Joe Girardi has lifted the New York Yankees back from adversity on numerous occasions, effectively earning him AL Manager of the Year consideration.
The “Manager of the Year” award is actually extremely similar to the “Most Valuable Player” award.
It is not awarded to the best manager in the game, yet the most deserving. It is awarded for results rather than sheer track record. It is determined based on which manager extracted the most out of his team. In other words, the most valuable manager.
The AL and NL Manager of the Year awards differ from the MVP award in that there are typically no discrepancies in the process. Each and every year, the correct men are honored.
Far too often, the “best player” is tossed the MVP award. Never does a “well-known manager” earn the coveted hardware.
This year, the American League choice is completely obvious. For the first time in quite some time, the system will be put to the test. It is merely a matter of making the correct call rather than the safe call.
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Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees should be honored with his second career Manager of the Year award here in 2016. When, in fact, he does earn it, there should be no questions asked.
For one second, forget the Yankees’ payroll, the organization’s winning tradition, and, ultimately, the dislike of the “Evil Empire” throughout the game. With all that has gone down this year, New York has no business being a .500 team, let alone a playoff contender — the Yankees are currently two games back of a Wild Card spot.
Every step of the way, Girardi has been able to squeeze the best baseball out of a team with little to no expectations, all while being under the microscope of the New York media.
The distractions, the overreactions, and the numerous speculations. You name it, Girardi has worked through it, consistently providing two contrasting Yankee teams with a basis of sustained relevancy until the time was right to take baseball by storm.
Simply put, the skipper has done everything in his power to propel his team to a nine-games-over clip. Fighting tooth and nail on a daily basis, he has defied all odds that were placed against the Bronx Bombers from the get-go.
From losing two top bullpen arms — Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman — that were supposed to slam the door for six months, to watching his best offensive player — Carlos Beltran — pack his bags. From dealing with the unneeded sideshow of Mark Teixeira’s impending retirement to staving off the blasphemous allegations that came with Alex Rodriguez’s demise and eventual release.
Joe Girardi has been through it all in 2016.
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Yet, managing a team that has been outscored by seven runs (605-612), he has induced a more than respectable 76-67 clip. As a basis for comparison, MLB.com’s current expected win-loss record (X_WL) for New York is 70-72, a more feasible mark if the team was to hire an average Joe.
Fortunately for New York, this is no average Joe. In fact, this is a Joe who breathes excellence.
Sure, there are other deserving candidates throughout the American League.
Terry Francona has transformed an Indians team destined for mediocrity and shifted them into a pennant contender. The Tribe now possesses the second-best record in the AL.
Buck Showalter has led the Orioles to a potentially postseason-bound campaign despite a comically horrendous starting rotation.
All of this needs to be kept in mind.
However, did those two do it under the bright lights in New York? Did they do it under the microscope, a figurative tool in which each uttered word can dimish you? Have those two had to manage two teams, leading the latter squad — which is filled with youth and rebuild-driven talent — into contention?
No, absolutely not.
Say what you want about Joe Girardi, but this man is a genius when it comes to the book. He utilizes the resources available to him in today’s game and flips it on oppositions. He fortifies a team when fortification is the last priority.
Too many times has he done it in the past, the most recent example being 2013 when he led a team catalyzed by the likes Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, and Jayson Nix to an 85-win output.
In past years, there we better candidates — as unfortunate as it was. This year, he is the candidate.
Without Joe Girardi, the New York Yankees are dead in the water. Fact.
Do not sell him short.