Next up: Managers of the Year

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They’ll be announcing both AL and NL Manager of the Year today.  Let’s break it down scientifically:

One look at MLB.com’s rundown of the candidates shows you who’s gonna win this thing in the American League. It’s all Mike Scioscia, folks.  The reasoning kind of goes like this:  “Nice season, Ron Gardenhire. You showed great patience in coming back from so many games down so late in the season. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”

Or:

“Way to turn traditional weaknesses into strengths, Ron Washington.  The fact that Texas had great pitching and played great defense and hung around that race so much longer than anyone expected is a testament to your leadership. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”

You sorta see where this one is heading.  Lots of good jobs posted by AL Managers this year. Only one did a good job while leading his team through a potentially debilitating tragedy like the death of Nick Adenhart.  A manager doesn’t control nearly as many things as people think, but he does ensure that his team is mentally prepared to play each night, and Mike Scioscia did that in 2009, and he did it in tougher circumstances than the other guys.  It’s his award, and a it’s a well-deserved one.

The NL doesn’t have anything quite so dramatic, but almost as decisive as the “you win the award WHEN ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS IS TRAGICALLY KILLED” rule is the “you win the award when you took over for a guy who had the team floundering after 46 games and led the team on a red-hot tear the rest of the season” rule.

Let’s see, who fits that description this year? Oh, only Jim Tracy, and to expect anyone else to have a chance at it is pure folly.  Torre, La Russa and Cox can compete for the gold watch award next season. This season it’s the man who brought the Rockies back from the dead.

Awards will be announced at 1:30ish.

Reds’ manager Bryan Price extended through 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 28: Manager Bryan Price #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 28, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.

This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.

Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.

From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.

I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.

Dusty Baker calls the Nationals “a baby making team.” Whatever that means.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 31: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Washington Nationals looks on before the start of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 31, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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When the Nationals fired Matt Williams a year ago, it might’ve been a safe assumption that they were going to go with that new breed of young, handsome recently-retired player-turned-manager who, despite a lack of experience, allegedly knows how to deal with modern players better and knows how to handle a clubhouse. Those assumptions have proved largely off with these guys — Williams was a disaster, Matheny wins despite himself and Ausmus looks like he’s perpetually on the verge of a breakdown — but that’s the all the rage these days anyway.

Instead, the Nats hired Dusty Baker. Though Baker had tremendous success as a manager everywhere he went, he was maligned by some for some pitcher handling stuff in Chicago (which said pitchers have long denied was an issue, but let’s let that lie). He was also, more generally, thought of as a “retread.” Which is what people who prefer younger folks for jobs tend to call older people, even if the older people know what they’re doing.

And yes, I will cop to thinking about managers that way a lot over the years, so I’m not absolving myself at all here, even if I was pretty OK with the Dusty Baker hiring. I’ve evolved on this point. In no small part because of how Dusty Baker has done in Washington. Flash forward a year, the Nats are division champions and Baker may be a top candidate for Manager of the Year. That, in and of itself, should show you how wrong the haters were.

But if it doesn’t, this sure should:

I have no earthly idea what that means and Castillo gives no further context. All I know is that it sounds cool as hell and of any current manager, only Dusty Baker could say that and pull it off.

Because he’s Dusty Baker and has nothing to prove to you. And if you don’t like it, shoot, he’ll just go back home to his winery or whatever and live out the rest of his days being cooler than you.