Nick Cafardo ranked all 30 MLB managers and not surprisingly Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays was at the top of the list. As Cafardo points out with veterans like Tony LaRussa and Terry Francona no longer sitting in the dugout mulling over their lineup cards, a new wave of brilliance moves ahead on his ranking.
I have to agree with Cafardo on Maddon’s position. To have a small market payroll and compete consistently for the past five years is remarkable. He gets the best out of his players and he has them drinking his special dose of kool-aid.
Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers was second and again this is a good and fair spot for him. His ability to manage egos will be tested this year with Prince Fielder forcing Miguel Cabrera over to third. But he has a way to get his players singing off of the same song sheet that he needs in order to win. Expect nothing less this year.
Mike Scioscia of the Angels and Charlie Manuel of the Phillies are three and four respectively. Let’s turn our attention to some of the more curious rankings by Cafardo.
First, he has Joe Girardi of the Yankees at number five, the same Joe Girardi who chose not to bring his closer Mariano Rivera back for the tenth inning in a game at Fenway Park. A move that sparked numerous debates as to whether it was the right move. Just one example where Girardi makes peculiar calls and reason enough to feel that number 5 on the list is a little high.
Buck Showalter is at number six and again Cafardo states that he’s a heck of a manager who will prove it when he gets more talent. Well Nick the time is now and while we would like to take your word for it and believe it to be true, the proof is in the pudding and there hasn’t been much pudding in Baltimore lately.
Bruce Bochy in my opinion, is a better manager than both Girardi and Showalter and while an 8 slot is respectable, one could argue he should be in the top five. He’s a strategist of the game and proves it by playing in the NL where he is continuously challenged with late inning puzzles of the double switch. He’s taken an offensive limited team and made them compete two years in a row and we all remember what happened in 2010.
I won’t dissect the entire list but wanted to mention both Bobby Valentine’s place along with John Farrell’s.
Bobby V strolls in at number 15, middle of the pack. An interesting choice by Cafardo, given Bobby hasn’t managed in the majors since 2002. While he is fundamentally sound and loves the detail as Cafardo notes, a guy like Ron Roenicke of the Brewers (who is #16) has done more lately, making Bobby’s ranking somewhat generous.
The other head scratcher I have is the Blue Jays manager and former Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell at number 26. Granted his resume is short with just one year of managerial experience, he is a great baseball mind and is doing wonders in Toronto with what is a limited payroll. If Terry Collins of the Mets is a better manager than Farrell then John Lackey is the ace of the Red Sox staff next season. I don’t think Farrell should be in the top 20 but to put him ahead of only four other managers, three who are entering their first season as such is a unfair.
It will be interesting to see if this list is re-examined in either July or October and see the changes in rank that will have occurred.
What’s your thoughts? Did Cafardo nail this one or are there some managers who you feel should be higher or lower? We’d love to hear from you so let’s spark a debate.