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Friday, November 16, 2018

Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora Was Not Robbed in Manager of the Year Award Vote

Now that the 2018 Major League Baseball postseason has concluded, various awards have been given in a number of categories. Recently, Oakland Athletics’ skipper Bob Melvin beat out Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox for American League Manager of the Year. This has not set well with many Boston fans, who rightfully adore Cora for helping his team to this year’s World Series title. However, common sense shows that Melvin was a fine choice for this award.

First of all, Cora, who led Boston to a team-record 108 regular season victories and ultimately the Championship was a dynamic manager in his inaugural campaign, who artfully directed a big payroll team like a steamroller. He was a great candidate for the AL Manager of the Year Award, but so was Melvin.

The A’s won a surprising 97 games in a tough AL West that featured the 103- win Houston Astros and 89-win Seattle Mariners. It was a true dog fight and Oakland hung tough despite having a payroll ($86.9 million) that was nearly a third that of Boston’s ($237.4 million). Oakland obviously did a lot with much less.

As with most teams in General Manager Billy Beane’s tenure, the 2018 Athletics were a mash up of younger players and “off the heap” veterans. Although the team bashed 227 home runs, they hit just a combined .252. They were led by young rising star third baseman Matt Chapman who did his best Brooks Robinson two-way performance, and outfielder Khris Davis who seemingly does little else than hit .247 with at least 40 home runs every season—including leading the league with 48 this year.

Oakland’s pitching staff was a major plus, as they posted a collective 3.81 ERA, which placed sixth in the league. They also permitted the fourth-least walks and third-least hits. However, this was a classic patchwork job. The tam had 34 players who threw at least one pitch this season. Only three of them reached the 100 innings threshold, paced by ace Sean Manaea, who had just 160.2. His 12 wins were also the high water mark on a team and he was their only pitcher to reach double digits.

At the end of the day it’s very important for anyone contesting the results of this award that there is no exact metric that can be leaned on to help determine rightful winners. No, we can’t tell who was liked more by their players or which lineup tweaks produced the best long-lasting results. In the cases of Cora and Melvin, they each helmed extremely success teams. Yes, Cora’s quad won the World Series, but Melvin excelled on a shoestring budget. They were both worthy choices, but let’s permit Melvin to enjoy the spoils of his success and Alex Cora can assuage any negativity he may feel by re-adjusting the World Series trophy on his mantel and basking in the glow of his recent contract extension.

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