The Baltimore Orioles earned a postseason berth this season for the first time since 1997, and manager Buck Showalter's steady hand in the dugout was a big reason for that.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Showalter will be rewarded this winter for his efforts:
Orioles management intends to negotiate an extension for Manager of the Year favorite Buck Showalter, people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com. Owner Peter Angelos has told people connected to the team of his intention to extend Showalter, whose contract expires after the 2013 season.
Without a doubt, this is the right move for the Orioles franchise. Success like this year's group had hasn't been felt in Baltimore for a long time, and Showalter's aggressive, home run-happy attitude played a major role in every win.
There is a reason Showalter is a favorite for American League Manager of the Year. Not only did he lead a team that hadn't sniffed the postseason for 15 years into October, but he did it in the AL East. Making the postseason playing in the toughest division in baseball is a tall task, but the Orioles somehow accomplished the feat with Showalter at the helm.
Next year's Orioles team should expect to be in a similarly strong position. The core of the team is slated to return, and young studs like third baseman Manny Machado figure to make the squad even better. If young right-hander Dylan Bundy can take another giant step forward, the organization will be on even firmer ground.
Baltimore's run this season was fun to watch for anyone who roots for the underdog. It had been a very long time since this team was relevant, and its rejuvenation was enlightening in the powerhouse-dominated AL East.
With Showalter sticking around for the foreseeable future, there's no reason to think this franchise can't maintain its success.