MLB revealed the winners of the Manager of the Year award. The winners are two of the most respected managers in Major League Baseball. Now, the two Sunshine State skippers have some personal hardware to back that up.
Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays and Don Mattingly of the Miami Marlins were named Manager of the Year in the AL and NL, respectively, by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday. The voting was done prior to the postseason by BBWAA members from each city in each league.
Third Time is the Charm
Cash, who finished third in AL voting each of the last two seasons, beat out Charlie Montoyo of the Toronto Blue Jays and Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox to win the honor. Cash received 22 first-place and 126 points, while Montoyo had five firsts and 61 points. Renteria received two first-place votes and 47 points. The White Sox fired Renteria following their playoff loss.
Competing against teams in their division with deeper pockets, the frugal and analytics-driven Rays posted the best record in the AL at 40-20, winning the East by seven games over the New York Yankees in the pandemic-shortened season. Cash’s steadiness and communication skills helped the Rays deal with a rash of injuries to their pitching staff. At one point there were 12 pitchers on the injured list.
One of the more unique moments of the season came when he used the first all-lefty batting order in MLB history on Sept. 11 against the Boston Red Sox in what would be an 11-1 win. Of course, Cash had an inauspicious moment in the World Series when he pulled ace Blake Snell in Game 6, which the Los Angeles Dodgers won to claim the title.
Cash joins Joe Maddon (2008 and 2011) as Rays managers to win the award.
Out of the Basement
In the NL, Mattingly won the award for the first time in 10 seasons as a manager. Mattingly did spend five seasons as the Dodgers manager. He had 20 first-place votes and 124 points to easily outdistance Jayce Tingler of the San Diego Padres (six first-place votes, 71 points) and David Ross of the Chicago Cubs (one first-place vote, 25 points). Mattingly is the fifth former MVP to win Manager of the Year. He was AL MVP in 1985 with the Yankees.
Mattingly’s work might be the most impressive. The Marlins were coming off a 105-loss season — most in the NL — and then were hit with losing 18 players to COVID-19 outbreak the first full week of the abbreviated season.
It led the Marlins to make 174 roster moves and using 61 players. This included 18 players who made their major-league debut, to navigate the 60-game season. Mattingly kept the Marlins together en route to a 31-29 record. This was good for a second-place finish in the NL East to earn a playoff spot.
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