Tap-In Question: Who is MLB's top manager? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Who is MLB’s top manager?

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This World Series features two of the more heralded managers right now in Major League Baseball: Chicago’s Joe Maddon and Cleveland’s Terry Francona.

Both are tremendous skippers – and have the statistics to prove it.

Maddon is in his 11th season as a full-time manager. Known as a mad genius for his unorthodox philosophies, he’s taken two different clubs to the World Series: The Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and the Cubs this year. Three times he’s won the Manager of the Year Award and likely will get some consideration for a fourth in 2016.

Francona has managed for 16 seasons. He’s been to the World Series three times. Twice winning it with the Boston Red Sox and now getting there with the Indians. He was named AL Manager of the Year in 2013 with the Indians and is probably the leading candidate for it this year.

The Orioles have a pretty good skipper of their own in Buck Showalter. He’s been named Manager of the Year three times – in three different decades for three different teams – in his 18 seasons in the big leagues. He hasn’t yet guided a club to the World Series, however, as his detractors will point out.

He has his warts, like any manager, but he also has had a tremendous track record of turning around stalled franchises (or, in the case of the Arizona Diamondbacks, building a contender from scratch).

Showalter, 60, isn’t going anywhere, unless he rides off in the sunset on his own. He’s signed through 2018 and has more job security in Baltimore than any manager since Hall-of-Famer Earl Weaver. Plus, as you can read in this piece, he and his wife, Angela, really have connected with the community here.

Because of all that, I expect you to be partial to Buck. But maybe you aren’t. Maybe you’d trade Showalter, straight-up, for Maddon or Francona or San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy or Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia.

They are all really good and all really accomplished.

As it stands now, who do you think is the best?

Tap-In Question: Who is baseball’s best manager?

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Bruce Bochy. Hands down.

    He immediately turned around a moribund San Diego franchise taking them to a World Series before upper management cut salary and returned the Padres to their former selves. His record and championship pedigree in San Francisco speaks for itself.

    I can’t believe I just gave a serious answer to the Tap-In. I MUST be behind in my fake beer intake. Bartender please!!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 29, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Well, maybe “hands down” is a bit strong ….

    • Dan Connolly

      October 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Small miracles. 2 drink chips for a serious, straight answer. Now don’t let it happen again. Or not often anyway.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    October 29, 2016 at 10:34 am

    This feels like a golden era for managers, and perhaps because of the dramatic increase in parity over the last ten years or so. Now, we’re not talking NFL-style parity, but nonetheless despite no floor or ceiling on spending, we’ve seen small- and mid-market teams make postseason runs.

    I do question your inclusion of the Angels’ skipper on your short list, Dan. When he was winning, he was doing so with seemingly a bloated payroll. He won a power struggle against his successful GM and now the team stinks–despite the continued bloated payroll and having the best player in baseball on his team (does anyone think Manny is better than Trout?)

    My nod goes to Francona slightly over Bochy. His manipulation of that pitching staff is unbelievable. He uses every piece in the 25-man roster (Buck’s biggest weakness is wearing out his regular players year after year). And the Indians are doing it with a mid-size payroll. Don’t underestimate the way Tito changed the culture in Boston!

    • Dan Connolly

      October 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      EE: I was thinking the same thing about the quality of managers when I wrote this. Some of the best in the last 30 years are still managing and there’s an intriguing group of younger ones coming up. I hear what you’re saying about Scioscia now, but most in the game believe he is one of the most difficult to manage against. His teams are prepared and so is he.

  3. Bancells Moustache

    October 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I watch ESPN pretty much non-stop, you mean to tell me there are managers in professional baseball other than Joe Maddon?!

    I’ll punt on this one, as I have always been of the mind that MLB managers get far more credit for success and failure than they actually deserve, at least compared to their counterparts in the other Big 4 sports. Joe Torre is a prime example. He was known as just another mediocre journeyman manager, but then he falls into the perfect situation in New York with Steinbrenner writing massive checks, and now he’s in the Hall of Fame.

    One thing I am curious about is if baseball’s big name managers attempt to go the route of some of their contemporaries in football and basketball. Each of those sports has seen big name coaches, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson in the NBA, Bill Parcells in the NFL to name a few, leave the pressures of the sidelines and take on what I call ‘Godfather’ positions, like GM’s on steroids. It looked like LaRussa was attempting such a move with Arizona, but that has rapidly turned into a dumpster fire. It would be interesting to see a Showalter or Francona attempt to leverage their success into that sort of powerhouse job in an organization.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Interesting thought. Buck sort of had that when he was first with Arizona, before they played games. And I think front office in the future does appeal to him. I don’t think anyone could ever do both in this day like Paul Richards did in the 1950s. Btw, Buck and Parcells are friends.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 29, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      One word for the genius label ESPN has bestowed upon Madden …. Eye Glasses … OK TWO words.

  4. OsfanDC

    October 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

    In Buck I trust! That simple!

    • Dan Connolly

      October 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      I knew some of ya would come out and testify.

  5. marcshank

    October 30, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Easily and I mean really easily Terry Francona. Kansas City was the team to beat and, if it wasn’t them, it was Detroit. Francona is a masterly coach, with instincts as good, if not better than Joe Madden, Bruce Botchy or Buck. I don’t know how there could possibly be an argument here.

    This year, Terry is the man.

  6. WVluvstheOs2

    October 30, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Buck has to get to the series, before serious consideration outside of O’s land. I would not trade him for any other in the game today unless it was a package deal that included an owner and an exec with a vision that matched his own. For my money, Francona is as good as it gets right now. I will have to put in a pitch for a guy like Joe T. and his “Perfect Situation”…. Maybe I am wrong here, but I don’t believe one player on the Yanks club he was given was in the hall when he took over….

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