5 consecutive NL East Championships. 2 World Series appearances. 1 World Series victory. 0 Manager of Year Awards for Charlie Manuel, the Manger of the Philadelphia Phillies. Manuel may not care about the award since winning games is more important, but he deserves more credit. He has dealt with a lot of injuries, as every team does in the Major Leagues. But consistency is very important, and the Phillies are not only the only team to make the postseason each of the past five years, but the Phils won the division in each of these seasons.
I know that the voters only look at the current season to vote for the best manager, and that is how it should be. But the voters should also realize that dominating a division is very impressive. When comparing the Phillies’ dominance to the teams in the National League West division, it is evident how impressive they have played. Four out of the previous five NL Managers of the Year have been from the NL West. Lou Pinella (Cubs – 2008) is the only other manager to win in the last five years. The inconsistency of these teams out west allows teams to have huge improvements from year to year. For example, the Arizona Diamondbacks went from last place in the division in 2010 to winning the division in 2011. The question you have to ask is how much did they improve? I am not saying that Kirk Gibson (Arizona’s Manager) does not deserve the NL Manager of the Year Award. He did a great job by turning a last place team into a division winner. But Arizona’s record went from 27-45 within the division, to 43-29. That is 16 games right there.
It takes a good manager to keep a team focused when it is falling apart too. Just look at Philadelphia’s injuries this past season. The All-Star 2nd Baseman Chase Utley and Closer Brad Lidge started the season on the DL. They were quickly joined by Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, two starting pitchers. Next, the injuries attacked the bullpen, sending Jose Conteras and Ryan Madson to the DL. Then small injuries to Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins kept them out of the starting lineup for a short period. But the Phillies fought through all of these injuries and finished the season with the league’s best record with 102 wins. The Phillies were a talented team, but Manuel proved this season and has proved the past five seasons that he is a great manager, and I believe that has earned a Manager of the Year Award.