Of all the awards given out in baseball, there isn’t one that is harder to quantify than Manager of the Year.
What does that mean? Does that mean the winner is an excellent major league manager?
Jeff Banister won the award in 2015. He was fired in 2018. Did he somehow lose all his baseball acumen in three seasons?
Kevin Cash won it in the American League this year. Why? His game plan is dictated to him by the analytics department before each game and he executes it. Where is the actual managing?
We saw his managing brilliance on full display when he handed Game 6, and the World Series, to the Dodgers for his foolish decision-making skills that led him to pull Blake Snell when he was dominating.
Why did he do that? Why would any manager do that? Because he’s not a manager. He’s a waiter. He delivers the order.
This is no indictment against Cash. He simply represents the new thinking in baseball. Most managers today are hired without having any experience in the job at all. Not even in the minor leagues.
So, what does that tell you about how front offices value the role of manager when it’s a job that needs no experience? Like a dishwasher. Or a fry cook. Or a paperboy. Or a major league manager.
Take a look at the Rangers manager. Is Chris Woodward good at his job? How would anyone know? He has no talent to work with. Is a manager good if he takes a last place team and guides them to last place?
Johnny Oates was one of the most successful and accomplished managers the Rangers ever had. In seven years as a Rangers manager, his team finished last two seasons and second-to-last two seasons. In between that, they finished first three times. So, was he a horrible manager for four years but somehow a genius for three?
You are good when you have a good team and bad when you have a bad team.
It’s always been that way. Only now, what a manager does has so little to do with the outcome of the game that the award doesn’t mean much.
So, congratulations of Kevin Cash. You filled the order exactly as told. The question is, how much do you tip him?