Twins’ Molitor, D-Backs’ Lovullo win Manager of Year awards
Paul Molitor and Torey Lovullo both presided over turnaround seasons, guided their teams into the playoffs and won Manager of the Year awards by wide margins. The paths they took, those were totally different. Molitor needed a clubhouse talk to calm down the Minnesota Twins, his players angered by moves the front office made at the July 31 trade deadline.
“I still believed,” Molitor said Tuesday, recalling how he helped his team overcome “that speed bump.” No such distractions in the desert. In his first full season as a skipper, Lovullo built a culture of communication with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He often referred to the “love” teammates had for each other — and Lovullo certainly loved the midseason deal that brought bighitting J.D. Martinez to the D-backs.
“We are going to be one year better,” he said, adding his club would be even “more united” in 2018.
Molitor won the American League Manager of the Year award after the Twins became the first team to make the playoffs following a 100-loss season.
Molitor drew 18 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Cleveland’s Terry Francona was second and A.J. Hinch of the World Series champion Houston Astros finished third. Voting was completed before the start of the playoffs.
Lovullo got 18 first-place votes, too, in earning the National League prize. Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers was second and Colorado’s Bud Black was third.
Roberts, Black, Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell and Dusty Baker, since let go by Washington, also had first-place votes.
Molitor joined Frank Robinson as the only Hall of Fame players to win a manager of the year award, which was first presented in 1983.
The 52-year-old Lovullo guided the Diamondbacks to a 93-69 record and their first playoff spot since 2011, a year after they went 69-93.
Powered by Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and Martinez, and led by pitchers Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, the Diamondbacks made the playoffs this year. They beat Colorado in the NL wild-card game before getting swept by the Dodgers in the Division Series.
The Diamondbacks were swept in a three-game series at Minnesota in mid-August, outscored 27-8 at Target Field. Less than a week later, Arizona began a franchise-record 13-game winning streak.
Twins manager Paul Molitor, left, and Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo were named the American and National League Managers of the Year on Tuesday.