Rounding Third: Showalter eyes third AL Manager of Year Award

( – Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter hopes to add a
third Manager of the Year Award to his mantel on Tuesday when the Baseball
Writers’ Association of America continues to dole out its postseason honors.

Showalter seems to win one of these awards every 10 years. He won in 1994 with
the New York Yankees, then again in 2004 with the Texas Rangers. And wouldn’t
you know it, he could be headed toward a third this year after guiding the
Orioles to their first AL East title since 1997.

Despite injuries to Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, as well as an amphetamine
suspension for Chris Davis, Baltimore was still able to exceed expectations,
going 96-66.

Should he win, Showalter would become just the second manager to win the BBWAA
award with three different organizations. Tony La Russa, a four-time winner,
won with the Chicago White Sox (1983), Oakland Athletics (1988 and 1992) and
the St. Louis Cardinals (2002).

Showalter’s main competition figures to come from Los Angeles Angels of
Anaheim skipper Mike Scioscia, who guided his team back into the postseason
for the first time since 2009 after winning an MLB-best 98 games.

While Showalter was forced to make due with a cast of under-the-radar players,
Scioscia had the luxury of filling out a lineup chock full of All-Stars on a
nightly basis.

In fact, of the 28 Manager of the Year Awards handed out by the BBWAA since
2000, only five have gone to skippers of a team that finished among the top 10
in payroll.

Los Angeles had the 10th-highest payroll in the league.

But like Showalter, Scioscia had to deal with his share of injuries, as young
Tyler Skaggs was lost to Tommy John surgery in late July, while breakout ace
Garrett Richards suffered a season-ending left knee injury on Aug. 20.

The Angels responded, though, winning 20 of their next 27 games in a stretch
that ultimately won them an AL West crown.

Scioscia has previously won two AL Manager of the Year Awards — in 2002 and

Kansas City’s Ned Yost is the third AL finalist and figures to finish behind
both Showalter and Scioscia, despite getting the Royals back into the playoffs
for the first time since 1985.

Of course, Yost led the Royals all the way to the World Series, but voting
took place before the postseason began.

Meanwhile, the National League Award is equally up for grabs, as Washington’s
Matt Williams, Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle and San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy
can all make cases to win the award.

Had the voting took place over the weekend, Bochy would likely have been a
landslide winner thanks to his third World Series title in five years, but he
is nominated for a regular season that saw the Giants go 88-74 and win the NL
wild card.

Bochy won this award in 1996 with San Diego.

Hurdle’s Pirates also won 88 games and lost to the Giants in the wild card
game. Hamstrung by one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, Hurdle, who won
this award a year ago, has transformed the perennial doormat Bucs into a team
that has now reached the postseason in consecutive years.

As deserving as Hurdle may be, the odds are against him, as there has only
been one manager in either league to repeat since the award joined the BBWAA’s
formal awards lineup in 1983: Bobby Cox of the Braves in 2004-05.

Luckily for Williams these awards are in fact voted on before the start of the

While his Nationals may have flamed out in the postseason, Williams did guide
them to an NL East title with a league-best 96 wins in his first year as the
team’s skipper.

The one knock on Williams is that he clearly walked into a terrific situation,
as the talented Nationals just underperformed a year ago under Davey Johnson.
But, he also had to deal with a ton of injuries throughout the season and is
the only one of the three finalists to have won a division.