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The AL Manager of the Year Is...

Steven ResnickSenior Writer ISeptember 15, 2009

The AL Manager of the year race is pretty much a group of three men. The three are Joe Giardi, Mike Scioscia, or Ron Washington.

Starting with Joe Girardi I think it's more of a East Coast bias that puts him among the men mentioned for the Manager of the Year award. I'm not saying that Girardi is a bad manager, but I don't think he deserves the award.

First off the Yankees have a team that's loaded with talent. Sure, the Yankees didn't make the playoffs last year, but no one really believed that they would miss the playoffs two years in a row.

With the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays faltering as of late. The Yankees have a taken a firm grasp on the American League East division lead and it's all but certain that the Yankees are going to be in the playoffs. 

Now, the question remains in my mind was it because of the offseason acquisitions that were supposed to perform? Was it the leadership of Girardi that has gotten them to the point where the Yankees are seven games in front of the Red Sox at this point?

I believe the answer lies in the players the Yankees acquired in the offseason specifically Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, and of course CC Sabathia. AJ Burnett has had his ups and downs for the Yankees.

It was just a matter of time before the Yankees started playing to their capabilities and once that happened the American League saw just how scary the team can be even if the back end of the pitching rotation is average at best.

The second candidate for the award is Mike Scioscia. Scioscia has done an excellent job of bringing the Angels together after the tragic death of Nick Adenhart.

After the death the Angels were playing decent baseball, they weren't running away from the division and actually were hovering around .500. As the season progresses though the Anglels began to play the baseball that Angels fans have expected.

The Angels are pretty much the lock for winning the American League West division even after the surprising seasons of the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.

As for Scioscia winning the award he definitely could garner the majority of the votes for it. It takes a great leader to help put a team back on track after a death on the team.

So, this maybe a really tough year for anyone else but Scioscia to win the award.

The final candidate for the award is Ron Washington. Washington has done a great job with the Texas Rangers. He has helped solidify the defense and the Rangers pitching has been a surprise all year with Scott Feldman being the biggest surprise.

Kevin Millwood has finally pitched like he did when he was with the Braves. With the way he's been pitching the Rangers are more than likely going to pick up the option they have for him next year.

The Rangers are currently six games back from the Angels and are looking more at the wild card to make the playoffs.

Now, here's why Washington may have the inside edge on the award though.

During the stretch of games gearing towards this playoff run the Rangers have lost their starting catcher for the season, Nelson Cruz an all-star missed games due to injury, Michael Young is currently out with an injury, and even Ian Kinsler has missed some time due to injuries as well during this stretch.

On top of that Josh Hamilton a MVP candidate last year has also missed time with injuries but has not come close to producing like he did last year.

With that the Rangers have still found away to stay in the hunt for the wildcard. In fact the Rangers were predicted to come in third in the division. On an article for Bleacherreport on only 23 votes though the Rangers were picked to come in last. For the BaseballAnalysts.com the Rangers were predicted to come in third.

So, there weren't very high expectations for the Rangers this year especially with a rookie starting shortstop and the lack of pitching in their rotation. Yet, the Rangers have been the surprise team in the American League this year.

As for the actual winner of the award I believe it will be Ron Washington just because no one really believed that the Rangers would be in the running for a playoff spot and the other reason why is even though the Angles are a great story especially after the tragic death of Adenhart, the Angels were still going to win the division it was just a matter of time before they began playing like they usually do under Scioscia.  

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