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MLB Midseason Award Winners: Manager of the Year

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There was no baseball yesterday. There is no baseball today. There will be baseball tomorrow, but not until 7:05 PM, so it’s basically three days without anyone throwing a pitch in anger. Let’s kill the time, then, by arguing about who, if the season ended today, would be your award winners. Last up: Manager of the Year.

You’ve all heard my spiel about the Manager of the Year Award many times, but there’s nothing going on today, so I’ll offer it again.

The Manager of the Year Award says more about people on the outside, not the inside. On their expectations for a team as opposed to what the manager actually does. This is because a manager’s success is insanely dependent on his team’s talent level and health and because the things he actually does — motivation, clubhouse management, subtle pulls of the lever across a six month period, often involving data and background information of which we are not aware — are largely opaque to outsiders. If you do better with what outsiders thought you had six months earlier, hooray, you’re the manager of the year.

As such, the Manager of the Year Award does not really lend itself to analysis and prediction in the way the other awards do. The fact that the Giants suck does not mean that Bruce Bochy forgot how to be a good manager. The fact that the Cubs are underachieving does not mean that Joe Maddon has lost his way. The fact that the Twins and Brewers have exceeded expectations does not mean that Paul Molitor and Craig Counsell are now destined for Cooperstown. Stuff happens. Managers of the Year are picked either because their team is insanely dominant or because their team did better than most people thought they would.

Based on those factors, you could make a dominance case for A.J. Hinch of the Astros and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers. Or you could make an expectations case for Bud Black of the Rockies, Torey Lovullo of the Diamondbacks, Molitor or Counsell. I’d probably give it to Hinch and Roberts, but again, what does that really mean?

I’m sure you all have an idea about this. Let’s hear your arguments in the comments.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.