Ten are GIBBY Manager of Year candidates
BBWAA winners Francona, Hurdle face challenges from Farrell, Mattingly and others
Ten managers led their team to the postseason in 2013, and all 10 of them are up for a Greatness in Baseball Yearly Award as Manager of the Year.
John Farrell, who finished second in American League Manager of the Year Award voting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, has another chance to beat out the winner of that award, Terry Francona of the Indians, and third-place finisher Bob Melvin of the A's, as well as National League Manager of the Year Award winner Clint Hurdle of the Pirates, Don Mattingly of the Dodgers, Mike Matheny of the Cardinals, Joe Maddon of the Rays, Jim Leyland of the Tigers, Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves and Dusty Baker of the Reds. Unlike the BBWAA awards, which includes a Manager of the Year from each league, the GIBBYs is a single award encompassing both leagues.
Fans can vote on the award through Dec. 1.
For his efforts in guiding the Red Sox to a World Series title while changing the mood of a clubhouse that had won 69 games in 2012, John Farrell is among an impressive group of candidates. Farrell received bounceback seasons from Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz while watching David Ortiz thrive at age 38. Farrell's decision to bench Daniel Nava in the postseason in favor of Jonny Gomes wasn't immediately welcomed, but Gomes hit a big three-run home run that led Boston to a 4-2 victory in Game 4 of the World Series.
"He said [that] we're going to be as well or better prepared than anyone," general manager Ben Cherington said of Farrell, who left the Blue Jays to join the Red Sox last offseason. "He made it about the players, held them to a high standard but empowering them at the same time. And those are easy things to say in the winter, but it's hard to pull off when you're going through a six- or eight-month season and a grind. It's hard to pull it off, and sure enough, he did. It's a great credit to him, the people around him. They made it about exactly what he said it was going to be."
Francona's team won 92 games after losing 94 games under Manny Acta in 2012.
"The dynamic he creates in the clubhouse, his work ethic, his preparation -- how he leads his staff, the way they prepare for the game and the environment they create in the clubhouse -- it was a big part of the success," Indians GM Chris Antonetti said.
Hurdle figures to be a strong candidate for the GIBBY after guiding the Pirates to the playoffs for the first time since 1992. He has won 245 games over the past three seasons, the most by a Pittsburgh manager through his first three full seasons since Chuck Tanner won 282 games from 1977-79.
"He's very optimistic, and that's a big key," Andrew McCutchen recently said of his manager. "It's hard to be as optimistic and as positive as he always is every single day."
Matheny has piloted his club to the postseason in each of his first two years at the helm after taking over for Tony La Russa. Mattingly, who appeared to be in danger of losing his job in June, led Los Angeles to a record-setting 42-8 run that spurred them all the way to the NL Championship Series.
Gonzalez skippered the Braves to a runaway NL East title and Baker led the Reds to an NL Wild Card berth. He was relieved of his managerial duties after Cincinnati was eliminated from the playoffs.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2013 GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 22 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
In the past five years, fans have cast more than 50 million votes across the various GIBBY categories, none of which was restricted to individual league affiliation.
Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.