Terry Francona proved again in 2016 that he’s a man who can make the best out of a tough situation — and that’s just what he did, guiding a beat-up Cleveland Indians team to the AL Central crown and eventually the World Series.
And Dave Roberts proved that even as a rookie skipper, he’s a man who could overcome the crazy swarm of injuries that hit the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. That’s what he did too — winning the NL West in unlikely fashion.
For that, both Roberts and Francona were recognized as NL and AL Manager of the Year on Tuesday, based on a vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In the AL, Francona earned 22 of 30 first-place votes. Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers finished second and Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles was third. In the NL, Roberts earned 16 of 30 first-place votes. Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs finished second. Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals finished third.
The voting doesn’t include the postseason, so the Indians’ underdog run to Game 7 of the World Series and Francona’s fantastic bullpen management to get them there wasn’t even a factor. Instead, Francona won because he successfully navigated a season in which he lost his best offensive player, Michael Brantley, to injury, then lost two of his top starters, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, to more injuries.
Nothing swayed the Indians or Francona, as he provided the steady hand to keep the team on track as it won 94 games, the second-best mark in the AL. Now Francona has his second Manager of the Year award. Here’s the full rundown of AL votes:
On the NL side, Dave Roberts didn’t break a 108-year curse or win 103 games, but he did overcome that historic rash of injuries on the Dodgers roster and he did it in a completely new environment. Overcoming those odds was enough to cement his Manager of the Year spot.
Roberts, 44, led the Dodgers to their fourth straight NL West title, but this one was the toughest. He lost ace Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the summer, one of a record 28 players on the team’s disabled list.
It’d be tough for most managers to put together even an above-.500 team with that. But Roberts helped the Dodgers overcome a nine-game deficit in the division over the summer, most of it without Kershaw. Roberts also made the most pitching changes of any manager in MLB this season, proving that he was in the mix, making moves that worked.
Here’s the full rundown of NL votes:
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