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Terry Francona of the Cleveland Guardians and Buck Showalter of the New York Mets took home top honors in the Manager of the Year voting announced on Tuesday.
Francona beat out Brandon Hyde of the Baltimore Orioles and Scott Servais of the Seattle Mariners for the American League award. It’s the third time he’s been named Manager of the Year with the Guardians (2013, 2016).
Francona received 17 of 30 first-place votes and 112 total points. Hyde, who led the Orioles to a surprise 83-79 record, finished second with 79 points (nine first-place votes). Servais finished third thanks to his second- and third-place votes that gave him 43 points.
Houston Astros skipper Dusty Baker finished ahead of Servais in first-place votes (three to one), but he was only named on a total of 13 ballots. Servais was named on 23 ballots.
The steady hand of Francona, as well as breakout seasons for some of those young players, resulted in Cleveland winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. Andrés Giménez and Emmanuel Clase joined veteran superstar José Ramírez as All-Stars this year.
Steven Kwan finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting and won the AL Gold Glove award for his contributions in left field.
The Guardians’ young roster included 16 rookies who made their big-league debut in 2022. Despite all of their inexperience, they rarely looked overmatched on the field. Their season came to an end with a five-game loss to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series.
Guardians of The Land @OurCLEGuardians
Francona led MLB’s youngest team to 92 wins and the ALCS. He did it by investing/believing in his players and adapting his team’s play style to his roster’s strengths. He has already had a HOF career, but it may be his best managerial work yet.
He should win Manager of the Year.
Francona did start talking about the end of his managerial career because of a series of health issues that kept him out of the dugout for most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
“When the day comes that losses don’t affect you,” Francona told reporters shortly after Cleveland’s season ended, “then it’s probably time to hang it up. I’m not there.”
The Guardians’ success in 2022 and potential to keep improving next season appears to have given Francona a new lease on things. The AL’s best manager will look to get his team over the hump in 2023.
Showalter joins Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox as the only managers in MLB history to win Manager of the Year four different times. He previously won in 1994 with the New York Yankees, in 2004 with the Texas Rangers and in 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles.
New York Mets @Mets
Your 2022 NL Manager of the Year! 👏 pic.twitter.com/d8Yvst8C9f
SNY Mets @SNY_Mets
The first manager to win the award in 4 separate decades. The first Mets manager to win the award.
Congrats to Buck Showalter on being named 2022 NL Manager of the Year! 👏 pic.twitter.com/8eyvyctIWo
Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers were the other finalists from the senior circuit. All three managers came from teams that won at least 101 games during the regular season.
Voting was incredibly tight, with each of the top three finishers receiving at least seven first-place votes. Showalter pulled ahead with 10 second-place votes and seven third-place votes.
Roberts only had nine total second- and third-place votes. Snitker received five votes each for second and third place, but he had to settle for third place overall because Roberts had one more first-place vote (eight to seven).
Mark Feinsand @Feinsand
Buck Showalter wins his first NL Manager of the Year award to go along with his three from the AL. As in the AL, no manager appeared on all 30 ballots. The full vote: pic.twitter.com/AVPVP7X5fb
This is the first time a Mets manager has ever been honored as the NL’s top skipper.
As has been the case throughout his managerial career, Showalter immediately stepped in and turned around a franchise lacking a consistent organizational vision. He’s only had eight losing seasons in 21 years as a manager.
“He loves to point out other teams messing up, I’ll tell you that,” Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt told The Athletic’s Andy McCullough and Ken Rosenthal in May. “It’s everything—rundowns, cutoffs, relays, everything. He’s like, ‘Listen, this wins and loses you ballgames. This is how we’re going to do it. We’re going to do it the right way.’ Not always the easiest way. But he wants you busting your butt and doing everything the right way.”
Showalter got the Mets to do things the right way. They were starting from a position of power with the highest payroll in MLB after signing Max Scherzer and Starling Marte.
But Mets fans saw in 2021 what can happen when there is a lack of direction and organizational philosophy when the team collapsed in the second half of 2021 under Luis Rojas.
Things got so bad at one point in 2021 that Mets players were mocking the home fans for how they reacted to the team’s struggles.
With Showalter at the helm and better injury luck, the Mets led the NL East for most of the season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Even though New York’s season came to an early end with a loss to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card series, Showalter’s managerial expertise and owner Steve Cohen’s deep pockets are going to keep the franchise close to the top of the NL standings in 2023 and beyond.