World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three

Is there a bias against big market teams in Manager of the Year voting?


I couldn’t even begin to tell you whether Terry Francona was a more deserving Manager of the Year candidate than John Farrell. No one has ever explained to me some basis for comparing managers that makes choosing that award anything close to a clear or objective process. There are far more moving parts to a team’s success than there are to an individual player’s success and we struggle with picking MVPs and Cy Youngs as it is. Applying some rational basis, let alone statistical basis, to the award is probably beyond our abilities.

And, perhaps because of that, the Manager of the Year Award is way, way, way more narrative-laden than any award. Tell a compelling story and that guy is probably going to win it. Tell me: how much of Clint Hurdle winning it last night had to do with the Pirates losing for 20 straight years as opposed to simply what happened in 2013? I’d say a fair amount. Of course Clint Hurdle wasn’t around for most of that losing and factors which had the Pirates losing in, say, 1996, 1999 and 2004 had zero effect on what the Pirates did in 2013. None of which is to say that Clint Hurdle wasn’t the best manager in the NL in 2013 — I’d probably vote for him because, well, why not? — but he gets credit for stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with him because, well, it’s a good story.

Some folks in Boston aren’t really happy with the story that won Terry Francona the Manager of the Year Award over John Farrell. John Tomase of the Boston Herald is one. He argues that there’s a bias against big market/big payroll teams like the Red Sox when it comes to the Manager of the Year Award, with voters discounting the job guys like Farrell do because they have an expensive roster and are thus, somehow, expected to win.

I think there’s probably some truth to that. Looking at recent Managers of the Year and they tend to come from teams with lower payrolls and in smaller markets and in situations where they weren’t expected to do much. Surprise teams are often favored. People like those stories.

Maybe that’s a little unfair to guys like Farrell, but Tomase’s competing narrative — one that favors Farrell — is a lot less compelling to me:

He also had to win in an environment far harsher than Cleveland’s. While the Indians played to a largely empty park in relative anonymity, Farrell had his every move analyzed, dissected and eviscerated on two all-sports radio stations and two sports-only TV networks, with one of the league’s largest traveling media contingents chronicling his every move … The Boston market presented its own unique challenges. Clay Buchholz’ use of suntan lotion started a firestorm. A team that never lost more than three straight the entire season nonetheless had the panic-mongers fully frothed after a 5-9 stretch in mid-August.

In other words: Farrell’s job was tougher because, we, the fierce Boston media made it tougher for him. How impressive that he dealt with our unrelenting coverage and criticism.

I don’t suppose that’s nothing either — it is a stressful job — but I bet if you asked any manager if he’d rather deal with an annoying press corps or a meager payroll, he’d pick the annoying press corps seven days a week and twice on Sundays. Also: while media narratives are inevitable when it comes to the Manager of the Year award, how rich is it that the chosen media narrative here makes the media itself such an important part of the story?

Gonna go out on a limb here and say that John Farrell almost certainly spent ten times more thinking about the next day’s lineup and who in the bullpen needed rest than he did whether someone from the Globe, Herald or some sports talk station was going to ask him about the goop on Clay Buchholz’s arm. And that, whatever we can say about the difficulty of handing out the Manager of the Year award, we can say that there’s a lot more to it than “the role the media played.”

Tim Wallach to interview for the Rockies managerial opening

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20:  Bench coach Tim Wallach of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 20, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Joe Frisaro of reports that the Rockies have been granted permission to interview Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach about their managerial opening.

Wallach was a bench coach for Don Mattingly with both the Dodgers and Marlins. Before that he was a third base coach for L.A. and before that he managed in Triple-A where he was the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 2009 with Albuquerque. He likewise served time as the Dodgers hitting coach. He previously interviewed for managers gigs in Detroit and Seattle but didn’t make the cut.

Walt Weiss was fired as Rockies manager after going 283-265 in four seasons.

Here are the Cubs and Indians World Series Rosters

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 24:  Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians looks on during Media Day workouts for the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 24, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cubs and Indians have each released their World Series rosters.

As expected, the Cubs roster includes Kyle Schwarber, whom Joe Maddon said earlier this afternoon will DH tonight. The Indians roster includes Danny Salazar, who has been out since early September.


Carl Edwards Jr.
Kyle Hendricks
Jon Lester
Travis Wood
Mike Montgomery
John Lackey
Pedro Strop
Jake Arrieta
Justin Grimm
Aroldis Chapman
Hector Rondon

David Ross, C
Albert Almora Jr., OF
Chris Coghlan, OF
Javier Baez, INF
Kyle Schwarber, OF/C
Kris Bryant, INF
Ben Zobrist, INF
Jason Heyward, OF
Dexter Fowler, OF
Addison Russell, INF
Willson Contreras, C
Anthony Rizzo, INF
Miguel Montero, C
Jorge Soler, OF


Cody Allen
Trevor Bauer
Mike Clevinger
Corey Kluber
Jeff Manship
Zach McAllister
Ryan Merritt
Andrew Miller
Dan Otero
Danny Salazar
Bryan Shaw
Josh Tomlin

Yan Gomes, C
Roberto Perez, C
Jason Kipnis, INF
Francisco Lindor, INF
Michael Martinez, INF
Mike Napoli, INF/DH
Jose Ramirez, INF
Carlos Santana, INF/DH
Lonnie Chisenhall, OF
Coco Crisp, OF
Rajai Davis, OF
Brandon Guyer, OF
Tyler Naquin, OF