Showalter finishes 3rd in AL Manager of the Year voting
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was denied his fourth Manager of the Year award Tuesday, finishing third in balloting for the American League honor to Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians and Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers.
Francona finished with 128 points, Banister 64 and Showalter 44. John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox finished fourth. The Orioles manager drew two of 30 first-place votes.
Showalter, who often jokes that the award is really for the manager whose team most exceeded preseason expectations, not exactly for managing acumen, has three awards to his name: 1994 with the New York Yankees, 2004 with the Rangers and 2014 with the Orioles.
The Orioles were predicted to finish at or below.500bymanythisyear, continuing a trend of doubt from analysts and media members who feel their pitching staff is lacking and their lineup is too dependent on home runs. But they ended up securing the AL’s second wild card on the last day of the season with an 89-73 record.
Showalter was bidding to join Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa as the only four-time winners since the award began in 1983.
Considering that Showalter spent much of the first half of the season with an undermanned and struggling rotation, then had to deal with a flagging offense in the second half, his inclusion in the final three for this award was justified.
The Orioles lost shortstop J.J. Hardy (fractured foot), top setup man Darren O’Day (hamstring, shoulder) and starter Yovani Gallardo (shoulder) for large chunks of time. Showalter’s bench flexibility was also diminished when rookie outfielder Joey Rickard tore his thumb, ending his season.
Showalter also earned praise for the way he got outfielder Hyun Soo Kim involved after an initial struggle, and was largely lauded for his bullpen decisions. Voting on this award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America was due before the postseason began, meaning Showalter’s decision not to use closer Zach Britton in extra innings of the AL wild-card game in Toronto was not a consideration.
That the Orioles even made it to that wild-card game, and were in the lead in a tough AL East for most of the season, was a credit to the shuffling Showalter did. The team’s constant roster maneuvering kept the pitching staff fresh, and it wasn’t until mid-August that the Orioles ceded a strong hold on first place in the division.
Showalter is 547-482 in his seven seasons with the Orioles.