Meaningless Accolades, 2009 Edition

Tim Lincecum repeated as winner of the Cy Young for the senior circuit, while Zack Grienke took home the honors for the AL. There’s no argument from me about the results in either case, but it is bizarre that Lincecum got fewer first-place votes than Adam Wainwright. Anyway, that’s two CYs in three years in the bigs for the 25-year-old Lincecum, who got paid 650k for his work in ’09.

Mike Scioscia won the MOY. Texas won 11 of 19 against the Halos. Ergo, Ron Washington is the best manager in the American League. Also, there are no un-fake names that are as bad-ass as “Ron Washington.”

Derek Jeter won more than half of all other major baseball awards available. Along with winning a Gold Glove at shortstop AND second base (a major-league first, that) he snagged the Silver Surfer or something, which was certainly expected, he being Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four Core. Since you didn’t ask: Mariano=Human Torch, Jorge=Thing, and Andy Pettitte’s confession of HGH usage is the surprisingly Invisible Woman. Best of all, Mr. Fantastic took home the coveted “Platinum Watchy”, which is given to the player who is consistently firstest and bestest in reaching the rail from the bench when someone does something somewhere that causes camera operators to point their cameras at the bench rail to find out who is watchiest.

Who is your pick for the AL MVP? I’m picking the umpires.

30 comments… add one

  • scioscia winning the MOY kinda steams my clams. so, were the angels not supposed to win the AL west going away? might as well pencil mike in for MOY for ’10/’11/’12….
    gotta love 4 team (and i use the terms “4″ and “teams” loosely) divisions. so congrats mr. scioscia, you did what everyone expected you to.

    sf rod November 19, 2009, 4:46 pm
  • My God! How can you ignore the story of the day, that Oprah! is going off the air in two years so she can become commissioner of baseball.

    I'mBillMcNeal November 19, 2009, 8:40 pm
  • p.s., if I wrote why I think Sciocia won MOY (and it’s not because he has acute radiation poisoning), someone will get mad at me. But I suspect it has something to do with someone who never spent much time on a major league roster.

    I'mBillMcNeal November 19, 2009, 8:42 pm
  • IBM, right and I don’t think you’re being insensitive about that. At the very least, Nick Adenhart’s passing likely played some part in the voters’ thinking. The MOY award usually doesn’t rely on hard numbers and is sometimes based on inspiring storylines.
    As for the 4-team division, I think there should be a “draft” of sorts for the worst each year to be able to choose the division it plays in the coming year. It would be great if, for at least one year, the O’s got to play in the AL West.

    Nick-YF November 19, 2009, 8:53 pm
  • I fully support the Cy winners, but Scoscia getting MOY is a joke. His team lost K-Rod (overrated) and gained Abreu and Morales as superstars, and they still had 3 fewer wins than in 2008. I agree that Adenhart probably played some part in the voters’ thinking, though I hope this doesn’t make everyone made (I feel ya, IBM).
    As for the MVP’s… I think it’ll be Pujols and Mauer for sure. Jeter and Teixeira are great, but Mauer beats them hands-down, not to mention the fact that his value to the Twins is greater since his supporting cast is a little less than what Jeets/Tex had.

    Atheose - SF November 20, 2009, 10:03 am
  • Errr, meant to say “mad”

    Atheose - SF November 20, 2009, 10:04 am
  • What “steams my clams” is that Joe Girardi got votes and Terry Francona didn’t. I mean, the Yankees went out and got the three biggest free agents and, gasp!, won the division. This deserves voted for Manager of the Year? Did I miss some big piece of adversity the Yankees overcame? The Yanks did struggle out of the gate, but once A-Rod returned, ended up winning 100 games. So Girardi deserves MOY votes because A-Rod recovered well from his hip surgery? I seriously don’t get it.
    I understand that managers like Francona, who are the beneficiaries of big-spending front offices and run teams expected to be successful, are always going to be underrespected for their actual managerial skill. Thing is, Girardi is in that same group, and Francona arguably had to steer his team through several more obstacles (Ortiz, the back end of the rotation, the SS black hole) to make the playoffs. And I don’t want to get into this whole, “Our team had more to overcome than yours,” but it just doesn’t make any sense to me for one to get two first place votes and the other to get no votes at all.

    Paul SF November 20, 2009, 10:51 am
  • gotta agree with you paul…i’m surprised girardi got any first place votes, not that francona got none…gardenhire was 2nd, but he would have had my first place vote, if i had one…he has infinitely fewer resources than our team, losing quality players to free agency, or a money-forced trade each year [hunter, santana for example], yet still manages to field a competitive, playoff caliber team…that’s not to say our guys are inferior, just that i deduct points for having all star lineups…

    dc November 20, 2009, 11:56 am
  • I’m not surprised by Girardi. Two years running now his bullpen got better as the year wore on while Tito’s got worse. Those of us that watch every Yankee game knows he gets the most from his relievers or they get cut. You forget the Yankees lost their #3 starter for the year and didn’t miss a beat. He also got fantastic years from Matsui, Damon and CF, while using them all properly, and the defense improved all around.

    Jeff Bonder November 20, 2009, 1:32 pm
  • Francona never gets much love in the MOY voting. It is what it is. I think we all know by now that these awards mean next to nothing. Not worth getting ‘steamed’ over.
    That said, I don’t know how you can’t see the reasoning for Girardi getting first place votes and Francona getting none. Winning 103 games is hard, really hard, for anyone. Also look at the fact that the Red Sox completely choked away their season series against the Yankees down the stretch, and you’ll begin to see the reasoning. Girardi’s bullpen management this year was also fantastic. He truly created an elite bullpen middle relief corp out of nothing, and managed it very effectively. It’s rare to find a manager that good at bullpen management.

    AndrewYF November 21, 2009, 10:33 pm
  • “Girardi’s bullpen management this year was also fantastic.”
    Yes. It was, um, terrific in the playoffs, disguised as “When all else fails, use Mo for 6 outs.” So … you keep telling yourself that.

    I'mBillMcNeal November 21, 2009, 11:37 pm
  • Using Mariano Rivera for as often as possible is in fact the best way to manage the Yankees’ bullpen in the playoffs, and it was made possible by Girardi’s careful non over- (or under-) use of him in the regular season. I don’t know how anyone could even think about complaining about that strategy.
    The numbers and the results show that Girardi is good at managing a bullpen. That’s the plain truth. At the very least, I think we can all agree he is much, much better than old “get me Proctor” Joe Torre.

    AndrewYF November 21, 2009, 11:44 pm
  • Anyone who has watched the yankees over the last 5 or so years would agree that Girardi’s pen management has been excellent when compared with Torre’s. Andrew is exactly right in that Girardi’s in-season job of using and building his pen with many contributors allowed him to go to Mo for 6 outs during the post-season. It is beyond me as well why that would be considered a bad thing. You use your best during the post-season and Mo is the best. You only need to look at Torre’s last few years with the yanks and the last two with the Dodgers to see what happens to overworked pens come october.
    Frankly, even if there were questions about certain moves during the post-season, we sit here today with the yanks as champs so clearly the man was doing something right. Sour grapes….

    sam-YF November 23, 2009, 1:34 am
  • i agree with both you sam, and andrew about girardi’s ability to handle the pitching staff…maybe i’m wrong to think this way, but i still tend to discount a bit the managerial performances of guys who are expected to win, like girardi and francona, when considering the MOY…that doesn’t mean i don’t think that both did a good job…they still have to manage at some point, and while there’s a move or 2 folks can nitpick, they can’t overlook girardi’s role in helping to get the proverbial monkey off the yankees back for at least the next few months…girardi did have a better starting staff this season than torre did in his last few years with the yanks, so on face value maybe he was in a better position to use the bullpen more effectively…having said that though torre’s bullpen “strategy” seemed to devolve into a one-trick pony, using proctor until his arm fell off, then handing the ball to mo…this is exactly why the yanks acquired more starting pitching this past winter…so they could end games more effectively, if that makes sense…also, the lead they enjoyed over the last few weeks. along with the extra off days in the post season allowed them to rest both position players and the staff…they did that for the exact reason you mention: “…You use your best during the post-season…” …girardi recognized that and it’s why he went with the 3 man rotation and using a well rested mo the way he did…i’d call that smart…

    dc November 23, 2009, 7:39 am
  • I agree that it’s pretty obvious Girardi is a better bullpen manager than Torre. I disagree that good bullpen management is worthy of winning MOY, especially when your most heavily used relievers are Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera.
    Winning 103 games is hard, really hard, for anyone.
    Of course, the argument becomes circular very quickly. Did the Yankees win 103 games because Girardi is a good manager or because every member of the starting lineup improved his offensive output over the previous season? Or did Girardi somehow get that much more out of the bats than they otherwise would have produced? I tend to believe a manager has very little effect over the course of a season on how veteran, star-quality players — such as those on the Sox and Yankees — perform. Joe Girardi didn’t have much to do with Teixeira, Rodriguez, Jeter, Damon, Sabathia performing like they always do, and I haven’t heard anyone crediting him with the better-than-expected seasons from guys like Cabrera, Burnett, etc.
    So let me ask this: is it easier or harder (or the same) to manage a team to 103 wins with the best offense and third-best pitching than it is to manage a team to 95 wins with the third-best offense and sixth-best pitching?
    I think the value guys like Francona (and presumably Girardi) bring to their jobs isn’t really the day-to-day decision-making. Otherwise, if we’re going to give Girardi credit for the Yankees’ 9-1 record against the Sox from July on, we need to dock him for the 0-8 they put up before that point. Did Girardi really have anything to do with A-Rod’s homer off Junichi Tazawa? If so, did Francona have anything to do with Jason Bay’s and Kevin Youkilis’ homers earlier in the season against Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte?
    Instead, I think their value is in keeping the players on an even keel so that flukish swings like those don’t get in their heads and lead to death spirals that torpedo a season (which last year’s MOY, Joe Maddon, failed to avoid in Tampa, by the way). The fact is that’s always going to be underlooked by the BBWAA voters absent an historic season, and sorry, but 103 wins the season after acquiring the top three free agents in baseball is simply not as impressive to me.

    Paul SF November 23, 2009, 10:54 am
  • I don’t understand why we are still talking about this. The obvious answer is and always has been: Ron Washington

    attackgerbil November 23, 2009, 11:26 am
  • But Paul, what did Francona do that was so impressive to you, that you think merited him first place votes over Girardi?
    No one is saying Girardi deserved those votes. But the issue here that has you so incensed is that Francona didn’t get any votes, while Girardi did get some. I’m asking you why do you think Francona performed better than Girardi in 2009?

    AndrewYF November 23, 2009, 12:12 pm
  • 1. Girardi received two first place votes. So we’re arguing over the opinion of two writers. That should really be the end of this nonsense.
    2. I’ll say that Girardi certainly wasn’t a horrible choice. His team had the best record in baseball and could have reached historic proportions had they not lost their #3 starter for the season and their 3B and C for the first month. And Torre won MOY in 1998.
    3. If any one wants to see what abusing the pen looks like, and how that adversely affects a teams chances in the post-season, look at 2004. Mo pitched 78 innings before October. This year he totaled 80 IP by the last out of the season. No other reliever topped 60 innings this year in the regular season. In 2004, three relievers topped 75 innings before October.
    4. Finally, there are the results. Girardi won – outmanaging Scioscia in the process – and so doesn’t need the award. But the historical results show it doesn’t really matter who wins MOY – the “winner” seldom has a long-term managerial career.

    Jeff Bonder November 23, 2009, 12:47 pm
  • what did Francona do that was so impressive to you, that you think merited him first place votes over Girardi?
    I’m sorry, where did I say that?

    Paul SF November 23, 2009, 3:06 pm
  • “What “steams my clams” is that Joe Girardi got votes and Terry Francona didn’t.”

    AndrewYF November 23, 2009, 3:13 pm
  • Yes, Andrew. That phrase nowhere says that Terry Francona “merited … first place votes over Girardi.”

    Paul SF November 23, 2009, 5:02 pm
  • Alright Paul, I misinterpreted.

    AndrewYF November 23, 2009, 5:46 pm
  • I can’t believe Paul of all people is arguing that Joe is undeserving of this award! Look at the preseason predictions!!!
    !!!!
    !
    Paul predicted a second place finish for the aging Bombers. If not for Jumpin’ Joe’s motivational jogs around the ballfield peripherary, his well-timed shower towel snaps, his primal scream therapy sessions, this team would have performed at the level they were supposed to.

    Nick-YF November 23, 2009, 9:16 pm
  • “…especially when your most heavily used relievers are Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera….”
    not sure what this means, or why it matters paul…hughes emerged as, and mo always has been, the most reliable relievers, especially down the stretch…actually coke was the most used reliever, appearing in 72 games…hughes had a few more innings, but he was a starter in 7 games…are you suggesting that girardi should have used his less effective relievers more often?…
    “…I think the value guys like Francona (and presumably Girardi) bring to their jobs isn’t really the day-to-day decision-making….” [i like the use of the word 'presumably' in reference to girardi]
    “…Instead, I think their value is in keeping the players on an even keel so that flukish swings like those don’t get in their heads and lead to death spirals that torpedo a season…”
    isn’t that exactly what joe was given credit for by some folks with his “bonding” sessions, and whatever role he played in getting arod’s head back on a little straighter, pre-kate hudson, and the apparent morphing of his personality into a “nicer” joe than the one from last season?…
    “…and sorry, but 103 wins the season after acquiring the top three free agents in baseball is simply not as impressive to me….”
    and, apparently neither is winning 95 games, finishing in 2nd place 8 games out of first place, getting swept out of the opening round of the playoffs, with the 4th highest payroll…remember, only 2 guys thought buying a world series was impressive, so we’re talking nits here…

    dc November 24, 2009, 8:12 am
  • and, apparently neither is winning 95 games, finishing in 2nd place 8 games out of first place, getting swept out of the opening round of the playoffs, with the 4th highest payroll…remember, only 2 guys thought buying a world series was impressive, so we’re talking nits here…
    Ouch, are you really going to use that as a cudgel when you have nothing to say? Paul isn’t saying “The Yankees’ ring doesn’t matter because they bought the best three free agents!”, he’s just saying that Girardi shouldn’t have been in the discussion for MOY because of that.

    Atheose - SF November 24, 2009, 8:20 am
  • Oh, DC, and we were getting along so well, too.
    Of course, I’m sure you know that MOY is a regular-season award, so the postseason is completely irrelevant to this discussion.
    And really you’re just reiterating my case. Is being the manager of a team that wins 95 games with a $130M payroll all that impressive? Arguably not, absent some sort of Nick Adenhart moment or other on- or off-field catastrophe. Ditto winning 103 games with a $200M payroll. This is why it’s rare for Yankee and Red Sox managers to get MOY votes. It’s kind of a raw deal because I think Francona deserves at least one of those awards because he’s obviously one of the best — if not the best — manager the Sox have ever had. And the only reason Torre, who Yankee fans thought was fantastic until the last couple years, won his MOY is because the Yankees had the best regular-season record of all-time. It’s not fair to good managers on well-run teams, but that’s the way it is.
    But my beef is not that Girardi got votes, it’s that I find it difficult to award Girardi votes without awarding Francona votes. Two writers thought Girardi deserved the MOY award (I’d guess they were both from New York, but I don’t know that), and that Francona wasn’t even in the conversation. Girardi by all accounts had a great year, but so did Francona. I would argue both of them had better years than Scioscia (though probably not Gardenhire), and Francona’s got a six-year track record now of being a very good manager who is basically the perfect fit for Boston. It’s just too bad that’s unlikely ever to be recognized (maybe by the HOF if he keeps it up another few years), even if the form of recognition is largely meaningless.

    Paul SF November 24, 2009, 8:46 am
  • “it’s that I find it difficult to award Girardi votes without awarding Francona votes.”
    And this goes back to my point in which I guess I didn’t misconstrue Paul’s statements – what the hell did Francona do? Girardi at least won his division, and won 103 games. You can see why he would get consideration. What makes Francona’s year so special that he also deserves recognition? He deserves MOY votes because, why, he’s the best Red Sox manager of all time? Really? When has that EVER been grounds to vote someone manager of the year? Plus, considering the Sox’s history, that’s really not saying all that much.
    Sorry, Paul. It’s very, very easy to reward Girardi with votes and not Francona. I really don’t know how anyone can’t see this.

    AndrewYF November 24, 2009, 9:00 am
  • And unless the HOF rewards teams their best managers with a plaque, I don’t see Francona ending up in the Hall unless he lasts much, much longer in the game, and wins at the very least one more championship.
    Obviously he ends up in whatever Red Sox hall of fame there is, but just because a guy finally ended 86 years of futility is certainly no reason to dub him an all-time great manager. He’s a decent one, no doubt, but let’s try and consider context before vaulting him into the stratosphere of Connie Mack, Earl Weaver, and Joe McCarthy.
    Methinks Paul has JD Drew-syndrome regarding Francona.

    AndrewYF November 24, 2009, 9:07 am
  • “…he’s just saying that Girardi shouldn’t have been in the discussion for MOY because of that….”
    no ath, he was saying that his “clams” were “steamed” because girardi got 2 votes to francona’s 0…in other words, it appeared that francona wasn’t in the discussion, so how could girardi?…in my opinion, it doesn’t matter, because girardi and francona are probably fighting for second place…i agree with paul, both of them should have been “in the discussion”, and gardenhire would have had my vote as i mentioned earlier, for “doing more with less”…
    “…Oh, DC, and we were getting along so well, too….
    yep, i know these are regular season awards, so getting swept from the playoffs and the “buying the series” stuff, was irrelevant, but i really wanted to use it and i foolishly hoped you didn’t notice…
    there’s still hope for us buddy… ;) as you point out, i think we agreed overall, and i wasn’t really trying to be a smarta**, well maybe a little…what i think we agreed on, in principle anyway…
    1. neither girardi nor francona should have received a first place vote, or if one did, as in this case, it’s odd the other didn’t
    2. it’s difficult to assess the manager’s impact on a high payroll team, loaded with all stars…i guess sometimes the value is in simply not screwing up a good thing
    3. gardenhire probably would have been our #1 pick
    4. francona is a very good manager
    5. awards based on subjectivity are largely meaningless

    dc November 24, 2009, 9:19 am
  • i hear what you’re saying andrew…these are not lifetime achievement awards, or jeter would have a dozen mvp’s…but given what joe had to work with, expectations were high…i know some pre-season predictions had the sox finishing in first, but the yankees never would have heard the end of it if they didn’t come out on top…how much credit does he get for the turnaround and first place finish?…answer that and you know where he belongs in the MOY results…same for tito, does he get credit for papi’s 2nd half awakening?…like i said, 1 or 2 votes is a nit, but if joe had actually won the thing, and tito got no votes, then we have a reason to argue it on yfsf…right or wrong, this award seems most appropriate for a guy who takes a team with relatively low expectations, and does great things with it…i’ll let somebody with a vote decide what “great things” are…

    dc November 24, 2009, 9:43 am

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