Regardless of who ends up winning the National League Manager of the Year award -- the finalists are Craig Counsell, Mike Shildt, and Brian Snitker -- Nationals fans will make the case their fearless leader was snubbed.
Davey Martinez enjoyed an impressive season at the helm of the Nats, obviously culminating with the franchise’s first-ever World Series. Even prior to their charmed postseason run, however, Martinez had a strong case to be considered one of the favorites for that award.
We even noted in our awards predictions after the season that “you can't take into consideration his performance in October, but simply getting the Nationals to the postseason is a job very well done.”
Counsell likely earned consideration for guiding the Brewers to the postseason after losing MVP-candidate Christian Yelich. Snitker helped the Braves cruise to an NL East division title despite modest preseason expectations, and Shildt oversaw a dominant second-half performance from his Cardinals team.
The problem is the lack of clarity surrounding the Manager of the Year award, both in terms of what qualities should define a winner and in how much of an impact each manager can realistically have.
This problem was highlighted by Todd Dybas in the latest episode of the Nationals Talk Podcast.
“Yeah its stupid. That’s the number one reason I’m not a fan, it shouldn’t exist,” Dybas began. “There’s no way to come to a way quantifiable solution or conclusion. There's just no way to determine this. It’s silly, no manager is going to be a good manager if you give them the Baltimore Orioles roster. So, the end.”
It wasn’t the end for Dybas, who continued on to explain the differences between Manager of the Year and other awards, like Most Valuable Player.
“I mean it’s just silly, you know? And I feel distinctly different about MVP,” he continued. “Once, a few years back when it was Joey Votto or Giancarlo Stanton and the Reds weren’t very good, I still voted for Votto because I felt like what he did had the highest value. I didn’t care that the Reds weren’t very good. He can’t control that the pitching staff stinks, so I wasn’t going to penalize him for that. In this case, the manager is the manager, he doesn’t pay or not pay the roster. If you’re tanking, does it mean the manager is bad? Not necessarily. If you have a $280 million payroll and you win the World Series, does it mean the manager is the best manager in the league? Not necessarily. So to me it’s just silly. I don’t know why it still exists. Hopefully it goes away at some point soon.”
Dybas did receive some pushback from his co-hosts. Tim Shovers’ rebuttal was simple: “These awards are fun and fans like it.”
Nationals fans would probably enjoy them more if they got to see their team take home more hardware, though of course the World Series victory is far more meaningful than any award would be.
The final example given from Dybas was perhaps the most compelling case against the award.
“Matt Williams was manager of the year and then got fired,” he said succinctly. “So that to me tells you everything you need to know about this award and its actual validity. “
You can hear the full episode of the Nationals Talk Podcast below.
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