manager of the Year award because he changed the way the game is played. Love it or hate it, Kevin Cash and The Rays were the first team to incorporate “Openers” in their game strategy. If you don’t know, an “opener” is a pitcher who will come out for an inning or two to begin a ball game before switching to a long relief pitcher, or modified starter if you will. This new strategy brought so much success to the Rays that other teams around the league started to adopt it in that same season! In fact, the A’s used an “opener” for their Wild Card game against the Yankees. Bob Melvin should be thanking Kevin Cash for that idea.
The Brewers could also thank a small part of their end of season and postseason run to Kevin Cash and the concept of an “opener”. Although their version was more of a modified starter, they still only had their starting pitcher pitch into the sixth inning a handful of times since the beginning of September. I could seriously count the amount of times on one hand.
If changing the way the game is strategized isn’t enough to convince you that Kevin Cash should’ve been the AL Manager of the Year, keep in mind that the A’s made immediate additions to their team for a playoff run aiding Melvin and the A’s to 97 wins. The Rays on the other hand subtracted from their immediate roster by trading away established players for future talent and still managed to win 90 games in a division that had the WS winning Red Sox (108 wins) and the NY Yankees (100 wins).
Hopefully, the Rays don’t get cheated out of another award and Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young tonight at 6 p.m ET on MLB Network.
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