Alex Cora’s accomplishments in his first year with the Boston Red Sox scream “manager of the year” material.
And in most seasons, leading your team to a World Series title and their most wins in franchise history — in your first year as a big league manager, no less — certainly would qualify.
But Cora is unlikely to take home 2018 American League Manager of the Year honors when the award’s recipient is announced Tuesday night, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Oakland Athletics skipper Bob Melvin reportedly is the “heavy favorite” to win the award.
So, why will Cora likely come up empty? Again, he had one of the most successful managerial years in Major League Baseball history.
The answer, as it often is in award controversies, has more to do with when voting closed than who is the most worthy.
Red Sox fans likely will be upset over their beloved manager losing out on the award. Cora, however, probably won’t lose any sleep over it.
Check out this quote from Cora’s brother, Joey, back in September:
Now, it’s important to realize that Melvin is more than deserving of being named A.L. Manager of the Year. In fact, he probably is more deserving than any other A.L. manager, including Cora.
Melvin led the A’s to a 97-65 record and a berth in the A.L. Wild Card Game, a year after finishing 75-87. He also orchestrated the turnaround despite Oakland having the lowest payroll in baseball at $62.65 million and a roster that, frankly, was just OK. Cora, on the other hand, benefited from having a loaded roster that accounted for the second-highest payroll in the game at $206.25 million.
At the end of the day, both managers had great seasons, and both are deserving of the award. But only one can be named A.L. Manager of the Year, and Melvin reportedly — and deservedly — will hear his name called Tuesday night.