There's a sleeper for NL Manager of the Year that deserves some consideration
Should the Padres' Andy Green get some consideration?
On Thursday, my colleague. Not surprisingly, he discussed managers from five contenders and he's correct, in my estimation, that those would be the five managers getting votes right now -- especially since voters have only three spots on their ballot.
As I glanced around the NL landscape, however, something stuck out to me. The San Diego Padres should be far worse than they currently are. As such, perhaps manager Andy Green deserves some love.
Now, I feel compelled to point out how silly Manager of the Year voting can be before we move any further.
Much of the time, the only thing it's judging is how the teams performed versus expectations. For example, no matter what Joe Maddon does this year, the Cubs' skipper has basically no shot at winning the award because his team won 103 games and the World Series last year. He could well be doing a better job than, say, Bud Black of the Rockies, but the Rockies are better and weren't expected to be, so that's how the voting falls. It's funny to consider what would happen if other awards were treated this way. In the AL MVP race, for example, Aaron Judge would be the runaway winner because Jose Altuve and Mike Trout have already been awesome for years.
Regardless, there's probably not a better way to do the Manager of the Year. That's just how it is. It's weird and funny.
With this in mind, as noted, aren't the Padres a lot better than they should be? Sure, they're bad, but what were the expectations coming into the season?
Nearly everyone thought the Padres would be the worst team in baseball. They aren't.
The player payroll is stripped to an embarrassingly low figure. They are actually paying over $40 million to players no longer on the team (such as James Shields, Melvin Upton Jr. and Matt Kemp). The players remaining on the team are making less than $40 million combined this season. Only five players -- Wil Myers ($4.5M), Travis Wood ($4M), Yangervis Solarte ($2.62M), Jordan Lyles ($3.17M) and Jered Weaver ($3M) -- are making more than $2 million this season. The 2017 average MLB salary is over $4 million, by the way.
Sure, the Padres are a small market and are rebuilding, but this level of frugality is akin to purporsely tanking the season.
It's not just the payroll. Look at the personnel. As things stood entering Thursday's game against the Reds, the Padres' top five players in WAR were Brad Hand, Jhoulys Chacin, Jose Pirela, Trevor Cahill and Craig Stammen. Put another way, that fivesome is a reliever, a starter on his fourth team in the last three seasons, an outfielder who hasn't even played in half the Padres' games, someone now playing for another team and another reliever.
Some of the expected best players on the Padres have underachieved, too. Myers should be a lot better. Erick Aybar was awful before getting hurt. Ryan Schimpf took a giant leap backward and had to be demoted to the minors.
Add all of that together and it's awfully tough to win games with this squad. Sure, they entered Thursday 50-63 and in fourth place, but remember how the Manager of the Year voting usually weighs managers. That record is a pace of a 72-90 record over the course of the season. If the Padres do that, they'll have finished with probably about 10-14 more wins than should have been expected while finishing a place higher in the standings than everyone on the planet with a brain would have predicted.
I understand Green has no shot at winning this award. I'm just saying if things continue along this path, I hope to see him net a down-ballot vote or two. His Padres team has overachieved all season and he should get some credit for that.
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