Award season is underway with the 2013 Manager of the Year award winners set to be announced Tuesday. The three finalists in each league were announced last week, with the winners determined by voters from the Baseball Writers' Associated of America.
The AL group has an interesting dynamic with current Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell among the finalists along with the man who guided Boston to championships in 2004 and 2007, Terry Francona. The race figures to come down to those two, with Farrell likely having the edge thanks to Boston's worst-to-first turnaround.
The NL is a little more cut-and-dry with Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle standing out after guiding the Buccos back to the postseason. It would have taken an unexpectedly special season from a bottom-tier NL team to overcome his accomplishment.
Here's a closer look at the three finalists in each league. The winners will be officially announced Tuesday in an MLB Network special that begins at 6 p.m. ET.
John Farrell — Boston Red Sox
In brief: Farrell, 51, was acquired last December in a rare managerial trade that sent infielder Mike Aviles to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Team record: 97-65. The Red Sox finished 69-93 in Bobby Valentine’s lone season at the helm in 2012.
Case for: Managed a Red Sox team that finished last place in the AL East in 2012 back to the top of the division in 2013. Though their postseason success won’t be a consideration, Farrell had them positioned as the AL favorites entering October.
Case against: A lot of the credit for Boston's turnaround is rightfully going to general manager Ben Cherington. He did an excellent job restructuring the major league roster left behind by Theo Epstein, and corrected his own mistake by bringing Farrell in.
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Terry Francona — Cleveland Indians
In brief: Francona, 54, was hired by Cleveland on Oct. 6, 2012. He was coming off a successful eight-year run with the Red Sox that included two World Series championship.
Team record: 92-70. Indians clinched first postseason berth since 2007.
Case for: Cleveland had the second biggest turnaround in the AL after winning 68 games in 2012. Finished only one game behind the heavily favored Detroit Tigers in AL Central.
Case against: The expectations were higher in Cleveland than Boston prior to the season, so it's tough to put him ahead of Farrell.
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Bob Melvin — Oakland Athletics
In brief: Melvin, 52, is a two-time Manager of Year. He won the NL award in 2007 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is the reigning AL winner with Oakland. He's looking to become the first back-to-back winner since former Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox won in 2004-2005.
Team record: 96-66. A's clinched second consecutive AL West title.
Case for: Consistency and winning baseball games. Despite a much lower payroll than their division foes from Los Angeles and Texas, Oakland has been the cream-of-the-crop two years running.
Case against: The case for is also the case against. It's tough to repeat in this category.
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Fredi Gonzalez — Atlanta Braves
In brief: Gonzalez, 49, finished his third year with the Braves after spending three-plus seasons as the Miami Marlins skipper.
Team record: 96-66. Good enough for the Braves' first division championship since 2005.
Case for: The Braves started 12-1 and never looked in the NL East, finishing 10 games ahead of the favored Washington Nationals. Gonzalez has also led steady improvement in his three seasons, as the Braves have finished with 89, 94 and 96 wins respectively.
Case against: The Braves have had a playoff roster in place for four straight seasons and added some firepower in the offseason with the acquisition of Justin Upton.
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Clint Hurdle — Pittsburgh Pirates
In brief: Hurdle, 56, has 11 years of managerial experience including the last three with Pittsburgh. He led the Colorado Rockies to the World Series in 2007.
Team record: 94-68. A 15-game improvement from 2012 and 37-game improvement from 2010.
Case for: Played a key role in the Pirates ending their 21-year playoff drought.
Cast against: Fell short in the division race despite a September lead. That's a reach though.
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Don Mattingly — Los Angeles Dodgers
In brief: Mattingly, 52, has managed Los Angeles since 2011. He made the playoffs for the first time as a manager this season.
Team record: 92-70. The Dodgers finished the season winning 58 of their last 81.
Case for: Between job security issues following a slow start, injuries to key players and attempting to harness Yasiel Puig, Mattingly had a lot on his plate throughout the season.
Case against: The slow start could work against Mattingly. His strategy, at times, was confusing, and he probably doesn't have much of a shot against Hurdle.
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